File photo dated 12/05/16 of Sara Khan who will head up the newly-created Commission for Countering Extremism, the Home Office announced. Ms Khan, whose official title will be lead commissioner, is co-founder of campaign organisation Inspire.
Sara Khan: The UK government's controversial pick to lead counter-terrorism efforts. Isabel Infantes

Concerted efforts to constrain the Muslim Brotherhood are overdue but welcome



New terrorist designations last week for the groups Harakat Sawa'd Misr or Hasm and Liwa Al Thawra mark a big victory for patient diplomacy to combat the Muslim Brotherhood.

In particular Egyptian diplomats can be commended for painstaking efforts to gain understanding from Western policymakers about the rise of violent tendencies within the movement. The dangers these pose are now front and centre.

The US emulated a move by Britain in December to designate Muslim Brotherhood subsidiaries as terrorists, banning any activity by their members and opening a legal route to target wrong-doing. It must only be a matter of time until the EU and other vulnerable jurisdictions take the same path.

At the time of the UK announcement, John Casson, the ambassador to Egypt, made plain the designation was part of a wider shift in outlook by his government. He took to Twitter to make a significant declaration: "We all face the same terrorist evil and will not leave Egypt to fight alone."

The groundwork for London’s new harder stance on the Muslim Brotherhood is a hard-won development. A British foreign office minister used an article in an Egyptian newspaper last year to turn a decade of government policy on its head.

Pointing out that laws banning incitement of hate or the justification of terrorism would be applied to the Muslim Brotherhood, the minister made strong commitments to target the organisation.

Since the removal of Mohammed Morsi from power, Egypt has witnessed a succession of bloody attacks originating within the Brotherhood.

It has taken Western officials too long to understand the acceleration in the violent rhetoric in the last five years. Now it is clear the Muslim Brotherhood uses evasion to hide its extremist agenda in London as much as Cairo.

The organisation’s worldwide nexus can be targeted not only by global counter-terrorism efforts but newly aware education regulators, charity administrators and immigration officials. A more formidable regimen than before is forming.

The appointment of Sara Khan as the UK's new commissioner to counter extremism is a landmark move to take the battle to a new level. If by her enemies we can judge Mrs Khan, she can be expected to deliver a consequential tenure.

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An establishment that oversaw more than a decade of failed consultation-based policies spoke out as if as one against her. Many of the attacks, even from women, were clearly biased against Mrs Khan on the basis of her sex.

The need for a more vigilant and aggressive approach is greater than ever.

The short history of Hasm and Liwa Al Thawra is demonstration of how dangerous these outfits can become.

Formed in the summer of 2016, both groups have targeted security and diplomatic interests in Egypt. Hasm bombed the Myanmar embassy in Cairo and Al Thawra carried out the assassination of Major Adel Ragaai, an important military officer.

The groups made it clear they are followers of the Muslim Brotherhood’s ideology. In particular their propaganda channels recite and praise hardliner Mohamed Kamal. It is known that Muslim Brotherhood members have swelled their ranks as they have linked themselves to a figure whose followers debate online “new means and devices” to fight the authorities.

It was Kamal who formed the so-called Special Operations Committees that mobilised the Muslim Brotherhood membership to fight against the security forces after Morsi was replaced. He was killed in a raid shortly after the terror groups were formed.

Months of inciting sectarian violence and anti-state violence left a legacy that endures to this day. The Muslim Brotherhood’s Revolutionary Punishment Movement has, for example, warned all foreigners to leave Egypt.

Last week’s proscription directives will deny their operatives resources to plan and carry out attacks. Depending on whether or not they have members with the US or British jurisdictions, the designations could disrupt operations. Certainly communications can be targeted, especially in the digital sphere.

British officials have said they want the country to be the most proactive in the West in policing and resisting the Muslim Brotherhood. So far they have resisted calls to ban international membership. Without that there remain gaps. Members of the Muslim Council of Britain, which is heavily influenced by the Muslim Brotherhood, confirmed to The National last week that they had held their first discussions with security officials in more than six years.

In the US the picture is even more mixed. Bills in Congress to ban the Muslim Brotherhood have been stalled by arcane procedural rows. Despite high profile sponsors, including Senator Ted Cruz, the legislation has not been put to the vote by the leadership.

Given the extensive and proven ties between Hasm and Al Thawra, the US state department move certainly makes a compelling case for an umbrella ban. It also boosts efforts to get more countries to take the Muslim Brotherhood’s latest dangerous ideological shift more seriously and implement restrictions of their own.

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Xpanceo

Started: 2018

Founders: Roman Axelrod, Valentyn Volkov

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Smart contact lenses, augmented/virtual reality

Funding: $40 million

Investor: Opportunity Venture (Asia)

What is Folia?

Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal's new plant-based menu will launch at Four Seasons hotels in Dubai this November. A desire to cater to people looking for clean, healthy meals beyond green salad is what inspired Prince Khaled and American celebrity chef Matthew Kenney to create Folia. The word means "from the leaves" in Latin, and the exclusive menu offers fine plant-based cuisine across Four Seasons properties in Los Angeles, Bahrain and, soon, Dubai.

