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February 26, 2018 | Author: Anonymous | Category: Social Science, Political Science, Government
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Egypt Arrests Al-Qa'ida Infiltrators Seeking To Revive Activities There

GMP20110710148001 Kuwait Al-Jaridah Online in Arabic 07 Jul 11

[Report by Imad Fawwaz: "Investigations Revealed That the Al-Qa'ida Organization Seeks To Revive Its Activities in the Region Via Egypt"]

Hamid Abdallah, head of the Egyptian National Security Sector, told Al-Jaridah that the Egyptian security agencies managed to arrest 445 members affiliated with Islamic groups, who had fled the country. These infiltrators have been trying to sneak across the Sudanese, Libyan, and Palestinian borders with Egypt since the 25 January revolution up till the past few days.

Abdallah said that "the arrested elements are currently subjected to intensive interrogations on their activities during the period of their escape outside Egypt since the early and mid-1990s." He pointed out that "these investigations are carried out with the help of security parties that are concerned with hard-line Islamic organizations and with ways of confronting them in the framework of counterterrorism."

The security official noted: "The investigations revealed critical information about the efforts of Al-Qa'ida and other jihadist organizations to revive their activities in Egypt after the revolution. These organizations seek to take Egypt as a base from which they can spread out in the region." He added that the Egyptian Security Forces confronted them and that the international security authorities are trying to find the meeting centers of the leaders of these groups.

Abdallah said: "The Egyptian security sector is awaiting the arrival of certain persons within days, especially the Islamic groups' members who fled from Iran after the official announcement of their expulsion, for their return to Egypt has become inevitable. They can go nowhere else." He added: "We are waiting for them to bring them to trial for escaping the cases in which verdicts were recorded against them, and to interrogate them on their activities abroad."

Dr Tariq al-Zumur, key leader of "the Islamic Group" in Egypt, announced a few days ago that Iran decided to expel 25 key figures of the group existing there, particularly Muhammad Shawqi al-Islambulli, brother of Khalid al-Islambulli, assassin of the late Egyptian President Anwar al-Sadat.

Al-Zumur added that Tehran had asked the group, which includes members against whom the Egyptian courts issued penalties up to the death penalty and life imprisonment, to leave its territory. This makes it imperative for them to return to Egypt, for if they returned to Pakistan, they would be at the hands of the CIA and the international intelligence which are looking for them. He asserted that the reasons behind their expulsion are not known -- though it might be attributed to the qualitative improvement of the Egyptian-Iranian relations after the 25 January revolution which toppled the regime of the former President Husni Mubarak.

[Description of Source: Kuwait Al-Jaridah Online in Arabic -- Website of independent, liberal newspaper focusing on regional affairs; URL: http://www.aljarida.com/aljarida/]

Al-Hayah Report Says Iran Expelled Egyptian Islamists To Improve Ties With Egypt

GMP20110705825001 London Al-Hayah Online in Arabic 05 Jul 11

[Report by Ahmad Rahim in Cairo: •Iran Expelled Wanted Persons in Preparation for Developing Relations With Egypt•]

Al-Hayah has learned that the Iranian authorities expelled a number of Egyptian Islamists who are wanted for security reasons by Cairo, headed by Muhammad Shawqi al-Islambuli, an in-law of late Al-Qa'ida leader Usama Bin Ladin and brother of killer of former President Anwar Sadat; Husayn Shumayt, a leading figure in the military wing of the Islamic Group; and more than 20 others who are affiliated with the Group and the Jihad Organization.

Dr Najih Ibrahim, a leading figure in the Islamic Group, told Al-Hayah that Al-Islambuli, Shumayt, and others, including suspects in the case of the assassination attempt against President Husni Mubarak "have actually left Iran for an unknown destination after the authorities in Tehran informed them of the need for their departure." He added that

"Iran is preparing to turn a new page in the relations with Egypt and wants to remove the mines in the road of developing these relations." Egypt had refused to develop relations with Iran (the two countries have two interest sections headed by two diplomats at the level of ambassador). It hinged reaching an agreement on "regional and security issues" headed by the regional role and extraditing wanted persons without ignoring "the symbolic issues," including naming one of Tehran streets after the killer of Sadat. The expectations of the resumption of full relations with Iran have increased after the 25 January revolution in light of the exchange of friendly statements by the two sides.

Al-Islambuli was sentenced to death in Egypt in the case of the returnees from Afghanistan, and Shumayt is also sentenced to death in the case of the assassination attempt against Mubarak in Addis Ababa in 1995.

Ibrahim said that Iran was keeping those expelled under house arrest, adding that "those expelled from Iran do not have many choices since they cannot return to Afghanistan, which they left after the US invasion, and headed for Iran, which gave them refuge all these years and banned them from carrying out hostile actions particularly since they include Al-Qa'ida members."

Ibrahim expected that those expelled have left Iran about 10 days ago for Pakistan, but he said that Muhammad al-Islambuli called his mother in Cairo who advised him not to leave for Pakistan for fear that he may be killed there.

