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Ban the Brotherhood in the UK – Ed Hussain


Britain is in trouble. Its major towns and cities are being torn apart by racial and religious divisions. A war in faraway Gaza leads to thousands marching weekly. Many British Jews feel and say that central London is a no-go area for them, as protesters have held up “final solution” and other Nazi signage.


Parliament is intimidated and its processes disrupted for fear of mob violence led by radical Islamists and far-leftists. One MP, Mike Freer, resigned over fear of his life, and another — George Galloway — won a by-election in Rochdale playing the race and religion cards.


A general election looms amid the backdrop of a brutal war in the Middle East. But why must such distant events disturb and demolish our peace at home? Returning to first principles, how does this great nation reconcile its divisions and lead the world by example? What ideas and emotions unite us? For if Britain fails in this task, Europe will too, and the light of liberty will be dimmed again. Islam and immigration will come to be seen as twin, conjoined evils. We must avoid that disastrous path.


I am an outcome of modern Britain. Born and raised a Muslim in multi-ethnic, multi-faith London, the emotions that have driven many — often younger — Brits on to the streets in recent months once brewed within me too. Nietzsche wrote all philosophy is memoir, and my world view is formed by a journey away from those youthful passions.


So as I look upon my country from my adopted home in Washington DC, I wonder how the future will be different if peaceful British Christians, Jews, Muslims and others remember, again, who we are and the great possibilities that await this nation. We can make a significant contribution to helping provide justice for Palestinians and security for Israel, but that political solution comes from Britain and her allies working together, not angry protesters on our streets, some of whom are supporting Hamas and the Houthis.


First, however, for a more cohesive and united Britain to emerge, our political and cultural leadership must not be afraid to name those who are enemies of this vision and deal with religious totalitarianism head-on.


In his budget speech last week, Jeremy Hunt was right to remember the contribution of ordinary Muslims to our wars, announcing a memorial to those who died, prompted by Sajid Javid. But Islamists, who actively seek to reject secular government and impose their interpretations of sharia, oppose British Muslims fighting in our armed forces.


The nation of Churchill cannot stand idly by while those influenced by the fascism of the last century, namely the Muslim Brotherhood and its ideological activists and allies, use London as a political capital. Founded in Egypt in 1928, the Brotherhood seeks to rule with hardline sharia as law, and views ordinary Muslims that do not share this vision as its opponents.


The rise in antisemitism in Britain since October 7 has many sources, including the far left and the far right, but the Muslim Brotherhood and its allies are ideologically committed to the destruction of the state of Israel. This matters to all of us, because what starts with the Jews never ends with them. Citing Benjamin Disraeli, Churchill used to say that the “Lord deals with the nations as the nations deal with the Jews”.


The time has come to tackle the Brotherhood and shut down its financial, media, charitable and political arms in Britain. The government recently banned Hizb ut-Tahrir for advancing the same ideology as the Brotherhood after October 7. Follow this lead and relations will be strengthened with Arab nations in the Gulf. The Brotherhood is banned in Mecca, but thrives in London, including under names such as the Muslim Association of Britain.


Hamas is the Palestinian arm of the Muslim Brotherhood. They unashamedly killed Jews and have vowed to act again. The Brotherhood in Britain, operating under different “community representative” organisations, has been radicalising young Muslims against Jews. Islamist mosques and publishing houses have been disseminating calls for the destruction of Israel. After October 7, this is not an abstract issue. Sayyid Qutb, the Lenin of the Brotherhood, wrote Our Battle against the Jews in the 1950s, and Ayatollah Khamenei, now supreme leader of Iran, translated that text into Farsi. Their agenda against Jews and Israel couldn’t be more clear.


Our intelligence services do not take this threat seriously enough, because they do not understand the power of religion and are focused on Russian, Chinese and jihadist plots. Islamists are not democrats. Gaza, Iran, Algeria, Egypt and even Pakistan show us that Islamists when in power are not democrats but use opportunities granted to them by the ballot box to enforce anti-democratic measures.


This is an urgent and profound challenge. But I am hopeful it is one that can be resolved. There are five big political ideas, pioneered by Britain, that can help us unite as a nation and live in peace with our Muslim citizens.


The first is the rule of law, based on reason and the long English common law tradition, to ensure justice is upheld. We have evolved and progressed to create a modern citizen who has recourse to the independent courts of law without fear or favour, religion or race. The rise of sharia courts in which to settle divorces or inheritance or custody matters in England is the thin end of the wedge. All marriages should be registered or annulled through British courts, not a separate legal mechanism. There is nothing in the English common law tradition that contradicts the spirit of Islam, as demonstrated by the fact Muslim countries including Pakistan and Bangladesh maintained much of the common law tradition after the end of empire.


Secondly, we have liberal individualism, the rejection of oppression by any form of collectivism — religious, tribal, government or any other organisation — that prevents the individual from exercising their God-given freedom or inalienable rights. The free individual is the building block of the family, society and then the country. The rugged individual, the eccentric, the free thinker are celebrated in our culture from the days of childhood in stories such as The Ugly Duckling or The Emperor’s New Clothes. Islamism is collectivist and opposes that spirit, but many other Muslims live in societies that embrace individualism as it helps foster a direct relationship with God.


Thirdly, gender equality is among our greatest characteristics. We have achieved what the ancient Greeks, Romans, and others could not imagine, with female and male equality in the eyes of the law. This is an area where Islamist practices, which prevent women from being able to divorce, inherit equally or take leadership roles in mosques, and make them live in fear under a different set of “community” laws, must be confronted and opposed. We should ensure that marriage certificates for Muslim women enable them, much like a prenuptial agreement, to divorce without male clerical or communal bullying. Sharia allows for such agreements, so we are not violating faith-based traditions.


Fourthly, openness in our gatherings, thinking, writing, and speaking is a hallmark of British identity. For freedom of speech, thought, and assembly, millions have laid down their lives. It is no coincidence that Britain was the home of choice for some of the greatest German and Russian-speaking writers on freedom and openness. Leo Strauss, Sir Isaiah Berlin, and Sir Karl Popper all found shelter in Britain’s open society. Popper’s masterful book The Open Society and its Enemies praises the individualism and rule-of-law culture that characterise Britain as a nation state. The Brotherhood seeks to hide away from criticism by shouting Islamophobia. Freedom of speech and belief allows millions of Muslims to prosper and live in peace. After all, in strictly Christian terms, Islam is heresy and blasphemy. But that freedom also means allowing others to blaspheme. Entitlements come with obligations.


Finally, racial parity is an important characteristic of the British people. Britain has come a long way since the 1950s, when racism was overt. Of course, we are not perfect. Yet we are a mongrel nation that is not fixated on racial purity. In today’s Britain, 89 per cent of people say they would be happy for their child to marry someone from another ethnic group. The vast majority, 93 percent, disagree with the statement that “to be truly British you have to be white”. Such is our openness: we should not allow it to be threatened by Islamists who seek to pit Muslim communities against their fellow citizens.


Free societies can self-destruct unless they are vigilant. For as long as we fly the flag with confidence in our national character, our Muslim and other fellow citizens will join the British mainstream with pride and a sense of belonging. We must not tolerate intolerance and terror. The future of our country depends on it.


Ed Husain is author of Among the Mosques and a professor at the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University in Washington


Link: Five ways to crack the Islamist conundrum


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