UK won't ban Muslim Brotherhood but finds link to extremism

LONDON: Some members of the Muslim Brotherhood have supported violence and involvement with the group can be an indicator of extremism — but it should not be banned in Britain, the government said Thursday.

Last year, Prime Minister David Cameron ordered Britain's intelligence agencies to investigate the philosophy and activities of the Islamist group, amid reports the Brotherhood was using London as a base to plan militant activities after a crackdown in Egypt.

The Brotherhood says it is a peaceful charitable and political organisation, but opponents accuse it of orchestrating attacks on Egyptian police and military targets. It is considered a terrorist organisation by British ally Saudi Arabia and by Egypt, where Brotherhood leader Mohammed Morsi was ousted as president in 2013.

The British review concluded that the Brotherhood's form of political Islam is primarily "a political project," but that a minority of its supporters in Egypt "have engaged alongside other Islamists in violent acts."

"Individuals closely associated with the Muslim Brotherhood in the UK have supported suicide bombing and other attacks in Israel by Hamas," the review said.

In a written summary of the findings, Cameron said aspects of the group's ideology and activities "run counter to British values" and that membership is "a possible indicator of extremism." But the government found the group's views and activities didn't meet the legal tests for a ban.

Cameron said the government would keep the Brotherhood's activities under review, and refuse visas to members and associates who have made extremist comments.