[Description of Source: London Al-Hayah Online in Arabic -- Website of influential Saudi-owned London pan-Arab daily. URL: http://www.daralhayat.com]

Egyptian Islamic Group Leader on Jihadist Activities in Egypt,Yemen, Afghanistan

GMP20110612101001 Kuwait Al-Ra'y Online in Arabic 12 Jun 11

[Corrected version: Adding Iran to topic countries; Interview with Ali al-Sharif, Egyptian Islamic Group leader in Yemen, by Ahmad Imbabi in Cairo on 12 June]

[Imbabi] How did you come to join the Islamic Group and what was your relationship with them?

[Al-Sharif] I joined the Islamic Group in Asyut since its inception and I committed to its ranks since it was established as a religious group at universities at the end of the 1970s. I gradually evolved in the group until it transformed into a movement with a vision and a methodology different than that of the Muslim Brotherhood, which was the only religious group on the scene at the time.

[Imbabi] Does that mean that you had a hand in the assassination attempt on late President Anwar al-Sadat?

[Al-Sharif] I was convicted in the big Jihad case, number 462 for the year 1981, top national security. I was released three years later in 1984. Afterword, I finished my studies at the Al-Azhar University in Asyut and I became an amir in the group at the university. After graduating from the university in 1986 and when the security services refused to appoint me in a government position because of my security record, I decided to travel outside Egypt. That was in 1990; I traveled to Saudi Arabia to perform the Umrah after filing a lawsuit against Major General Zaki Badr, the then Egyptian interior minister, for preventing me from traveling to Yemen. From Saudi Arabia I traveled to Nigeria for a month or more as an Imam for the Islamic World League. During my trip to Nigeria, I was arrested at Cairo Airport and Dr Abdallah Nasif, the secretary general of the Muslim World League interceded and contacted the then Al-Azhar Shaykh Dr Jadal-Haq and the Mufti saying: How can the delegate of the Muslim World League be arrested?

[Imbabi] What role have you played for the organization of the group from Saudi Arabia?

[Al-Sharif] I stayed in Saudi Arabia for two years. Before my trip to Nigeria I tried to establish a nucleus for the Islamic Group in Saudi Arabia from elements and members of the group who were able to travel there and to a few other countries, such as Muhammad Khalil alHakayimah who joined Al-Qa'ida few years back and was killed in Pakistan. After going back I came across leading figure Usamah Rushdi; he came from Cairo and helped organize the establishment of the group in Saudi Arabia until he had a disagreement with leading

figure Tal'at Fu'ad and left Saudi Arabia. to run the group was placed on me again.

Hence the responsibility

[Imbabi] Have the members of the group and the organization in Saudi Arabia enjoyed any freedom while you were there?

[Al-Sharif] There were many events. The Saudi security services were requested to arrest me because Shaykh Umar Abd-al-Rahman, the group's spiritual leader who is now arrested in the United States, was in Saudi Arabia. He lived with me in my apartment and the Saudi security was watching the moves of Shaykh Umar because he had issued a Fatwa deeming Saudi rulers infidel for bringing US troops to invade Iraq. The Saudi security raided our apartment where there were the three of us; myself, the Mufti of the group Abd-al-Akhar Hamad, and Tal'at Fu'ad. I put the Saudi security under the illusion that there is a large group of Islamic Group members in the Grand Mosque in Mecca. I told them: do you want to arrest three people or wait till after dinner for 20 more others to arrive? They said they will wait. It was a ruse through which the three of us managed to take our papers and escape. It is worth noting that the security were saying that they wanted to arrest two people, the first being Ali al-Sharif and the second being Al-Asmar while both suspects are the same person because Al-Asmar was my alias. During this period I decided to leave Saudi Arabia and head to Yemen in 1992.

[Imbabi] How is the presence of the Islamic Group in Saudi Arabia at the time?

[Al-Sharif] The idea of setting up a camp for the Islamic Group in Afghanistan started at the time, for there were some members in Saudi Arabia. Some of those members were studying in Asyut University and went to Saudi Arabia for Umrah. Shaykh Abdallah Azzam was their point of contact, so they decided to go to jihad in Afghanistan. Meanwhile, some members from the group came to Saudi Arabia, such as Samih Ghamri and a man named Adli from Asyut, and they suggested setting up a camp for the Islamic Group in Afghanistan. I objected and told the brethrens, such as Shawqi al-Islambuli and Usamah Rushdi, that this is a grave mistake.

[Imbabi]

What was your objection based on?

[Al-Sharif] I viewed that this would cast a heavy burden that the group cannot bear and it would result in security persecution everywhere. There was no reason for setting the camp, for we were not planning to engage in clashes in Egypt. I told them that the members would do better to participate in the camps of jihadists, whether Hekmatyar or others, and not to stand out so that the Egyptian

security forces would not discover the camp, which would affect the group and its presence in Egypt in a negative way.

