An edited extract from Mark Curtis’ latest book, Secret Affairs: Britain’s Collusion with Radical Islam (Serpent’s Tail, 2010)
The Second World War witnessed the continuing growth of the Muslim Brotherhood, which developed under Hassan al-Banna’s leadership into an Islamist mass movement. It had become the largest Islamic society in Egypt and had set up affiliates in Sudan, Jordan, Syria, Palestine and North Africa. Aiming to establish an Islamic state under the slogan ‘The Koran is our constitution’, the Brotherhood preached strict observance of the tenets of Islam and offered a religious alternative to both the secular nationalist movements and communist parties in Egypt and the Middle East – forces which were becoming the two major challengers to British, and US, power in the region.
Britain had regarded Egypt as a linchpin of its position in the Middle East ever since it declared a ‘protectorate’ over the country at the beginning…
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