David Cameron is facing embarrassment over the close links between a Government adviser on religion and an Islamist group placed under urgent investigation.
The Prime Minister last week ordered the security services to look into the Muslim Brotherhood amid fears its leaders, exiled from Egypt, are plotting terrorist attacks from London.
He said the inquiry would establish ‘the complete picture’ of the Brotherhood including its possible involvement with ‘violent extremism’ and its ‘presence here in the UK’.
But the investigation is likely to lead to red faces in Whitehall, as a scion of the Muslim Brotherhood’s founding family is a senior ministerial adviser.
Tariq Ramadan is one of 14 members of the Foreign Office’s Advisory Group on Freedom of Religion or Belief, chaired by Tory peer Baroness Warsi. He is Professor of Contemporary Islamic Studies at Oxford University, and was a member of a taskforce set up by Tony Blair after 7/7.
The Swiss citizen was for several years banned from the US for ‘providing material support to a terrorist organisation’ and only let in after a long legal battle in which he argued that no link with terrorism existed.
He was kept out of France in the 1990s over supposed links to Algerian terrorists.
He lost two posts at Dutch universities for hosting a chat show on a TV channel backed by the Iranian regime and became notorious for refusing to say stoning to death should be banned outright, although calling for a moratorium.
Critics repeatedly accuse the smartly dressed, well-spoken scholar of seeming to be moderate when speaking to Western audiences but giving more extreme speeches in Arabic.
Douglas Murray, associate director of the Henry Jackson Society think-tank, said: ‘David Cameron should be deeply embarrassed by this. Tariq Ramadan is extremely loyal to his father and grandfather and he does not, by any means, speak out against the Muslim Brotherhood.’
A Foreign Office spokesman said: ‘Prof Ramadan has written and taught extensively on issues relating to Islam, and therefore has plenty of relevant experience to bring to the group.’
Prof Ramadan’s office in France declined to comment.