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Posted on Jan 29, 2013

Walid Saffour

Walid Saffour

Saffour was appointed Ambassador to the UK for the Syrian Coalition on 26 November 2012. Saffour is a 62 year old Syrian ‘human rights activist’[1], and the current President of the Syrian Human Rights Committee (SHRC).

On his appointment, Saffour announced: “Brothers and friends and colleagues: peace and mercy of God. I have been appointed today by the leadership of the coalition to be its representative in Britain, and it was adopted today by the British Foreign Office. Thank brothers in the leadership of the Coalition for this trust and I hope that I am trusted and that it is well-deserved. Ask God to help me to withstand this heavy burden. Perhaps brothers and sisters, colleagues and the Syrian community in Britain – you can help and support our people and support them to get rid of the legacy of the current incumbent.”[2]

Saffour was born in Homs in October 1950. He holds an MA degree in Linguistics and Translation Theory from a London University. He was arrested in Syria for not supporting the pro-government demonstrations in 1980[3]. He was subjected to severe torture and has described how he was forced inside a tyre until his head and toes touched, thrown down a steep wall and then beaten with batons and stripped wire. He subsequently suffered a broken back due to the beatings[4]. One of his torturers was Mohamed Shaar, now the current Minister of Interior for Syria[5]. He was arrested and tortured for several times before he was obliged to leave Syria in 1981.

Saffour has written a large number of articles for various publications and often provides comments for media outlets in his capacity as SHRC President and Spokesman. One source describes Saffour as the ‘Head of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood in the UK.’[6] Others, however, describe him as ‘maintaining close ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.’[7]

Saffour’s daughter Nazan has been accused of being a “radical Islamist and a Muslim Brotherhood member”[8]

Walid Saffour has been Chairman and President of the SHRC since 2004. The SHRC was founded in summer 1997 and claims to be an “independent and neutral human rights organization, concerned fundamentally with defending general liberties and human rights of the Syrian people.”[9]

Its stated aims are:

  1. Exposing the violations, assaults and aggressions against human rights and fundamental liberties of the Syrian citizens and publishing such incidents to the international media.
  2. Conducting research and publishing books and studies related to fundamental liberties and human rights in Syria.
  3. Issuing various reports, initiating campaigns, and conducting seminars and interviews to highlight and bring to attention the human right issues in Syria.
  4. Raising awareness and promoting the culture of human rights in Syrian society and encouraging members of this society to continually demand for their human rights and general liberties.[10]

Saffour is listed as a former Director and Founder of the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB)[11] between 30 January 1998 and 15 December 1999.[12] He founded the MAB with Egyptian-born Kamal El Helbawy (who was at the time the London-based spokesman in Europe for the Muslim Brotherhood[13]); former Hamas commander Mohammed Sawalha; Azam Tamimi, who between 1989 and 1992 worked for the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan, editing Al Ribat, the Jordanian MB weekly paper; and the son of Osama Al Tikriti (the head of the Muslim Brotherhood in Iraq) Anas Al Tikriti.[14]

The MAB is considered to be “the Muslim Brotherhood of Britain.”[15] MAB activism is said to have had an impact on political Islam in Britain, shifting it to a more anti-Western outlook. In April 2002, when MAB organised a large pro-Palestinian rally in central London, one Islamist website announced: “the Muslim Brotherhood launch biggest Palestine rally in the UK.”[16]

Their existing infrastructure was augmented by the transfer of the “political office” of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood branch, from Amman to London, in 2000. The MAB hosted numerous meetings for visiting Muslim Brotherhood leaders, such as Yusuf al-Qaradawi. MAB has strong ties with the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), the Stop the War Coalition[17] and the Communist Party of Britain. It has also been linked to George Galloway and the RESPECT Party.[18]

In December 2010, Matthew Offord MP questioned Alistair Burt on the links between the UK offices of the Muslim Brotherhood and the terrorist organisations Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Burt replied that the government was aware of the significant historic links between the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas. [19]


[5] Saffour speaks out against the regime at an Amnesty event in October 2011,

[10] ibid.

[19] m#10112234000037




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