[Imbabi]

What was the reaction of the group's members at the time?

[Al-Sharif] They said that they want to train on heavy weapons. However, I told them that we cannot use anything stronger than the Kalashnikov in Egypt and therefore, there is no need for the camp. They insisted, so I told them that Karam Zahdi, aided by Nabil alMaghribi and Abbud al-Zamar, was the commander of the Islamic Group's military wing in 1981, but the wing did not succeed as hoped for anyway. I also told them that the commanders of the Afghanistan wing should not be of lower ranks than these commanders.

[Imbabi] Who was responsible for training the group's camp in Afghanistan?

[Al-Sharif] They entrusted a man named Adli with the military training and he was famous for his military experience. However, he could not fill the place left by Karam Zahdi or Nabil al-Maghribi. I told Muhammad Shawqi al-Islambuli that if we want to set up a camp, the commander should not be less powerful than Shaykh Karam Zahdi, so he answered in an impolite manner. I decided then not to go to Afghanistan. This is what happened in Saudi Arabia in 1991.

[Imbabi]

Why did you prefer to come to Yemen?

[Al-Sharif] Although I helped many individuals to travel to Afghanistan or to come back, I never visited that country for the reasons that I previously mentioned. I gave an example that we are like two individuals inside an apartment and informers are waiting to catch them. The two played a cassette of slogans, so the informer reported that there is a group inside the apartment and security forces came to storm it. I meant that what they would do in the camp would have strong repercussions with the security forces and they will respond to the group fiercely under the wrong impression. In fact, nothing happened in Egypt, although they trained there and billions of dollars were spent to support them. However, they were not lucky in carrying out any action in Egypt.

[Imbabi] What is the estimated number of the group's members that participated in the camp and what were the sources of the funding?

[Al-Sharif] Dozens were going to Afghanistan. As for the funding, the jihad in Afghanistan was at the time supported from everyone, including the Egyptian and Saudi regimes and some Gulf countries, in addition to the US support with arms and money. Usama Bin Ladin played a big role in that sense and there were many facilities. We would travel for example to Saudi Arabia with our passports only and without visas, and sometimes we would even travel without passports. Therefore, all efforts were exerted to support this jihad in order to cause the Soviet Union's fall.

[Imbabi] What is the truth of the United States' having armed and supported Bin Ladin?

[Al-Sharif] These are slanderous and false claims, for he did not need anyone. He had 30 billion Saudi riyals. Moreover, a great number of prominent traders and businessmen in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf trusted him and his faith, so they would give him donations and zakat money [alms]. Therefore, talks about his relation with the United States are mere lies.

[Imbabi] Why did the Islamic Group's members who trained in Afghanistan fail to carry out operations in Cairo?

[Al-Sharif] Whoever would go to Egypt was detained, like the "Returnees From Afghanistan" group in 1993, of whom a member called Hani al-Shadhili was deceived [into detention]. People who had nothing to do with the issue were dragged into the issue, like Uthman al-Samman who was with me in Yemen at the time. Al-Shadhili asked the responsible for the military wing outside Egypt to say that Al-Samman asked them to carry out the operation. He wanted to hide the name of the true person who did this and was sentenced to death for this reason, but the sentence has not yet been carried out.

[Imbabi] How was the situation of the Islamic Group in Saudi Arabia after you moved to Yemen?

[Al-Sharif] After I moved to Yemen, we formed a nucleus for a special wing in the Islamic Group that includes a number of Egyptian teachers working there. I decided not to interfere in the business of anyone who wants to go to Afghanistan or come back. The group appointed a person in charge of this issue, while I was in charge of supervising the group in general. A third person was appointed as a military commander and a fourth as a jihadist missionary, upon orders from the group's leaders imprisoned in Egypt.

[Imbabi] Were there any connections between the [Islamic] Group and the leaders of the Group's Shura Council who were in prison at the time?

[Al-Sharif] Yes. No event would take place in the [Islamic] Group whether in Egypt or abroad without the approval of the imprisoned officials of the Group, who were aware of everything. Moreover, the leaders of the Group everywhere were jointly connected. Nothing would happen outside the spectrum and without the directions of the Group's officials. It is untrue that some members have carried out attacks without referring to their leaders, because no one would dare to do anything without referring to the officials of the Group.

[Imbabi] How was the activity of the Group in Yemen? Have you participated in planning for the military operations that the Group has carried out?

[Al-Sharif] A group of instructors used to manage the movements and the calls of the Group by recording tapes and by printing statements and publications. We have received a significant response from the Yemenis based on what they have heard of the group; they also considered killing Al-Sadat an outstanding step, for Yemen was among the teams of the steadfastness and confrontation in the Camp David Accord, therefore they were sympathetic.

[Imbabi]

Have you planned for any operation from Yemen?

[Al-Sharif] Yemen was not a location for operations, which have always come from Afghanistan. However, this has not stopped us from helping and participating. There was an inclusive committee in Yemen that would undertake the preparations of the documents necessary for travel. Furthermore, each one who has come from Afghanistan has passed through Yemen.

