Muslim Brotherhood figure Kemal Helbawy (aka Helbawi, al-Halabawi) has described Osama Bin Laden as a “man who is besieged” in a statement reacting to Bin Laden’s recent threats to Europe over the Danish cartoon controversy. According to a pan-Arabic newspaper:
Islamic activist Sheikh Dr. Kamal al-Halabawi, the adviser to the International Civilizations Studies Center in London, told Asharq Al-Awsat, “The threats are coming from a man who is besieged who does not seethe situations in Europe in which are living.” He added that “the issue of relations between east and west need a profound examination and study and an understanding of the reality on the ground.”
According to his resume, Helbawi is the former official spokesperson of the Muslim Brotherhood in the West and is one of the founders of the Muslim Council of Britain, a U.K. umbrella organization comprised largely of Muslim Brotherhood organizations. He is currently the director of the London-based Center for the Study of Terrorism (CFSOT) which purports to be a think-tank describing itself as follows:
…an independent research and consultancy organisation, dedicated to the in-depth study of Islamic resurgence, democratisation and extremism in the Muslim world. Working with high-quality primary sources, CFSOT delivers unique information and analysis to its clients. The centre publishes a monthly journal and provides training and courses on terrorism-related issues as well as bespoke consultancy services.
In October 2006, the U.S. government prevented Helbawy from attending an NY conference on the Muslim Brotherhood in the U.S. Dr. Helbawy’s rather mild rebuke of Bin Laden is not the first time a prominent Muslim Brotherhood figure has treated the Al Qaeda leader lightly in verbal statements. A recent post has described statements by putative global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi suggesting that Bin Laden might have been unfairly blamed for the attacks of September 11, 2001.