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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 18 December 2018

Corbyn pictured in Muslim Brotherhood allegiance gesture

Outrage over Jeremy Corbyn's four fingered salute to the Muslim Brotherhood as calls for resignation grow

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in a photo taken from Twitter; original source unknown.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in a photo taken from Twitter; original source unknown.

British opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn made a sign used by supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood to show allegiance in the latest allegation he has ties to extremist groups and supports sectarian politics.

Photographs show the London member of parliament holding up four fingers and tucking his thumb into the palm of his hand. Making the gesture alongside him is a member of the Muslim Association of Britain, a Muslim Brotherhood front organisation active in mosques and charities.

The hand gesture has become a campaign rallying point for the Muslim Brotherhood since it was ousted from power in Egypt. Pictures of Mr Corbyn making the Rabbaa sign were taken at an annual feast jointly hosted in 2016 by the Muslim Association of Britain and the Finsbury Park mosque in Mr Corbyn’s constituency.

A 2015 British government report found that the Muslim Brotherhood stood “counter to British values and democracy” and specifically identified the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB) as a prime platform of influence in UK society.

“MAB are associated with the Federation of Islamic Organisations in Europe, established by the Muslim Brotherhood in 1989,” it said. “MAB has links to the Cordoba Foundation, a think tank which is associated with the Brotherhood (though claiming to be neither affiliated to the Muslim Brotherhood nor a lobby organisation for it).”

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Anas Al-Tikriti, the president of the MAB, has also played a prominent role in the Cordoba Foundation.

Majid Nawaz, a campaigner against Islamist extremist influence operations, compared the overall movement to the "bigoted, identitarian and dangerous" British National Party (BNP).

“It should be as taboo for a left-wing politician to be associated with that group, as it is with the BNP,” he said.

A spokesman for Mr Corbyn said the sign should be interpreted as a symbol of sympathy for the those involved in the crackdown on demonstrators in Cairo in 2013. “The four-fingered gesture is a well-known symbol of solidarity with the victims of the 2013 Rabaa massacre in Cairo,” the spokesman said in reference to the hundreds who died during a security crackdown on a camp of supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi.

The images fuelled a British row over Mr Corbyn’s close ties to violent groups. The Labour leader has also been shown praying and laying a wreath on the tombs of the suspect behind the murders at the 1972 Munich Olympics. The visit to Tunis in 2014 was paid for by the country’s government and Mr Corbyn has been reported to the parliamentary authorities for failing to declare the trip in accordance with anti-corruption regulations for members of parliament.

While the Labour leader claimed to have been commemorating the 1985 Israeli attack on the PLO headquarters in Tunis, sources involved in organising the trip said he laid a wreath on the grave of Atef Bseiso, one of the Munich accused.

Two of the most senior British government ministers have charged the images mean Mr Corbyn is unfit for office. Sajid Javid, the home secretary, has called for his resignation. Jeremy Hunt, the foreign secretary, said the Labour leader had lost moral authority. “If [Jeremy Corbyn] thinks terrorism is justified for the causes he believes in, how would he as Prime Minister have the moral authority to condemn terrorist murders of British citizens?” he asked. “Unbelievable and shocking.”

Gordon Brown, the former prime minister, said Mr Corbyn has “got to change” to end the controversy. "This cannot keep going on as a running sore and it's not because it's an embarrassment, it is because it is simply wrong,” he said.