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JI affiliate branded extremism-promoter by UK government UKIM shocked over assertion about violent extremism links

December 21, 2015

LONDON: Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan’s charitable wing UK Islamic Mission (UKIM) has expressed its shock and sadness after a high profile UK government report held that the UKIM, amongst a host of other Muslim charities, was a promoter of extremist views and had deep ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.

The UK government review into the Muslim Brotherhood (Ikhwaan-ul-Muslimoon) found that the Islamist group had operated through a number of front charities and organisations, including Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan and Bangladesh and their affiliated organisations in the UK. The UKIM, established here in 1962, has routinely raised funds in the UK and has done a number of development projects in Pakistan, including sending ambulances to Karachi and other cities of Pakistan.

The British government review into Egypt’s outlawed Muslim Brotherhood concluded that membership of or links to the political group should be considered a possible indicator of extremism but stopped short of recommending that it should be banned.

The long-delayed review into the organisation was first commissioned in April 2014 by Prime Minister David Cameron with a remit to examine whether the group put British national security at risk. “Parts of the Muslim Brotherhood have a highly ambiguous relationship with violent extremism.

Both as an ideology and as a network it has been a rite of passage for some individuals and groups who have gone on to engage in violence and terrorism,” Prime Minister David Cameron said in a statement.

He described the group as “deliberately opaque, and habitually secretive”. “The main findings of the review support the conclusion that membership of, association with, or influence by the Muslim Brotherhood should be considered as a possible indicator of extremism,” he said.

The review was conducted by two of the UK’s most senior and expert civil servants: Sir John Jenkins, until recently UK’s Ambassador to Riyadh, and Charles Farr, at the time of writing Director General of the Office for Security and Counter Terrorism in the Home Office.

The UKIM said it considered the govt review to be a “totally unfair representation of the work of the UKIM and other community organisations. We reject entirely the review’s suggestion under point 35 that we promote extremist views”.

The report said that Muslim Brotherhood, established in Egypt in 1928 by Hassan al Banna, organised itself into a secretive ‘cell’ structure and developed an international network, within and beyond the Islamic world. The group is now banned in several Islamic countries.

The UK govt review said that the key Muslim Brotherhood ideologue, Sayyid Qutb, drew on the thought of the Indo-Pakistani theorist, Syed Abul Ala’a Mawdudi, the founder of Jamaat-eIslami, “to promote the doctrine of Takfirism”.

The report defined Takfirism as “permitting the stigmatisation of other Muslims as infidel or apostate, and of existing states as un-Islamic, and the use of extreme violence in the pursuit of the perfect Islamic society”.  The report said: “Organisations which were originally associated with Mawdudi and the Jamaat continue to operate in this country. The UK Islamic Mission (UKIM) runs some fifty mosques.”

It added: “Material still being promoted by UKIM as of July 2014 continued to explicitly claim that it is not possible for an observant Muslim to live under a non-Islamic system of government (and anticipated the forthcoming ‘victory’ of Islam over communism, capitalist democracy and secular materialism).”

The report said that leaders in the Muslim Brotherhood have claimed that the attacks on 09/11 were fabricated by the US, and that the so called ‘war on terrorism’ is a pretext to attack Muslims. It said that the Muslim Brotherhood have preferred non violent incremental change on the grounds of expediency, often on the basis that political opposition will disappear when the process of Islamisation is complete. “But they are prepared to countenance violence – including, from time to time, terrorism - where gradualism is ineffective.” In a statement to this correspondent, the UKIM said that it welcomes efforts to address terrorism, extremism and issues of insecurity but doesn’t agree with the assertions made by the Government’s Muslim Brotherhood Review.

“On the contrary, the UKIM has strongly condemned all forms of extremism in human thought, practice, and acts of terrorism. Islam promotes balance, wisdom, peace and justice in our individual and social lives. We have participated in numerous national and local initiatives to confront the evils of terrorism we have witnessed in recent years.

“Even so, the government’s review suggests that the UKIM promotes extremist views, spuriously based on the widespread availability of literature from certain Islamic scholars of the past now deemed to be extremist. It is wrong and unhelpful to suggest as the review surmises that by providing access to their works, we have promoted extremist ideas. When we provide access to writings from a range of Islamic scholars, we make it clear that their works were written in different times and contexts. We encourage a critical approach to literature and debate to ensure that the works are not misunderstood.”