British MP says '50% of Egyptians support Muslim Brotherhood'

British MP says '50% of Egyptians support Muslim Brotherhood'

2 min read
03 December, 2016
An Egyptian member of parliament has claimed that a British counterpart believes that half of Egyptians support the blacklisted Muslim Brotherhood movement.
A 2015 British government report concluded the Brotherhood had no links to terror [Getty]
An Egyptian member of parliament has claimed that a British counterpart believes that half of Egyptians support the blacklisted Muslim Brotherhood movement.

Tarek al-Khouly, who visited the UK this week as a part of an Egyptian parliamentary delegation, claimed the remarks were made during a meeting with Crispin Blunt, chairman of the British parliament foreign affairs committee chairman.

A British Foreign Affairs Committee spokesperson told The New Arab in an emailed statement that it did not recognise Khouly's account of the meeting as accurate.

The Egyptian MP told pro-government daily Youm7 on Wednesday that Blunt had said: "Through his perception of the Rabaa sit-in, he saw that Egyptians were divided in half and that 50 percent belonged to the Muslim Brotherhood."

"The Muslim Brotherhood should have remained in power because they were democratically elected," he quoted Blunt as saying.

He added that Blunt said he could not be a part of the Muslim Brotherhood because "he was an atheist and a homosexual."

Blunt has spoken out in favour of political Islam having a role across the Middle East.

Last month, the British Foreign Affairs Committee released a report saying the government had allowed its policy towards the Muslim Brotherhood to be undermined by the impression it was being influenced by the Islamist group's enemies in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf.

A British government report from early 2015 concluded that the group had no links to terror, but recommended that the group's activities be monitored.

The report angered the Egyptian government, which has killed hundreds of Brotherhood supporters and imprisoned tens of thousands, including the first democratically elected president, Mohammad Morsi, since a 2013 military overthrow of the Brotherhood.

In August guidance published by the UK's Home Office said that Muslim Brotherhood members could qualify for political asylum in the UK if their lives and livelihoods were under threat in Egypt.

Khouly told local media this week that the Brotherhood were actively lobbying the UK government and that the British decision to continue to hold back on restoring flights to Sharm al-Sheikh was "politically motivated".