A welcome mat for militant Islamist leaders?
Shocking advice from Britain's Home Office has said that high-profile Islamist operatives may be eligible for asylum in the United Kingdom given the group is now "persecuted" in opposition in Egypt.
In new guidance published this week, The Independent Advisory Group on Country Information within the Home Office discussed "fear of persecution or serious harm by the state because of the person's actual or perceived involvement with the Muslim Brotherhood (MB)," stating that "MB leaders and supporters have faced a prolonged crackdown by President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi's regime following the ousting of President Mohamed Morsi in July 2013 and the MB's designation on 25 December 2013 as a terrorist organisation."
The paper cites death sentences meted out to MB members, as well as "instances of persons tortured to death" and suggests: "Those with a high profile in the MB or who have been politically active, particularly in demonstrations, may be able to show that they are at risk of persecution, including of being held in detention, where they may be at risk of ill-treatment, trial also without due process and disproportionate punishment."
It adds: "Additionally, high profile supporters or those perceived to support the MB, such as journalists, may also be similarly at risk of persecution. In such cases, a grant of asylum will be appropriate."
Considering the Muslim Brotherhood has recently called for "jihad" and "martyrdom" and has long supported hard-line Islamist governance as well as violent means of obtaining power and infiltration into Western countries, the UK government's paper is likely to cause major concern.
The Brotherhood, founded in 1928, is a key inspiration to terrorist groups like Hamas, and was for some time funded via Saudi Arabia. In recent years the Saudis and the Muslim Brothers have drifted apart, leading to the UK government being used as a pawn by Saudi Arabia to investigate Muslim Brotherhood activities in Britain as a means by which to punish the group.
But the report also states: "The evidence does not suggest that merely being a member of, or, in particular, a supporter of the MB will put a person at risk of persecution," meaning only the highest profile Islamists may be eligible for asylum in the United Kingdom.
Speaking to the Muslim Brotherhood's commitment to Islamist goals, the document notes: "The MB are reported to have released a statement in January 2015 calling on followers to embrace 'jihad' and 'martyrdom' to fight the current regime."
Instead of ruling people out of coming to live in the United Kingdom at the expense of tax payers for being in favour of "jihad," the government advice lukewarmly states: "Depending on the nature of the person's involvement, decision makers must consider whether one of the exclusion clauses is applicable."
The Muslim Brotherhood has a vast property portfolio in the United Kingdom, and has long exercised control over the groups that are more fervently opposed to so-called "Islamophobia" in the country. MB links in the UK are also well documented, and spread through seemingly harmless charities, public figures, government advisors, and educational establishments.
Several U.S. Congressmen recently renewed their long-standing calls to designate the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group.
Raheem Kassam is a Shillman-Ginsburg fellow at the Middle East Forum and editor-in-chief of Breitbart London.