Egyptian media is reporting that the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood has decided to move its media offices to London in the wake of the recent Egyptian court decision to ban all activities on the part of the organization. According an Egypt Independent report:
The Muslim Brotherhood has decided to move its media center to London, after a Cairo court decision to ban the activities of the Muslim Brotherhood or any subsidiary institution related to it, and receiving financial support from the MB.
The Brotherhood already had an office in London, through which it was running the affairs of the organization as a whole. The London headquarters is a research center headed by Ibrahim Mounir, former member of the Guidance Bureau and former Secretary General of the international organization of the MB.
The MB have also used the London headquarters to communicate with the West, publishing a weekly journal entitled ‘The Brotherhood message,’ a journal to explain the MB stances on the current events and its vision on reform. The MB leaders have also made appearances on satellite channels broadcast from their media office, which was fully transferred to London, after security prosecutions suffered by the leaders of the group the recent period.
The office published on Tuesday a statement by the group entitled ‘On the Road, revolutionaries and committed to the promise,’ in which the Brotherhood said that the court decision to dissolve the group would not stop them from continuing on their path. The verdict would not persuade them to abandon their ideas but will give them faith to further adhere to the principles they preach.
The court’s ruling to dissolve the organization was not surprising, according to the statement, but rather expected, especially after they claim more than 15,000 leading members were arrested, including Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie, in addition to the burning of the MB headquarters across Egypt.
The group described the verdict to dissolve the MB as ‘exclusionary’ and ‘revengeful,’ since it is issued without a competent court, which decided on a punishment exceeding the original demands of the case, even though the MB is a legally-based association.”
A Middle Eastern news portal close to the Muslim Brotherhood reported yesterday that Mr. Munir told Al Jazeera that “no force on earth can exclude the Muslim Brotherhood or terminate its existence.”
Ibrahim Munir Mustafa (aka Ibrahim Munir, Ibrahim Mounir) was referred to in the past by the Eguyptian Brotherhood as an Executive Bureau member of the Brotherhood’s International Organization while an Egyptian news report identifies him as the Secretary-General of the International Organization and one of its founders in 1982 as well as a spokesman for the Brotherhood in London. The latter Arabic language news report also provides some biographical detail on Mr. Munir who it says was sentenced to life imprisonment in in Egypt in the 1950’s in connection with the events following the attempt assassination of then Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser. Following his early release in 1975, the report says Mr. Munir traveled and worked in the Gulf States on behalf of the Brotherhood following which he applied for and was granted political asylum in the UK. Mr. Munir is also known to be the general supervisor of the London-based Muslim Brotherhood publication known as the ‘Risalat Al-Ikhwan’ (Muslim Brotherhood Message). Mr. Munir drew international attention in 2010 when he was one of five members charged by Egyptian prosecutors with money laundering and raising funds abroad.
The International Organization of the Muslim Brotherhood (IMB) can be considered to be the international leadership of the global Muslim Brotherhood most closely tied to the Egyptian organization. In 2004, a London-based Arabic newspaper identified further members of the International Organization:
The international organization of the Muslim Brotherhood is an assembly of all national Brotherhood organizations, but its higher leadership is in the hands of the Egyptian organization represented in the guide and the Guidance Bureau. There are other leaders that help run the international organization, such as the Syrian Hasan Huwaydi, who is considered the third deputy of the guide, in addition to Faisal Mawlawi, leader of the Lebanese Brotherhood, Abd-Majid-Dhunaybat, controller-general of the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan, and the Tunisian Rashid al-Ghannushi. The London-based Egyptian, Ibrahim Munir, takes care of coordination among the organization’s members in Europe. The leaders of the international organization have held their meetings with Egypt’s Brotherhood leaders in several European countries, as it is impossible to organize such meetings in Egypt, where the group is banned and targeted by security authorities.
It should be noted that the Muslim Brotherhood today has become a global network and that until recently, the Egyptian organization appeared to played very little role in that network. The GMBDW often refers to Sheikh Youssef Qaradawi 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 stating only that
..he had consciously decided not to limit his scope of manoeuvre by tying himself ‘any movement which might constrain my actions, even if this is the Muslim Brotherhood under whose umbrella I grew and which I so defended…Would I, at the age of 77, accept what I turned down when I was 49?
For further background on the IMB, go here.