Mark Curtis: Britain and the Muslim Brotherhood

British journalist Mark Curtis's recently released book "Secret Affairs: Britain's Collusion with Radical Islam" tells the story of the West’s so-called “war on terror,” which Curtis says is nothing but a product of the foreign policies of dominant Western powers. Curtis also explains the long history of the West’s, particularly Britain’s, collaboration with Islamist groups and its involvement in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kosovo and Egypt.

The book also discusses Britain’s collusion with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, a measure taken in an attempt to stop the revolution and bring down Gamal Abdel Nasser’s regime.

In an interview with Al-Masry Al-Youm, Curtis was asked to explain the relationship between Britain and the Muslim Brotherhood. According to Curtis, “The first known communication between Britain and the Brotherhood was in 1941. During that period, the British Secret Intelligence Service viewed any plans by any group against the British as the biggest threat to Egypt’s public security.”

He went on to say, “In a calculated move, some British officials offered financial support to the Brotherhood. There are many theories regarding Hassan al-Bana’s acceptance or refusal of the financial support but due to the relative calm of that time, we believe he did indeed accept it."

“Prior to 1942, it is certain that Britain had begun financially supporting the Brotherhood. During a meeting on 18 May between Embassy officials and Egyptian Prime Minister Amin Othman Pasha, an agreement was made that the financial support given to the Brotherhood by the Wafd party would be secretly paid by the Egyptian Government, which would require the financial help of the British Embassy.”

“Furthermore, the Egyptian government was going to plant spies within the group to closely follow their activities. This information would then be conveyed to the British Embassy and, in exchange, British intelligence sources would convey any information they had to the Egyptians.”

“It was also agreed upon that trials would be made to create divisions within the Brotherhood by exploiting any differences between al-Bana and Ahmed al-Sukari, one of the founding members.”

“In the meeting, they also agreed that the British side would be given the names of any Brotherhood members that could be considered threats, with the promise that the British would not make any moves against the group.”

“Al-Bana was also to be given his own newspaper to publish articles on the principles of supporting democracy with the intention to cause divisions within the Brotherhood.”

When asked whether the British had continued their support of the Brotherhood during the group’s consensus with Sadat, just as they had supported it to help remove Abdel Nasser, Curtis said, “There is no evidence regarding any communications between the Brotherhood and Britain during Sadat’s reign.”

“However, British files indicate that they sympathized with Sadat’s reign, which planted Islamic groups like the Brotherhood, as they were in opposition to the nationalists and communists. These files described the Brotherhood as a 'useful weapon' for Sadat’s regime.”

Curtis had no comment on whether or not there were any existing collaborations between the British and the Brotherhood.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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