[Imbabi] Does this mean that you have been aware of all the operations that the Group has planned for?

[Al-Sharif] Not necessarily; for the sake of maintaining confidentiality, there have been lots of operations that we have not known anything about. For instance, the assassination attempt against former President Husni Mubarak in Addis Ababa.

[Imbabi]

What was the role of the [Islamic] Group in this attempt?

[Al-Sharif] The military official has provided the perpetrators of the attack with Yemeni passports without my knowledge, even though I should have been alerted by virtue of my responsibility in Yemen. Muhammad Shawqi al-Islambuli was not informed about that either, even though he was a member of the Shura Council.

[Imbabi] Who was behind the Addis Ababa operation?

[Al-Sharif] Sharif Abd-al-Rahman carried out that operation, during which he passed away. Some members of the Group, whose names I do not remember, took part in the operation as well. Almost three of the perpetrators were sentenced to death, but the verdict was not implemented.

[Imbabi] Why did the Islamic Group decide to assassinate Mubarak?

[Al-Sharif] Because of the repression that he has been exercising against Muslims, and the killings that his regime has been perpetrating in public. We have been demanding the formation of a committee to investigate the events from 1990 until the announcement of the initiative to stop violence in 1997. This committee would launch transparent investigations regardless of the findings, because there were people missing and others killed in the streets and the apartments without trials or investigations.

The most dangerous thing is that Mubarak's regime has used women in a way that violates the simplest human rights so as to exert pressure on the members of the [Islamic] Group. He would take women as hostages in public and his regime would break into the houses and apartments to take women in their night gowns and torture them. Members of the Group have witnessed that; attorney Ibrahim Allam, who is currently in Germany, to name one. He was one of the convicts in the case of assassination of late Speaker of the Parliament Rif'at al-Mahjub and the case of the women in Upper Egypt, which is a case of honor that could not be waived or negotiated with anyone whosoever. We considered that this was a horrible crime which must be retaliated for and for the sake of which we were ready to sacrifice the precious and dear.

[Imbabi] Do you mean that you have been informed about the assassination attempt against Mubarak?

[Al-Sharif] I did not know about Addis Ababa's operation. However, there was a file in the Group and everyone would work for achieving

the goal; that is, killing Husni Mubarak. All the organizations of the Group would cooperate for the sake of this goal.

[Imbabi] Were there any scenarios to assassinate Mubarak other than Addis Ababa's?

[Al-Sharif] Husni Mubarak survived more than 12 assassination attempts, the latest was that in Addis Ababa. Afterward, the Group declared the initiative to stop violence.

[Imbabi] failed?

Where have these operations taken place and why have they

[Al-Sharif] All the operations were planned in Egypt and failed just like the attack of Sidi Barrani. The reason behind it is that Mubarak did not give us much room for understanding even though we were released from prison in 1984. After our release, we sought da'wah [the call for embracing Islam] and not violence. The murder of Sadat was a response for arresting all these people; and we thought that he would torture them just like Jamal Abd-al-Nasir had tortured the Brotherhood. We decided not to let this happen and not to let Abd-alNasir's era be repeated. There is a saying in Upper Egyptian that goes: "Kill him before he kills you; get your blow in first." This was our way of thinking. In retrospect, if we had to take a decision, we would not have made that step. If we were in the same circumstances again, we would not have agreed on killing Al-Sadat especially after the resulting repercussions, when Husni Mubarak, one of Al-Sadat's sins, took office. Now we long for Al-Sadat's era after what we have had to endure because of Husni Mubarak.

[Imbabi] You claimed that you were not aware of the incident of Addis Ababa although you knew that Mubarak was a target for the group. How did that happen?

[Al-Sharif] I heard about the incident for the first time when the newspapers mentioned that a group of Yemenis tried to assassinate Mubarak. I went to the houses of those who were mentioned, by the virtue of our relation, and found that the Yemeni Police was surrounding their houses. I went back to the military wing to discover that the police took the Yemeni passports of these young men to Addis Ababa.

[Imbabi] Why was the operation concealed from you and from Muhammad al-Islambuli?

[Al-Sharif] The operation was concealed out of secrecy and to prevent any leakage of information. We learnt the lesson when Al-Sadat was assassinated and hundreds knew about the operation beforehand, especially the Islamic Group members.

[Imbabi] Many Islamists in Sudan, such as Hasan al-Turabi and other parties, were accused of the incident of Addis Ababa. What is the truth behind that story?

[Al-Sharif] The true story was not told completely. There was tension between the Egyptian and the Sudanese regimes back then. Both, the regime in Khartoum and the Islamic group, had interest in getting rid of Husni Mubarak at that time, thus the two met on one goal. Nevertheless, I do not know what happened exactly between the two parties.

[Imbabi] Why did they choose the Ethiopian capital as a place to carry out the operation?

