IslamismAugust 2 2022, 15:57 pm

British Report Highlights Role of UK Muslim Brotherhood Groups in Delegitimizing Anti-Terrorism Scheme

An April 2022 report by three British extrem­ism experts high­lights the role that UK Mus­lim Broth­er­hood groups have played in dele­git­imiz­ing the British gov­ern­men­t’s Pre­vent Strat­e­gy, part of a com­pre­hen­sive pol­i­cy frame­work aimed at stop­ping peo­ple from being drawn into ter­ror­ism. Accord­ing to the intro­duc­tion to the Pol­i­cy Exchange report:

This report, writ­ten by three experts on Islamism, out­lines the cam­paign against Pre­vent, and argues that this is not an excep­tion­al cam­paign against a unique­ly flawed pol­i­cy – the groups oppos­ing Pre­vent have tend­ed to crit­i­cise pret­ty much any counter-ter­ror­ism pol­i­cy, in sine cas­es for a generation.

Read the report here.

Pre­vent is part of the broad­er counter-ter­ror­ism strat­e­gy called Con­test. It is fund­ed by the UK Home Office and designed to address all forms of ter­ror­ism equal­ly, pri­or­i­tiz­ing them accord­ing to the threat they pose to British nation­al secu­ri­ty. The British Counter-Ter­ror­ism and Secu­ri­ty Act of 2015 cre­at­ed a pos­i­tive duty for those work­ing in edu­ca­tion or health to report pthose who they deem at risk of rad­i­cal­iza­tion. In 2021, near­ly 5,000 indi­vid­u­als were referred to and sup­port­ed through the program.

Accord­ing to the Pol­i­cy Exchange report, since the Pre­vent Strat­e­gy’s intro­duc­tion, sev­er­al inter-relat­ed, well-orga­nized, and media-savvy cam­paigns have sought to under­mine Pre­vent and counter-extrem­ism efforts more broad­ly. These cam­paigns are said to be aimed at scrap­ping Pre­vent, effec­tive­ly seek­ing to elim­i­nate the role of Islamist ide­ol­o­gy in ter­ror­ism and extrem­ist social prac­tices from offi­cial analy­sis and policy.

Sev­er­al of the list­ed cam­paigns have been led by or strong­ly fea­tured groups tied to the Glob­al Mus­lim Broth­er­hood (GMB) and oth­er Islamist move­ments, including:

  • Mus­lim Coun­cil of Britain (MCB), one of the most influ­en­tial Mus­lim orga­ni­za­tions in the UK and that fre­quent­ly acts in con­cert with the GMB
  • Mus­lim Engage­ment and Devel­op­ment, a UK Islam­ic NGO close to the GMB in Britain
  • CAGE, a UK Islam­ic advo­ca­cy group tied to the GMB and whose senior lead­ers have advo­cat­ed sup­port­ing vio­lent jihad overseas

Coun­ter­ing gov­ern­ment action against Islamist rad­i­cal­iza­tion and counter-ter­ror­ism poli­cies has long been an essen­tial pil­lar of GMB activ­i­ty in the UK. In August 2021, the Glob­al Influ­ence Oper­a­tions Report (GIOR) report­ed that a Scot­tish par­lia­men­tary Cross-Par­ty Group had pub­lished an inquiry into Islam­o­pho­bia that rec­om­mend­ed the scrap­ping of Pre­vent and also fea­tured con­tri­bu­tions by MCB, CAGE, and the IHRC. In March 2021, the GIOR report­ed that a Bel­gian NGO with close ties to the GMB had launched an EU-fund­ed report on such poli­cies, demand­ing the EU refrain from using “vague and gen­er­al labels” such as Jihadism, Islamism, and polit­i­cal Islam, argu­ing that their stig­ma­tiz­ing impact out­weighed their ana­lyt­i­cal value.

Damon L. Per­ry, Ph.D., one of the authors of the Pol­i­cy Exchange report, is a researcher and ana­lyst spe­cial­iz­ing in extrem­ism and secu­ri­ty issues at the Inter­na­tion­al Cen­tre for the Study of Rad­i­cal­i­sa­tion and Polit­i­cal Vio­lence (ICSR) at Lon­don’s King’s Col­lege. Per­ry has also authored a 2020 report into the ide­ol­o­gy, his­to­ry, net­works, and activ­i­ties of the revival­ist “Islam­ic Move­ment” in Britain, essen­tial­ly groups com­pris­ing the Jamaat-i-Isla­mi and the GMB in the coun­try, which cred­it­ed the GIOR Senior Edi­tor for coin­ing the term “Glob­al Mus­lim Broth­er­hood” in 2007.


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