ANALYSIS: The Muslim Association of Britain And Anas Altikriti Deny “Any Links” To The Muslim Brotherhood- Really?

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UK media is reporting that senior leaders in the UK Muslim Brotherhood have denied “any links” to the Muslim Brotherhood. According the The Guardian report:

British organisations criticised in an official report which branded members of the Muslim Brotherhood as ‘possible terrorists’ have denied they have any link to the organisation.

The Muslim Association of Britain (MAB), which helped the Finsbury Park mosque emerge from the shadow of militant preacher Abu Hamza, and the Cordoba Foundation, a Middle Eastern thinktank which has negotiated the freedom of 19 hostages in Iraq – sometimes at the request of the government – denied having ‘any links to the Muslim Brotherhood’.

Released by David Cameron a few hours before parliament’s Christmas recess, the report stopped short of banning the Muslim Brotherhood but said the group characterised the UK as fundamentally hostile to the Muslim faith and identity and had expressed support for terrorist attacks by the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas.

The stories you need to read, in one handy email Read more The Cordoba Foundation, set up to promote peace in the Middle East, was said to be ‘associated with the Brotherhood’. However in a press conference held at Finsbury Park mosque, Anas Altikriti, the founder of the Cordoba Foundation, said he had ‘absolutely no links to the Muslim Brotherhood’.

‘I think that the Muslim Brotherhood remains the most important democratic voice that espouses multiculturism, human rights and basic freedoms. But I do not have any links to it. I just think these values are essential … to reach out to Muslim youth.’

He added that he supported Hamas ‘only on the basis that it is the democratically elected government in Palestine. It does not mean I support every tactic or statement Hamas makes. I am against suicide bombing on religious and political grounds. As for Hamas, Tony Blair has held meetings with the leadership so is it an issue for him?’”

Read the rest here.

Despite the statements claims by the MAB and Anas Altikriti that they have “no links to the Muslim Brotherhood”, the MAB itself identified at least some of those links as far back as 2006 when it issued a statement titled “The MAB In Its Own Words.” Relevant excerpts from that statement include:

  • The Muslim Association of Britain is an independent British Muslim organisation. The administrative structure and hierarchy of MAB is well-known and available to the public. MAB, as a responsible and dynamic organization, never ceases to learn from and utilize the expertise and experience of other organizations and establishments who work in a similar and comparable field to MAB. MAB was founded in 1997 by a number of individuals who are British citizens and mostly from Arab and Asian origin. Being an open organization, MAB has never ceased to welcome those with a range of experience and skills that it can utilize for its benefit and endeavors in the UK. MAB is proud of the diversity its membership profile displays in terms of origins, cultures, traditions, schools of thought, ages, skills, education and specialisations. Amongst its members are those who, back in their original countries, were members of the Muslim Brotherhood, and they were found to be of a level of awareness, understanding, skill and ability that is of great service to MAB and what it represents. One of these founding members, and not “the founder” as Browne claims, is Dr. Kamal Al-Helbawi, who is a well known researcher in strategic and Islamic studies and who worked in Pakistan during the eighties as advisor at the Institute of Policy Studies and editor of International Studies weekly magazine
  • MAB enjoys good relation with every mainstream Islamic organisation in the UK and abroad. One of these organisations is the Muslim Brotherhood, which is well respected not only by the common people on the street throughout the Arab and Muslim countries but also by politicians, intellectuals and opinion-makers in most Arab countries. Prominent within the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood is the urging of dialogue with others, the rejection of terrorism and respecting those who differ in views or opinions. Like any organization that has been in existence for such a considerable amount of time and that has been through such turbulent events, a plurality of opinions and initiatives may exist. MAB reserves the right to be proud of the humane notions and principles of the Muslim Brotherhood, which has proven to be an inspiration to Muslims, Arabs and others for many decades. We also reserve the right to disagree with or divert from the opinion and line of the Muslim Brotherhood, or any other organization, Muslim or otherwise on any issue at hand.
  • Anas Altikriti is the former president of MAB and one of its founding members. His father, Dr. Osama Altikriti, a Consultant Radiologist, is indeed the head of the Iraqi Muslim Brotherhood having joined their ranks at the age of 15 in Iraq. Known as a staunch opponent of the previous regime of Saddam Hussein due to the Ba’thists’ brutal elimination of all non-Ba’thi trends in Iraq, he arrived to live and work in the UK in 1970. since the occupation of Iraq by US and British troops in April 2003, Dr. Altikriti returned to Iraq for the first time since he left it, and has been working ever since in the rebuilding of his country and his people.

Judging from this statement alone, the denials by the MAB  are less than credible to say the least. In addition, the MAB statement omits other ties to the Muslim Brotherhood that were in existence at the time the statement was issued:

  • Dr. Helbawy was not only a founder but a former “Chairman” of the MAB and that the MAB was founded in 1977 after Helbawy resigned as “official spokesman of the Muslim Brotherhood” in the West.
  • Abdel Shaheed El-Ashaal, a former director of the MAB, is a long-time officer of the Hassan El-Banna Foundation founder of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt) which also includes members of the El-Banna family. Mr. El-Ashaal is also a former director of World Media Services LTD, affiliated with the Al-Markaz al-I’lami lil-Ikhwan al-Muslimin (Information Centre of the Muslim Brotherhood) in  London.
  • Hassan Alkatib, another former director of the MAB, was reported by the Times of London to be described in a book published last year as “an active member of the Muslim Brotherhood”. The Times report also said Sunni Muslim Religious Life in Britain quoted his opinion that the Islamist movement was “the closest to practising the true message of Islam” and that while Alkatib told The Times that he was not a member of the Brotherhood but said his personal beliefs were “very close” to its ideology and that the mosque shared its religious objectives. Alkatib is also known to have been connected to Darussalam, an Arabic newspaper published in Leeds by the Iraqi Islamic Party and the Altikriti family.
  • Fugitive Hamas commander Mohammad Kathem Sawalha is another former MAB director and Hamas is known to be close to, if not part of, the Muslim Brotherhood. Sawalha is currently a leader in the British Muslim Initiative (BMI) along with Anas Altikriti. The BMI split from the MAB in 2007,

As far as Anas Altikriti himself, at the annual US-Islamic World Forum in Doha that he attended in 2010, he was listed as a representative of the Islamic Party in Iraq (IIP), known to have been headed at one time by his father, described in the above MAB statement as the “head of the Iraqi Muslim Brotherhood.” The Iraqi Islamic Party has been described as follows:

The Iraqi Islamic Party was formed as an Iraqi Muslim Brotherhood organization, and conducted underground work during the Baathist period. Thee party does not considers itself a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood Group, established in Egypt in 1994, nor a political front for it in Iraq. The Iraqi Islamic Party acknowledges strong ties to the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood through political and intellectual alliances.

The Cordoba Foundation itself, headed by Anas Altikriti,  describes the IIP as an “offshoot “ of the Muslim Brotherhood. Furthermore, in February 2015 the GMBDW reported that an independent Arab language news portal identified Altikriti as as a senior member of the International Organization of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Time and space do not allow for a further and more comprehensive examination of the links between the MAB and Anas Altikriti to the Muslim Brotherhood but surely any objective analyst would conclude based on the above alone that their statements of “no links” do not stand up to scrutiny. A close examination of the recent activities of Anas Altikriti and his Cordoba Foundation will only further support those ties.

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