[Al-Sharif] It was chosen because it did not have a good security system like Egypt. This was common at that time in all African countries. The fact that I went to Nigeria and went out of the airport without even getting my passport stamped is evidence to what I am saying.

[Imbabi] You said that the non-violence initiative came after the incident in Addis Ababa... Did the group take this initiative as a result of the failure in assassinating Mubarak?

[Al-Sharif] The initiative was not a reaction to the incident of Addis Ababa. It was based on the conviction of the Islamic Group officials because they realized that violence and action and reaction theory against the regime lead to a dead end. Moreover, after the incident of Addis Ababa, the group's military operations became weak, achieving targets became hard, and the number of women who were imprisoned and violated increased. All these factors pressured the imprisoned leadership of the group. It is worth mentioning that there were previous initiatives, which were foiled by individuals affiliated to the regime, such as the dialogue of the group's leadership with Shaykh Al-Sha'rawi and Shaykh Al-Ghazali. Some people wanted us to stay in a bloody clash with the political and security leaderships.

[Imbabi] Does it mean that the failure of the assassination attempt demoralized the group and forced it to announce a non-violence initiative?

[Al-Sharif] The initiative was based on a true conviction. The group started as a peaceful preaching group and there were no intentions to carry arms. We even used to disagree with Al-Jihad group, which used to have an armed and secretive work frame. The conditions forced us to carry arms, thus the members of the group wanted to go back to their original beliefs -- preaching and rejecting violence-- on which they were raised.

[Imbabi]

Why then it came at that time?

[Al-Sharif] The initiative was based on a true conviction, in addition to the weakness that afflicted the group at that time, the pressure, and the oppression against prisoners. The evidence that declaring this initiative came without asking for anything in return is the fact that I was in Yemen when the first statement of the initiative was issued. The declaration came from one side and assured that the group is unarmed and open. It is a preaching group that has its mosques. All the members of the Islamic Group abide by the initiative and agree on continuing this path even after the fall of Mubarak's regime.

[Imbabi] You said that the group was forced to take the path of violence. How did that happen?

[Al-Sharif] The regime used to adopt the policy of oppression when dealing with Islamists in order to eliminate them. This fact is recorded and can be found in the press conferences of the former Minister of Interior, Zaki Badr, who said that he wants to eliminate such groups by using the policy of "lethal strikes." We decided to defend ourselves because if we did not, the entire group would have been exterminated.

[Imbabi] Did the failure in assassinating Mubarak and the declaration of this initiative affect the activities of the Islamic Group in Yemen?

[Al-Sharif] After the declaration of the initiative, we, as the Yemeni group, accepted it although some members in the Shura Council outside Yemen lead by Rifa'i Taha and Abd-al-Akhir Hammad, declared their rejection. Nevertheless, we issued a statement announcing that we welcome that step.

[Imbabi] You were deported from Cairo in 2004 with the preacher of the Jihad Group, Dr Sayid Imam. What is the relation between the Islamic Group and the jihad in Yemen?

[Al-Sharif] Dr Sayid Imam, or Dr Fadl, returned to Yemen in 1997 after a disagreement with the Al-Qa'ida for summarizing his book "Talab al-Ilm al-Sharif" without asking for his permission. We did not have any personal relation between us but he treated Abd-al-Akhar Hammad after an attempt on his life in Pakistan in 1995.

[Imbabi]

Why was there a gap between you and Dr Fadl?

[Al-Sharif] Because he was very extreme in his book; to the extent that he used to harshly criticize the Islamic Group. He argued against the thoughts of the Islamic Group in his book "Talab al-Ilm al-Sharif."

[Imbabi] How do you then evaluate the revisions of the Islamic Jihad Group which he announced in the document of rationalization of Jihadist act?

[Al-Sharif] He was with me in prison in Yemen, and the revisions he announced from Egypt in 2007 were not the result of coercion as said by Al-Qa'ida ideologue Ayman al-Zawahiri. Rather, they reflected his intellectual conviction. I spent three years with him in the political prison in Yemen after September 11. He told me then that the Al-Qa'ida Organization, by carrying out this attack, has committed a mass suicide. What he said to me exactly was: "The United States got engaged in World War II because Japan attacked a US port in an overt act of hostility. As a result, the United States hit Japan with a nuclear bomb." He further said that the Al-Qa'ida did not have a political consideration while planning the September 11 attack, or else, the organization would have taken into consideration what happened in Japan. When two towers are destroyed, there must be a reaction, and this is what happened. He believed that the attack entailed a violation of the Islamic law in the sense that it led to the killing of innocent civilians who did nothing wrong. He also believed that the attack was a political and organizational mistake. He believed then that there is a need to rationalize the jihadist act on a global level. Hence was his idea to write the revisions document which was declared from Egypt.

[Imbabi]

But did you have any hand in this?

