Action Alert : Appeal against British Government’s decision to order an investigation into Muslim Brotherhood

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Contents

1. Action Required

2. Summary

3. Background

4. Sample Letter

5. Addresses for Sample Letter

1. Action Required

Please write to the foreign secretary and urge him to pressurize the PM to cancel the review against the Muslim Brotherhood and to pressurise the military regime in Egypt to step down and allow a democratically elected government to take over.

2. Summary

IHRC strongly condemns British PM David Cameron’s decision to order an investigation into the Muslim Brotherhood with the intention of discovering their links to terrorism. There is no known evidence to suggest their link to terrorist related activities; instead this move serves to tarnish their reputation as a charitable organization working to restore peace and order in Egypt. It appears the British government is siding with authoritarian rule in Egypt and the agenda of their Saudi backers, and the abuse happening on a daily basis against civilians in Egypt.

3. Background

The Muslim Brotherhood is an Islamic political organisation, founded in Egypt by the Islamic scholar, Hassan al-Banna, in 1928. Its ideas have gained support throughout the world, especially the Middle East, and have heavily influenced other Islamic political groups with its model of ‘political activism combined with Islamic charity work.’ The Muslim Brotherhood’s stated goal is ‘to instil the Quran and Sunnah as the sole reference point for ordering the life of the Muslim family, individual, community and state.’

The Muslim Brotherhood became known for their charitable work throughout Egypt especially with the poor in the community, hence steadily gained popularity over the years. It set up many charitable institutions such as hospitals, pharmacies and schools throughout the country.

Until recently, the Muslim Brotherhood stayed under fire of the authorities. The Muslim Brotherhood eventually became the largest opposition group calling for Islamic reform and a democratic system. In the 2005 parliamentary elections, it effectively became the ‘first opposition party of Egypt’s modern era’, despite being officially banned from running. Following the fall of Mubarak, the Brotherhood was legalised, dominating the 2011 elections and winning the 2012 presidential elections under its Freedom and Justice Party. For the first time, under Mohamad Morsi the Brotherhood came into power however, his presidency was short-lived and he was eventually removed from power through a military coup in July 2013. He currently awaits trial for treason in jail.

On 14 August, a month-long state of emergency was declared against the Brotherhood protests and activists of two protest camps at al-Nahda Square and Rabaa al-Adawiya Mosque in Cairo were violently dispersed by Egyptian security forces leading to the deaths of some 2600 protestors in Rabaa al-Adawiya alone. Eye witness reports and TV footage document the use of excessive force and live rounds by security forces against unarmed protestors.

On 19 August 2013, the Supreme Leader, Mohammad al-Badie was arrested. On 23 September 2013, a court ordered the group outlawed and its assets seized. Prime Minister Hazem Al Beblawion, on 21 December 2013, declared the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organisation after a car bomb ripped through a police building and killed at least 14 people in the city of Mansoura, which the government blamed on the Muslim Brotherhood, despite no evidence and a Sinai based terror group claiming responsibility for the attack. On 24 March 2014, an Egyptian court sentenced 529 members of the Muslim Brotherhood to death. Reports suggest that violence and killings of innocent civilians is becoming a norm in Egypt since the coup. Thousands of journalists and activists have been reportedly injured, detained and killed by the military regime in order to curb opposition.

Following these violent incidents in Egypt, on 1 April 2014, the British PM David Cameron ordered an investigation into the Muslim Brotherhood to determine whether or not the Brotherhood was responsible for terrorist activities in Egypt and whether it is using Britain as a base from which to plan terrorist activities. Many of the group’s leaders fled to Britain after the brutal crackdown was launched by the Egyptian authorities. IHRC believes that the PM’s decision is direct support of the military coup.

The PM has appointed Sir John Jenkins, British ambassador to Saudia Arabia to be the lead on the review, which many consider to be unfair, as Saudi Arabia designated the Brotherhood as a terrorist group in March 2014 and has accused the organisation of carrying out the bombings. It is no secret that the Saudi and Egyptian regimes have been lobbying western capitals to curb the movement’s activities in a bid to reduce its influence in the Middle East.

This decision of the British government has been met with a massive uproar by the Muslim Brotherhood and it issued a public statement warning that it will take the British government to court if its activities are restricted. The Brotherhood has appointed former director of public prosecutions, Lord Macdonald, former director of public prosecutions, to help make its case.

It said in a statement that it is a peaceful and lawful organisation that “does not engage in or promote acts of violence to achieve its aims” and it “intends to openly engage with the British government’s review and will make representations to assist”. But it threatened court action against “any improper attempt to restrict its activity”.

Further, the Brotherhood stated that they welcomed the opportunity to ‘bring a better understanding about the aims and methods of the Muslim Brotherhood and how it intends to return Egypt to a democratic and civil society”.

It also urged the UK government to consider the “very well documented and serious human rights abuses being conducted by the military regime in Egypt”, and warned the UK government that it should not allow the review “to be seen as an endorsement of the criminal acts which continue to be perpetrated against the people of Egypt”.

IHRC believes it is outrageous that the British government should be pandering to the authoritarian regimes in the Middle East when British interests and justice would be better served by taking diplomatic action against them for their part in overthrowing a democratically elected government and bringing back military rule.

It also defies belief that the government should review the Muslim Brotherhood when all the evidence suggests that it is the Egyptian regime that has engaged in the highest levels of violence against its own citizens.

Please write to the British PM to cancel the review and to pressurise the military regime in Egypt to step down and allow a democratically elected government to return to the helm.

4. Sample Letters

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Sample letters are given below for your convenience. Please note that model letters can be sent directly or adjusted as necessary to include further details. If you receive a reply to the letter you send, we request you to send a copy of the letter you send and the reply you received, to IHRC. This is very important as it helps IHRC to monitor the situation with regards to our campaigns and to improve upon the current model letters.

a) Country: UK

[Your name]

[Your address]

Rt. Hon. David Cameron MP PM

10 Downing Street

London

SW1A 2AA

[Date]

Dear Mr. Cameron

Re: PM’s unjust call for investigation into Muslim Brotherhood’s activities

I am deeply concerned about your recent call for an investigation into the Muslim Brotherhood and their activities to determine the organisation’s links to terrorism.

I am shocked that the government is calling for an investigation into a political group known for its good work with no known records to terrorism. By doing so, the British government seems to be showing silent support for an authoritarian regime which has not only taken over power in an illegitimate manner but is also reported to be engaged in the highest levels of violence against its own citizens.

I am sure you are aware of the violent dispersal on 14th August 2013 by Egyptian security forces of two protest camps at al-Nahda Square and Rabaa al-Adawiya Mosque in Cairo which led to the deaths of some 2600 protestors in Rabaa al-Adawiya alone. Eye witness reports and TV footage document the use of excessive force and live rounds by security forces against unarmed protestors.

I am outraged at this clear bias against a peaceful organisation and tacit support of an unjust regime. British interests and justice would be better served by taking diplomatic action against the current rulers for their part in overthrowing a democratically elected government and bringing back military rule.

I therefore urgently pressurise you to cancel the review against Muslim Brotherhood which will serve no purpose except waste precious government funds and instead focus on applying political and economic pressure on the Egyptian dictatorship to cease violent actions, reform human rights and step down immediately to allow for a democratically elected government to take over.

I await your positive response.

Yours sincerely,

[Your name]

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“And what reason have you that you should not fight in the way of Allah and of the weak among the men and the women and the children, (of) those who say: Our Lord! Cause us to go forth from this town, whose people are oppressors, and give us from Thee a guardian and give us from Thee a helper.”

Holy Qur’an: Chapter 4, Verse 75

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