Muslim Brotherhood Prepares For Mass Demo
Mohamed Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood has set up home in London IBTimes UK

The Muslim Brotherhood (MB), kicked out of power in Egypt five months ago, has been undergoing one of the toughest periods in its 85-year history. The grandfather of all Islamist groups may be down, but the West counts it out at its own peril.

With its leadership cast out of Egypt, the organisation has regrouped in Qatar, where the state-run Al Jazeera satellite network has paid for its members' plush hotel suites and provided them ample broadcast time to air their anti-Western messages. A second new locus of operation is Turkey which has already played host to two Brotherhood summits, and served as a launch pad for the pan-Islamist group's political return to Syria.

Also Istanbul will host the MB's new TV channel, Rabaa, which has garnered a $35 million budget and will broadcast in five languages: Arabic, English, French, German and Italian via Eutelsat, the French satellite company.

But the Brotherhood's third choice for its new address should also come as no surprise: it is London.

Over the years the city has been dubbed "Londonistan," for its vibrant and vocal Islamist community. London has played host to sundry Islamists, from Abu Qatada and Rached Ghannouchi (icon of Tunisia's Brotherhood-linked Ennahda movement) to Egyptian Brotherhood ex-spokesman Kamal Helbawy and the Al-Qaeda-affiliated preacher Abu Hamza al-Masri.

The centrality of London in terms of the Brotherhood's global network has spiked since the removal of President Morsi. Indeed, on 30 June four Egyptian MPs fled to the English capital. The Brotherhood's spiritual leader ,Gomaa Amin, is now in London. So are the recently-arrived Salim Al Awwa, chief of Morsi's defense committee and now the president of the Brotherhood's parallel government in London, and Ibrahim Mounir, who is in charge of the Brotherhood's London office and general secretary of the organisation in Europe.

Last month London hosted a meeting for the who's who of international Brotherhood members to discuss future strategy. Attendees included Mahmoud Ezzat, the Brotherhood's deputy supreme guide, who was imprisoned along with Supreme Guide Muhammad Badie from 1965 to 1974 and has been a member of the Guidance Office since 1981. He is married to the daughter of former supreme guide Mahdi Akef and is viewed by many as the Brotherhood's "iron man".

"No refuge ought to be given to an illiberal organisation opposed to the values of tolerance and pluralism that most Britons and Westerners hold dear."

As well as moving so many of its key figures to London, the Brotherhood has also relocated its media headquarters, spearheaded by the main media operations office. Among the staff are Mona al-Kazzaz, sister of Egyptian MB Foreign Relations Khaled al-Kazzaz (currently jailed in Egypt) and Abdullah al-Haddad, the brother of Egyptian MB spokesman Gehad al-Haddad (also incarcerated in his home country). The movement is now launching a London newspaper, al-Jadeed, financed by Qatar.

Why does this matter? Because the Brotherhood is the world's most influential Islamist group, and because despite well-intentioned Westerners' illusions that they had found the long-sought standard-bearer for "moderate Islam," nothing could be further from the truth. Qatar and Turkey may choose to give the Brotherhood sanctuary, but Britain can find better company than those Islamist-friendly regimes.

No refuge ought to be given to an illiberal organisation opposed to the values of tolerance and pluralism that most Britons and Westerners hold dear. It's crucial to remember that the Brotherhood is a dangerous organisation with limitless ambitions, and that while the Brothers may be bowed, they are far from broken.

Olivier Guitta is the Director of Research at the Henry Jackson Society, a London-based think tank, where Oren Kessler is a Research Fellow on the Middle East