[Al-Sharif] I told him then that he is responsible for the killing of women and children that takes place in Algeria inspired by his book "Al-Umda fe I'dad al-Udah." He said it was not his intention that the Algerians should commit these acts. He renounced these acts, which confirms that his revisions were a result of a genuine conviction and not a result of pressure or coercion of any type. And I confirm that.

[Imbabi]

How were you and Dr Fadl extradited from Yemen to Cairo?

[Al-Sharif] It was in return for allowing Yemeni President Ali Abdallah Salih to promote the idea of transforming the Arab League into the Arab Union. This was before September 11. Salih used to say that there were security tensions between Yemen and Egypt and that he wanted to resolve that file.

The poof of this is when I was arrested, the political security department suggested that I and Uthman al-Samman be deported to Somalia and then to Sudan, but we refused. They did not want to extradite us to Egypt because some leaders of the Yemeni Socialist Party, such as Abu-Bakr al-Attas, were living in Egypt. These leaders were sentenced to death for attempting to separate and destroy Yemen. At the time, Egypt refused to extradite them and consequently Yemen refused to extradite us. But, when Yemen and the Egyptian regime reached a deal with regard to the issue of the Arab Union, we were deported from Yemen despite their earlier rejection of our demands to return to Egypt to the extent that we staged many hunger strikes asking to return to Cairo.

[Imbabi] Yemen was considered a fertile ground for Al-Qa'ida Organization. How was your relation with the organization's leaders Usama Bin Ladin and Ayman al-Zawahiri?

[Al-Sharif] It was a relationship between two groups which coordinate with each other, especially with our elements in Afghanistan, to the extent that at one time, there was an idea to merge the Islamic Group and Islamic Jihad into one group. But this did not happen because leaders of both groups held conflicting perceptions and orientations

[Imbabi] What is the role of Iran in the Afghan jihad and in supporting the Arab jihadists?

[Al-Sharif] Iran was supporting the Shiite side in Afghanistan during the Afghan jihad, and there were special relations between the Islamic Group and Iran.

[Imbabi] now?

How strong were these relations, and do they still exist

[Al-Sharif] The relations covered all materialistic and logistic aspects. The relations between us were special. However, after the initiative and the September 11, the situation changed completely.

[Imbabi] How do you explain the detention of the Group's leaders such as Shawqi al-Islambuli and Tharwat Salah Shihatah in Iran till now?

[Al-Sharif]

[Imbabi]

Iran is supporting what is happening in Afghanistan.

Is it a kind of bargaining with the Egyptian regime?

[Al-Sharif] There is no bargaining. More than that, they are held in jails under the pretext that they have entered Iran without informing the Iranian authorities or coordinating with them. Anyway, the mutual interest between us and Iran does not exist anymore, so there is the possibility that they might be used as leverage.

[Imbabi] With regard to the story of Usama Bin Ladin's killing, there was skepticism expressed by some Islamists with regard to the US's Adminstration account of the incident?

[Al-Sharif] Usama Bin Ladin was killed. Al-Qa'ida and Taliban confirmed that and all evidence corroborate this. He was taken alive before he was killed. Throwing his body into the sea is a sign of fear and cowardice.

[Imbabi] death?

How do you see the future of the organization after his

[Al-Sharif] Al-Qa'ida emotionally and spiritually is linked to Usama Bin Ladin, which means that the organization is now closer to be dissolved.

[Imbabi] Cannot Ayman al-Zawahiri or any other leader run the affairs of the Organization?

[Al-Sharif] Ayman al-Zawahiri is not cherished by the Yemenis, Saudis, or members from the Gulf countries. In their perception, the Egyptian Jihad Group tends to be strict in the issue of Takfir [holding other Muslims infidels]. Therefore, they will not welcome the

leadership of Ayman Al-Zawahiri or anyone else. Also, there is a state of mistrust in the existing leadership that prevents them from supporting him or others.

[Imbabi]

What was your relationship with Usama Bin Ladin?

[Al-Sharif] He was a man of morals and I met him many times and I sat with him in Saudi Arabia. The Al-Qa'ida Organization became extremist and embraced violence when Egyptian jihadists joined it. There was a time when some Saudi scholars wanted to join Al-Qa'ida but they backed out after those Egyptian jihadists joined it. That was told to me by the leader of Al-Qa'ida in Yemen.

[Imbabi]

And who are the most prominent among those scholars?

[Al-Sharif]

I remember Nasir al-Umar and Sa'd al-Awdah.

[Description of Source: Kuwait Al-Ra'y Online in Arabic -- Website of independent, liberal, pro-government daily; URL: http://www.alraimedia.com]

Former leading figure in Egypt's Jama'ah Islamiyah denies return to violence

GMP20110628950018 Cairo Al-Yawm TV in Arabic 2030 GMT 28 Jun 11

Part of Cairo Today on 27 June 2011 was dedicated to an interview former leading figure of Jama'ah Islamiyah in Egypt Usamah Rushdi who returned to Egypt after having spent 23 years in London.