Kenney specialises in vegan cuisine and is the founder of Plant Food + Wine and 20 other restaurants worldwide. "I’ve always appreciated Matthew’s work," says the Saudi royal. "He has a singular culinary talent and his approach to plant-based dining is prescient and unrivalled. I was a fan of his long before we established our professional relationship."

Folia first launched at The Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills in July 2018. It is available at the poolside Cabana Restaurant and for in-room dining across the property, as well as in its private event space. The food is vibrant and colourful, full of fresh dishes such as the hearts of palm ceviche with California fruit, vegetables and edible flowers; green hearb tacos filled with roasted squash and king oyster barbacoa; and a savoury coconut cream pie with macadamia crust.

In March 2019, the Folia menu reached Gulf shores, as it was introduced at the Four Seasons Hotel Bahrain Bay, where it is served at the Bay View Lounge. Next, on Tuesday, November 1 – also known as World Vegan Day – it will come to the UAE, to the Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach and the Four Seasons DIFC, both properties Prince Khaled has spent "considerable time at and love". 

There are also plans to take Folia to several more locations throughout the Middle East and Europe.

While health-conscious diners will be attracted to the concept, Prince Khaled is careful to stress Folia is "not meant for a specific subset of customers. It is meant for everyone who wants a culinary experience without the negative impact that eating out so often comes with."

What is the Supreme Petroleum Council?

The Abu Dhabi Supreme Petroleum Council was established in 1988 and is the highest governing body in Abu Dhabi’s oil and gas industry. The council formulates, oversees and executes the emirate’s petroleum-related policies. It also approves the allocation of capital spending across state-owned Adnoc’s upstream, downstream and midstream operations and functions as the company’s board of directors. The SPC’s mandate is also required for auctioning oil and gas concessions in Abu Dhabi and for awarding blocks to international oil companies. The council is chaired by Sheikh Khalifa, the President and Ruler of Abu Dhabi while Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, is the vice chairman.

Super 30

Produced: Sajid Nadiadwala and Phantom Productions
Directed: Vikas Bahl
Cast: Hrithik Roshan, Pankaj Tripathi, Aditya Srivastav, Mrinal Thakur
Rating: 3.5 /5

KEY DATES IN AMAZON'S HISTORY

July 5, 1994: Jeff Bezos founds Cadabra Inc, which would later be renamed to Amazon.com, because his lawyer misheard the name as 'cadaver'. In its earliest days, the bookstore operated out of a rented garage in Bellevue, Washington

July 16, 1995: Amazon formally opens as an online bookseller. Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought becomes the first item sold on Amazon

1997: Amazon goes public at $18 a share, which has grown about 1,000 per cent at present. Its highest closing price was $197.85 on June 27, 2024

1998: Amazon acquires IMDb, its first major acquisition. It also starts selling CDs and DVDs

2000: Amazon Marketplace opens, allowing people to sell items on the website

2002: Amazon forms what would become Amazon Web Services, opening the Amazon.com platform to all developers. The cloud unit would follow in 2006

2003: Amazon turns in an annual profit of $75 million, the first time it ended a year in the black

2005: Amazon Prime is introduced, its first-ever subscription service that offered US customers free two-day shipping for $79 a year

2006: Amazon Unbox is unveiled, the company's video service that would later morph into Amazon Instant Video and, ultimately, Amazon Video

2007: Amazon's first hardware product, the Kindle e-reader, is introduced; the Fire TV and Fire Phone would come in 2014. Grocery service Amazon Fresh is also started

2009: Amazon introduces Amazon Basics, its in-house label for a variety of products

2010: The foundations for Amazon Studios were laid. Its first original streaming content debuted in 2013

2011: The Amazon Appstore for Google's Android is launched. It is still unavailable on Apple's iOS

2014: The Amazon Echo is launched, a speaker that acts as a personal digital assistant powered by Alexa

2017: Amazon acquires Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, its biggest acquisition

2018: Amazon's market cap briefly crosses the $1 trillion mark, making it, at the time, only the third company to achieve that milestone

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Klipit

Started: 2022

Founders: Venkat Reddy, Mohammed Al Bulooki, Bilal Merchant, Asif Ahmed, Ovais Merchant

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Digital receipts, finance, blockchain

Funding: $4 million

Investors: Privately/self-funded

The specs

Engine: 2.0-litre 4-cyl turbo

Power: 201hp at 5,200rpm

Torque: 320Nm at 1,750-4,000rpm

Transmission: 6-speed auto

Fuel consumption: 8.7L/100km

Price: Dh133,900

On sale: now

Company profile

Company name: Fasset
Started: 2019
Founders: Mohammad Raafi Hossain, Daniel Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech
Initial investment: $2.45 million
Current number of staff: 86
Investment stage: Pre-series B
Investors: Investcorp, Liberty City Ventures, Fatima Gobi Ventures, Primal Capital, Wealthwell Ventures, FHS Capital, VN2 Capital, local family offices