Muslim Brotherhood not leaving U.K. for Austria: leader

He said the Brotherhood members enjoy freedom of movement in Britain and have nothing to fear

He said the Brotherhood members enjoy freedom of movement in Britain and have nothing to fear

CAIRO – The Muslim Brotherhood has no plans to relocate its office from Britain to Austria, according to a senior leader.

"I cannot imagine or accept to leave Britain for any other country," Ibrahim Munir, the secretary-general of the international organization of the Muslim Brotherhood, told Anadolu Agency by phone from London.

The Daily Mail reported Sunday that the Muslim Brotherhood was preparing to move its headquarters to Austria in an "apparent attempt to avoid an inquiry into its activities set up by the Prime Minister."

It said the Brotherhood had recently opened a new international office in Cricklewood, northwest London.

According to the British daily, the Brotherhood had decided to transfer its base to Graz, Austria’s second city, after David Cameron announced a joint MI5 and MI6 investigation into its activities and membership.

Munir, however, dismissed the relocation report as "baseless".

He said the decisions of the Muslim Brotherhood are not made in London.

"The office is only a gathering place for members to meet and discuss strategies," added the senior Muslim leader.

He said the Brotherhood members enjoy freedom of movement in Britain and they have nothing to fear.

"We do not need to leave Britain because we have not committed a crime or violated the law," Munir asserted. "The authorities in Britain know this very well."

He said the Brotherhood is ready to cooperate with British investigators.  

Last month, Cameron said that it was important to establish what the group’s beliefs were in terms of "extremism and violent extremism."

Munir said none of the Qatar-based Muslim Brotherhood members had applied for asylum in the United Kingdom, adding that British laws make it necessary for asylum-seekers to apply after arrival in London.

He added that none of the group's leaders had arrived to London.

Egyptian media reported recently that 15 Muslim Brotherhood leaders had plans to leave Qatar and settle in Britain.

Egyptian authorities have mounted a major crackdown on the Brotherhood since the army's ouster of elected president Mohamed Morsi, a senior Brotherhood leader, killing hundreds of its members and jailing thousands.

The 85-year-old Islamist movement, which propelled Morsi to power in the 2012 presidential polls, has been labeled as a "terrorist group" by both Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

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