Rushdi formed the "Front to Save Egypt" in London which, according to the programme, was closely watched by security bodies before the revolution.

Prior to the interview, the programme broadcast a report on the Jama'ah Islamiyah and its history from its formation in the early seventies in Egyptian universities, its assassination of former Egyptian President Anwar Al-Sadat and later repentance and rejection of violence when the leading figures were in prison.

The programme started with a debate with Rushdi about how far the members may go in order to impose what they believe is the true interpretation of Islam.

The presented Amr Adib asked Rushdi if the Jama'ah intends to return to its previous state of controlling mosques, universities and rejecting the opinions of any religious scholars from outside the Jam'ah.

Rushdi denied this was the intention noting that this was mainly caused by an oppressive regime "which left no other way for people who want to create change".

Rushdi seemed to be accepting of other political currents on the Egyptian scene.

"The Islamic current is an existing current in Egypt. We have practiced political exclusion for sixty years and it did not work. Egyptian political parties have to learn co-habitation," he said.

Rushdi stressed that advocacy of any religious group has to be separated from its political activity and practice.

Rushdi concluded by stressing he had not yet decided to return permanently to Egypt but if he does he will join an existing political party

[Description of Source: Cairo Al-Yawm TV in Arabic --Private satellite channel]

Egypt: Former Islamic Group's Usamah Rushdi on Islamists Political Future

GMP20110628825005 London Al-Sharq al-Awsat Online in Arabic 28 Jun 11

[Interview with Egyptian Islamist Usamah Rushdi, by Abd-al-Sattar Hutaytah, place not given: "Founder of the Front for the Salvation of Egypt to Al-Sharq Al-Awsat: A Woman or a Copt Has the Right to Occupy the Post of President, and the People Are Capable of Making the Right Decision"]

After a long journey of diaspora across the world that continued for some quarter of a century, Shaykh Usamah Rushdi, the former leading member of the Islamic Group [IG] who has been known for his opposition to the regime of former President Husni Mubarak since the beginning of the eighties as a spokesman of the IG, has returned to Egypt. He has come back to undertake a tour of the Egyptian governorates after the 25 January revolution that toppled Mubarak. During that long period, he had undertaken several activities, the most prominent of which was his founding of the opposition Front for the Salvation of Egypt in London in 2005.

Shaykh Usamah Rushdi has spent the years of the beginning of the eighties in prison where he was with Ayman al-Zawahiri, who later on became the successor of Usama Bin Ladin in leading Al-Qa'ida Organization. In an interview with Al-Sharq al-Awsat Rushdi predicts that Al-Zawahiri will fail in leading the organization. Rushdi says that his knowledge of Al-Zawahiri makes him say that Al-Zawahiri is not a man for leadership, and he expects him not to succeed, the same as he did not succeed before in leading the Jihad Organization. Rushdi denies that he had ever traveled to Iran, or known any of the leading members of Al-Qa'ida who might have taken asylum in Iran.

With regard to the IG practicing political action in Egypt after the fall of Mubarak's regime, Rushdi says that this new experiment is a healthy sign, and it requires the rest of the new groups to develop their media political address, absorb many of the variables, and not to be hasty in entering this field. Rushdi expresses his belief that any political tendency in Egypt cannot on its own accomplish the program of change. He also denounces the current debate among some Islamists about the candidacy of women and Copts to the post of president of the republic.

At this stage, Rushdi does not consider himself to be affiliated to any specific political tendency in Egypt. Rushdi says that he has preserved his position as independent, and developed his relations during the past years with Egyptian political and youth powers abroad and at home. Rushdi points out that Egypt currently witnesses a great deal of vitality that requires the politicians to go down to the people, and to refrain from criticizing the people or disparaging their ability to make the right choice, "because we ought to deal with the Egyptian people as they are now," and "we cannot export them and import another people, for instance, from Korea."

The following is the text of the interview:

[Hutaytah] Some people think that you have spent a period in Iran. Is this true?

[Rushdi] No, I have never visited Iran, and I do not have any relation with Iran.

[Hutaytah] It is said that some leading members of Al-Qa'ida Organization are in Iran. Do you have any information about this?

[Rushdi] I have nothing to do with this, and I can neither confirm nor deny it. I am just a man who is interested in the cause of intellect and writing; other than that I do not have any real information.

[Hutaytah] You knew Ayman al-Zawahiri. Do you think he is suitable to be a leader of Al-Qa'ida as a successor of Usama Bin Ladin?

[Rushdi] Yes, I knew Dr Al-Zawahiri. We were together in prison during the period between 1981 and 1984; however, after that we separated and disagreed when they started the issue of founding the so-called Egyptian Jihad Organization, and after that Al-Qa'ida, which has taken the course of international action since 1998 and started to fight the entire world. I had my contributions, my writings, and my viewpoints, which certainly differ from the work method and thinking of the AlQa'ida brethren.

Al-Zawahiri is not a leader, and I do not expect him to succeed, the same as he did not succeed in the past in leading Jihad Organization, which disintegrated and whose members had split, before he decided to join Al-Qa'ida in February 1998.

