Cameron urged to reconsider ‘review’ of Muslim Brotherhood

The following full-page advertisement appeared in yesterday’s Guardian:

Open Letter: British Prime Minister’s inquiry into the Muslim Brotherhood in the UK

We, the undersigned, express our deep concern at the Prime Minister’s recent decision to order a “review”, looking into the Muslim Brotherhood’s activities in Britain and abroad. We believe that the process and terms of the review represents a risk to British liberties and could further erode human rights standards.

We are concerned that this review is the result of pressure placed on the British government by undemocratic regimes abroad, such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. It is not acceptable that any autocracy attempts to limit the lawful activities of any group in a democracy. The Prime Minister risks setting a dangerous precedent.

The review, to be conducted by the British Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, comes at a time when the Muslim Brotherhood, victors in Egypt’s only free election to date, is being subject to the most ferocious repression by the military regime. With hundreds of Egyptians killed, over 1000 sentenced to death in farcical “trials” and tens of thousands languishing in prisons, the British government remains largely silent.

We would advocate that British government policy towards groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood and others should be determined by the behaviour of those groups and their ability to participate in democratic political life, rather than by foreign policy considerations and strategic alliances with other governments. Since the Muslim Brotherhood has been a full and democratic participant in political life in many countries we are concerned that they are targeted for purely political reasons, rather than any concern for security. One does not need to support a group’s outlook or programme to realise that repression of any organisation on this basis is a denial of human rights and democracy.

In Britain, supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood have been active within the grass roots of social, civic and welfare activities. Attempts to police its peaceful and lawful activities could threaten the liberties of others. At a time of widespread attacks on Muslim beliefs and organisations in Britain, this review risks reinforcing negative perceptions of Muslim citizens, and the view that their participation in public life is suspicious and unwelcome. The inquiry could further damage Britain’s international reputation as a guardian of international law and human rights.

We urge the Prime Minister to reconsider the process and the terms of the review and reject undemocratic foreign pressure on British politics.

Bruce Kent | Roman Catholic peace campaigner
Clare Short | Secretary of State for Int. Development, 1997-2003
Jeremy Corbyn | MP for Islington North, London
Prof. John L. Esposito | Georgetown University, USA
Baroness Jenny Tonge | Peer
Ken Livingstone | Former Mayor of London
Michael Mansfield | British lawyer
Prof. Richard Jackson | Deputy Director, National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Otago, New Zealand
Ilan Pappe | Professor of History, University of Exeter
Marie Breen-Smyth | Professor of International Politics and Director of Research, University of Surrey
Lord Ahmed | Peer
Farooq Murad | Secretary-General, Muslim Council of Britain
Salma Yaqoob | Political activist; Broadcaster
Baroness Uddin | Peer
Peter Oborne | Chief Political Commentator, Daily Telegraph
David Hearst | British writer and journalist
Norman G. Finkelstein | American political scientist, activist, professor and author
Dr Anas Altikriti | CEO, The Cordoba Foundation
Dr Maha Azzam | Chair, Egyptians for Democracy – UK
Rabbi Jeffrey Newman | Rabbi at Finchley Reform Synagogue; Director at Earth Charter UK
Rosemary Hollis | Professor of Middle East Policy Studies, City University
Dr Rev. Stephen Sizer | Anglican Christ Church
Dr Daud Abdullah | British Muslim Initiative
Dr Barbara Zollner | Lecturer in Middle East Politics, Birkbeck College; author of The Muslim Brotherhood: Hasan al-Hudaybi & Ideology (2008)
John Rees | Political activist and broadcaster
Louise Christian | Human Rights lawyer
Victoria Brittain | Former Associate Foreign Editor, The Guardian; author, Hidden Lives, Hidden Deaths
Prof. David Miller | University of Bath; Co-Director, Public Interest Investigations / Spinwatch
Prof. Tariq Modood | Director, University of Bristol Research Centre for the Study of Ethnicity & Citizenship
Ajmal Masroor | Imam and TV presenter
Dr Omar Hamdoon | President, Muslim Association of Britain
Maggie Bowden | General Secretary, Liberation
Andrew Murray | Chief of Staff, Unite
Massoud Shadjareh | Islamic Human Rights Commission
Aaron Kiely | NUS Black Students officer
Kate Hudson | Peace campaigner
Anjum Anwar | TV presenter; director of Christian Muslim Forum
Lindsey German | Convener, Stop the War
Ismail Patel | Director, Friends of Al-Aqsa
Alaistair Sloan | British journalist
Fuad Nahdi | Director, Radical Middle Way
Sabby Dhalu | Secretary, One Society Many Cultures
Mohammed Kozbar | Islam Expo
Stephen Bell | Anti-war campaigner
Zaher Birawi | British Palestinian journalist and broadcaster
Jude Woodward | One Society Many Cultures
Abdullah Faliq | Islamic Forum of Europe
Alan Murray | President, European Network on Religion and Belief
Azad Ali | Chair, Muslim Safety Forum
Chris Nineham | Vice-chair, Stop the War
Jonathan Fryer | Writer and broadcaster
Mohammed Iamil | General Director, Arab Organisation for Human Rights, UK
Muhammad Rabbani | Cage UK

Muslim Brotherhood review ad