This is no surprise. In 2009, when Blair’s successor and associate Gordon Brown was Prime Minister, the British government gave £48,000 to the Muslim Brotherhood to fight “extremism.” Blair himself has demonstrated a remarkable naivete regarding jihad terror and Islamic supremacism, most notably last summer, when he published an embarrassingly incoherent article claiming that there was not a problem with Islam, but within Islam — whatever that means.
Anyway, now that the Brotherhood is (supposedly) going to be investigated in Britain, will the Tony Blair Faith Foundation be shut down? Will there be a public discussion of Useful Idiocy in the British press? That is wildly unlikely.
“Tony Blair’s advisers and their ‘ties to extremist group,’” by Robert Verkaik and Robert Mendick for the Telegraph, April 13:
Tony Blair is facing accusations that his multifaith charity has links to an Islamic extremist group being investigated by MI5 and MI6.
The Tony Blair Faith Foundation, which was established in 2008 to help combat extremism, is being advised by a Muslim leader who is alleged to be a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, an organisation that could be banned in Britain.
The urgent review was commissioned by David Cameron, and spy chiefs will report their findings to him in the summer.
A second Islamic cleric, who has advised Mr Blair’s charity from its inception, is also accused of having close ties to the Brotherhood.
The Muslim Brotherhood is a worldwide Islamist movement that has been declared a terrorist group by Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
Many of its members have moved to London to escape a crackdown in Cairo, where the group backs Mohammed Morsi, the ousted Egyptian president. This week, Mr Cameron said that he had asked the security service MI5, the Secret Intelligence Service, MI6, and the Foreign Office to investigate the Brotherhood’s activities in Britain and abroad.
Claims that his charity has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood will embarrass Mr Blair, who has been openly critical of the Islamic organisation in the past.
Last year, he compared the Brotherhood to the Russian Bolshevik party, and described its agenda as undemocratic. He said the Brotherhood was in “pursuit of values that contradict everything we stand for” and, in a television interview this year, he said the party was “taking the country [Egypt] away from its basic values of hope and progress”.
But now it is claimed that two of his own advisers are linked to the party. Inquiries by the Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Watch, which has been investigating the Brotherhood for 13 years, have revealed that Dr Ismail Khudr Al-Shatti, an adviser to the Kuwaiti government and a member of Mr Blair’s advisory council, is a leading member of the Islamic Constitutional Movement (ICM), the Kuwaiti branch of the Muslim Brotherhood.
According to a news agency report in 2000, Dr Shatti told a crowd of Kuwaitis protesting over Palestine: “Israel is an evil, and we can never live with evil.” In 1995, it was reported in America that a Palestinian terrorist group wrote to him requesting funds.
The other Islamic adviser to Mr Blair is Mustafa Ceric, the former Grand Mufti of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Mr Ceric, who accepted Mr Blair’s invitation to join the foundation’s religious advisory council in 2008, is tied to the global Muslim Brotherhood through his membership of the European Council for Fatwa and Research (ECFR), headed by Youssef Qaradawi, considered the Brotherhood’s intellectual leader, and whose extremist views led to his ban from Britain in 2008.
During his last visit, in 2004, Dr Qaradawi defended suicide attacks on Israelis as “martyrdom in the name of God”….
The Muslim Brotherhood denies being an extremist organisation, and has asked Lord Macdonald, the former director of public prosecutions, to help make its case.
It said in a statement that it is a peaceful and lawful organisation that “does not engage in or promote acts of violence to achieve its aims” and it “intends to openly engage with the British Government’s review and will make representations to assist”.
But it threatened court action against “any improper attempt to restrict its activity”.
A spokesman for the Tony Blair Faith Foundation said: “We are grateful for the contribution to our work of Dr Ismail Khudr Al-Shatti and Dr Mustafa Ceric.
“They are great supporters of both the foundation and interfaith dialogue, with long records of commitment to peaceful coexistence.
“We have no knowledge of the links you speak of; but in any event are absolutely convinced they’re both upstanding and sincere in their support for what the foundation is trying to do. “The Tony Blair Faith Foundation is not a religious organisation; we are unaffiliated and work with all those committed to helping prevent religious prejudice, conflict and extremism. The strategic direction and day-to-day work of the foundation is led by our CEO, Charlotte Keenan, and governed by our trustees.”
A spokesman for the Kuwaiti embassy in London was unable to answer questions about Mr Shatti at the time of going to press. But a source said that if Mr Shatti had been a member of the ICM, he did not think he was a member now.
The Muslim Brotherhood has not answered questions about its alleged links to the two men.