British prime minister David Cameron's announcement on March 31 that his government would be looking into the Muslim Brotherhood's activities in the United Kingdom and potential links to terrorism was reported around the world. Cameron has charged John Jenkins, his knowledgeable ambassador to Saudi Arabia, with heading a review of the MB's philosophy and activities, while MI5 and MI6, the intelligence services, will look into the MB's potential links to terrorism. While a case can be made that the government is responding to pressure from countries such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, one should not discount the domestic aspect—the Muslim Brotherhood's growing presence in the United Kingdom.
Europe has been very much the second home of the movement since the 1960s—initially as a base for exiled members of the group, and later as a theater of operations in its own right. Concerns regarding the Brotherhood's activities—ranging from its impact on the ability of Muslims to integrate into European societies to its links with violent extremist movements—have been raised in numerous countries. Following a brief period of electoral success in the Middle East after the Arab Spring, the MB is now under attack on almost all fronts. A combination of public protests, internal repression, and wider geopolitical pressures has arguably left the MB more imperiled in the Arab world than it has been in decades. To compensate for these setbacks, the MB now seems to be seeking to expand its exploitation of Europe as a safe haven for its leaders, a financial center, recruiting ground, and forum in which to exercise political and social influence.