The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood website is reporting that a delegation from the British Foreign Office visited the Brotherhood’s headquarters in Alexandria. According to the report:
A delegation from the British Foreign Office, headed by Consul General Marie-Louise Archer, on Thursday visited the headquarters of the Muslim Brotherhood’s administrative office in Alexandria. The delegation held the meeting in the presence of former MB Parliamentary Bloc Spokesperson Hamdy Hasan, group members and head of the MB administrative office Hussein Ibrahim. ‘The meeting was attended by the Relations Coordinator for the UK foreign Office Martin Hetringen,’ Archer said, adding that the meeting comes within the framework of British efforts to increase cooperation and accepting cultural differences with Egypt’s political and intellectual trends after the January 25 revolt. Hetringen has expressed his government’s desire to open the door for direct political dialogue with the Brothers, noting that delegations from the Foreign Office were previously keen on holding meetings and contacts with the group’s leaders and members, despite obstacles placed in their way. ‘Representatives from the British government met a lot before the revolt with a handful of MB MPs in 2005,’ he said, indicating that efforts are currently being exerted to promote more open and constructive communication between the British government and all political forces in Egypt. In an exclusive statement to ‘Ikhwanweb’, Hamdi Hassan said that the meeting was a good opportunity to exchange views and discuss the group’s view on the forthcoming presidential elections, adding that he briefed the British delegation on the MB’s position towards candidates running for the presidency. He also assured them that the MB does not discriminate among presidential candidates and take a tough stance on some Salafis on demolishing the shrines of revered Sufi figures. The meeting also discussed the group’s party platform and its position with regard to women and Copts. Hassan noted that this meeting is a positive step by the UK’s Foreign Office in order to closely find out all they need to know concerning the ideas of the group’s leaders, without relying, as was previously done, upon the opinions of others.
It should be noted that the Muslim Brotherhood today has become a global network and that the Egyptian mother branch is not necessarily the most important part of the movement. Sheikh Youssef Qaradawi, close to Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states, is often referred to by the GMBDW as the most important leader of the global Muslim Brotherhood, an acknowledgement of his role as the de facto spiritual leader of the movement. In 2004, Qaradawi turned down the offer to lead the Egyptian Brotherhood after the death of the Supreme Guide.