After Saudi Crown Prince’s pledge to eliminate Brotherhood, Zawahri defends them

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Al-Qaeda’s current leader Ayman al-Zawahiri has appeared in a new recording in which he defends the banned Muslim Brotherhood.

The recording broadcasted by al-Sahab, the media arm of the extremist group and posted on social media, showed Zawahiri defending the group which has been classified as a terrorist organization by four countries that include Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt.

His statement has been taken by observers as an important indication of the deep relations and continuous connection between the Muslim Brotherhood and al-Qaeda over the years.

Zawahiri began his video with a part of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s 60 Minutes on CBS, in which the Saudi royal promised to eliminate what “remained of the Muslim Brotherhood’s ideologies that invaded Saudi schools”.

Ayman al-Zawahri, left, holds a press conference with Osama bin Laden in Khost, Afghanistan. (File photo: AP)
Ayman al-Zawahri, left, holds a press conference with Osama bin Laden in Khost, Afghanistan. (File photo: AP)

The fact that Zawahiri defended the Muslim Brotherhood comes as no surprise. He had long described himself as a student for Sayyid Qutb, long considered the spiritual and intellectual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood. As he asserted in his book “Knights under the Prophet’s Banner” that the ideas of Qutb and his call represent the beginning of the current “Jihadist Movement", of which the Egyptian Jihadi Movement was born from and which Zawahri first joined before later helping build the world’s largest extremist group through al-Qaeda.

As Zawhiri mentioned in his book: “Sayyid Qutb, may God have mercy on him and his group had a huge impact in two fields: The first is the ideological field. Sayyid Qutb emphasized the importance Monotheism in Islam and that the battle between Islam and its enemies is originally a doctrinal battle over monotheism, or about who is the ruler and had the authority. Is it for God and his law or for the life and the material principles or for those who pretend to be mediators between God and people? This assertion had clearly shown the Islamic movement who are its enemies and specifying them. The Islamic movement became aware that the internal enemy is as same dangerous as the external one, but rather it used by the external enemy as a cover to launch war against Islam.”

Zawahri continued to count Qutb’ favor for what he called the Islamic revolution: “The second is the scientific field where the group around Sayyid Qutb decided to fight the existing regime as it was hostile to Islam and not following God’ path, rejects to judge by Sharia….This means that the Islamic movement started it war against the regime considering it defying Islam after its previous principles– which some of them still believes in- asserted that the enemy of Islam is the external enemy only. Mr. Sayid Qutb and his group had the privilege to take precedence in these two fields.”

سيد قطب
سيد قطب

The al-Qaeda leader added: “Sayyid Qutb’s call to sincere Monotheism, full acceptance of God’s law and the sovereignty of the God’s approach were a spark to start igniting the Islamic Revolution against the enemies of Islam inside and abroad ...

This is how Mr. Qutb had a great role in guiding Muslim youth in the 2nd half of the 20th in Egypt particularly and in the Arab region in general. The Nasserism regime thought that the Islamic movement had received a fatal strike by killing Sayyid Qutb and his companions... But the apparent quietness on the surface hid an interaction with Sayyid Qutb’s ideas, his call and the beginning of the formation of the current jihadist movement in Egypt and thus formed the nucleus of the militias to which Zawhiri belong, the jihadi group.”

The documents seized from al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, which were released by CIA, revealed the relationship that between the terrorist militia and the Muslim Brotherhood terrorist group.

One of the documents revealed a special acknowledgment by bin Laden that he was committed and influenced by the Muslim Brotherhood, since it was established by Hassan al-Banna in Egypt.

According to one of his notes, bin Laden said: “I was committed to the Muslim Brotherhood, despite their limited methodologies.”

Zawahiri had previously mentioned in details in one of al-Sahab’s videos of bin Laden’s relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood saying: “He was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood and he was assigned to a specific mission in Pakistan, when the Soviet invasion took place, which is to deliver support to the Islamic group there. The instructions of the Muslim brotherhood to him was not enter Afghanistan, but Osama disobeyed the orders.”

On the other hand, Qatar-based Yusuf al-Qaradawi, president of the International Union of Muslim Scholars and the most important cleric of the Muslim Brotherhood around the world (he was on the international list of terrorists), said in an interview on October 2013, that “Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi” the ISIS leader was one of the Muslim Brotherhood at his young age, but he aspired to leadership. Qaradawi said that “ISIS leaders lured him after being released from prison,” adding that “young people from Qatar and other countries joined this group, under the pretext of claiming jihad for God’s sake, fighting the infidels and that Paradise is their fate, but now they consider Muslims as disbelievers, kill the Christians who does not deserve to be killed and slaughter innocent people.”

The ties between the Takfiri and extremist militias such as al-Qaeda, ISIS supporters, Ansar Bait al-Maqdis and Boko Haram, and the mother group in the Muslim Brotherhood. It even went beyond the ideological match, to providing support and backup. Of which Boko Haram which was established by Mohammed Yousuf, the former member of the Muslim Brotherhood of Nigeria and the Nigerian Islamic Movement, along with the Somali Youth Group, the military arm of the Courts Union and its Secretary-General Ahmed Abdi Godane, founder of the youth organization, which started with the Somali brotherhood.

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