Jeremy Corbyn has found himself involved in a row after a picture of him making a sign linked to the Muslim Brotherhood surfaced. His spokesperson said it was done in solidarity with the victims of a 2013 massacre in Egypt.
The picture, published by the Daily Telegraph and reportedly taken in Finsbury Park Mosque in 2016, shows Corbyn with four outstretched fingers and his thumb tucked in against his palm. The hand-gesture is called Rabbi’ah and used by the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) in a sign of solidarity with ex-Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi and the victims of the Rabaa massacre.
Morsi, who was democratically elected following the Arab Spring and the subsequent fall of dictator Hosni Mubarak, was overthrown by, now-president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in a July 2013 coup d’etat.
A spokesperson for Corbyn said he had been "standing up for democracy" when he used the Rabbi’ah symbol, telling the paper: “The four fingered gesture is a well-known symbol of solidarity with the victims of the 2013 Rabaa massacre in Cairo.”
The hand gesture stems from the August 2013 massacre, when Egyptian security forces under the command of el-Sisi raided two Morsi supporter camps in Cairo; including one in Rabaa al-Adawiya Square where the gesture gets its name. Human Rights Watch, who described the raids as "one of the world's largest killings of demonstrators in a single day in recent history,” estimated that a minimum of 817 people and more likely at least 1,000 died during the dispersal.
The Islamist MB is a transnational organization which originated in Egypt, before spreading across the Arab world. Its brand of political Islam has influenced groups such as Hamas in Gaza, and cites Turkey and Qatar amongst its supporters. The organisation is listed as a terrorist group by countries including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Russia and Syria
In 2003 the Supreme Court of Russia listed MB as a terrorist organisation for its role the creation of a largely Chechen Islamic extremist group, which has committed multiple terrorist attacks on Russia
While it is not considered a terrorist group by the UK, upon the conclusion of an investigation into the MB ex-British prime minister David Cameron said aspects of the group’s ideology “run counter to British values of democracy.”
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