I believe that Dr Ayman al-Zawahiri is an intellectual, who can think or write, but he is not a leader. Therefore, I consider that the entire Al-Qa'ida has become an image now that constitutes a concept more than an organization. Perhaps this concept might find supporters here and there in a random manner, or in a way that does not have the pyramid organizational hierarchy.

I believe that the revolutions now taking place in the Arab region confirm that if these peoples want to introduce change, they are capable of introducing popular peaceful change; the actions such as explosions, assassinations, and so on only serve the tyrannical and dictatorial regimes, and give them the support they need to consecrate violence and consecrate oppression.

I believe that violence is a project that serves oppression, and does not at all serve the Arab and Muslim peoples. Therefore, I hope that all will now move toward political, peaceful, and popular action to lift the injustice, if there is any, and to fulfill their visions and aims for which they aspire. This is the way that has been proved to everyone that they can achieve their aim, and lead to fruition. This is my call on Dr Al-Zawahiri or anyone else.

[Hutaytah] Do you consider that the Islamist tendencies, such as the Muslim Brotherhood, the IG, and the Jihad, which have started to establish parties and to join the political action, are really serious about the issue of democratic alternation of power?

[Rushdi] With regard to the practice of political action by the Islamist groups, I believe that we have to distinguish between the Muslim Brotherhood and the rest of the new powers now on the arena of the Islamic political action. The Muslim Brotherhood is a big group that has its project and has its vision; therefore, it is not new, and it will compete strongly in this field. As for the rest of the Islamist groups, which now have started to establish political parties, and to join the political action, I consider that this is a beautiful development, a development that confirms that the climate of freedom and democracy, and the periods in which the people can express themselves will be able to absorb the energies of all powers, guide them, and create legitimate ways for change and fulfillment of political demands.

I believe that what we are going through now in Egypt is an important experiment that is worthy of contemplation and of learning from it. However, naturally the rest of the Islamic groups need to develop their media political address, and need some time to be able to absorb many of the variables that have passed as a result of the circumstances from which these groups have suffered during the past years. Therefore, I call on them not to be hasty in entering this field, and to take sufficient time so that their experiment in

political action will be fruitful. However, this is something that ought to be encouraged, as I said, and should be considered a healthy sign and not a negative one.

[Hutaytah] What is your opinion of the controversy that erupts every now and then among the Islamist tendencies about the women and the Copts?

[Rushdi] The presidency here does not mean grand imamate, Caliph, or any similar position. Imposing conditions about women and Copts for the post of president of the republic is in itself an inaccurate imposition. I believe that the president will be an employee at the grade of president of the republic; this post does not have absolute powers, but it will have some powers that will be under the supervision of the parliament, the society, and the political parties. Therefore, to consider that the president of the republic needs special conditions is - in my opinion - incorrect. Therefore, I consider that a woman is qualified to be a president, the Egyptian Copt is qualified, and any one that the people choose will be qualified to undertake this role.

[Hutaytah] There are other issues that arouse controversy every day about a paragraph in Article 2 of the Constitution, which stipulates, "The Principles of Islamic Shari'ah are the main source of legislation." What is your opinion of this?

[Rushdi] The battle over Article 2 of the Constitution is a losing battle. All the powers that call for the so-called civil state, or call for a constitutional state, which I consider to be the accurate description of the state we aspire for or we want, ought to avoid conflict over this article, because the Egyptian people will be provoked to a great extent when we try to encroach upon this article. This article has an interpretation, which was given by the Supreme Constitutional Court in a famous ruling in 2004; the ruling says that the article addresses the legislator and not the judge.

By the way, this article is similar to articles in the constitutions of other Arab countries; even the Iraqi Constitution, which was drafted under occupation, could not bypass stipulating that it is inadmissible to legislate laws against the Islamic Shari'ah. Therefore, we ought to understand that we reflect the Egyptian people, and we should not consider ourselves to be above the culture, religion, and belonging of this people. Therefore, we should not reduce the cause of political action to the issue of Article 2 of the Constitution; Article 2 should remain as it is, and we should try to introduce the political and constitutional guarantees that protect the rights of all Egyptians in Egypt.

[Hutaytah] You were the spokesman of the IG. When did you resign from the IG?

[Rushdi] I resigned from the IG at the end of 1998. At that time this was related to the selection of other individuals to assume this duty, and was within the framework of agreements and arrangements within the IG. After that I started to work as an independent, I established the Al-Mahrusah website in Holland, and in 2005 we established the Front for the Salvation of Egypt in London.

I left Egypt in 1989. The reason behind my departure was the impossibility of continuing under the grave violations committed by the interior minister at that time, and by the state security investigation authority; this was related to the large numbers of detentions, the torture, the threats of murder, and the extreme encroachment. All these pushed me to leave Egypt and go abroad. I spent 23 years outside Egypt. In the beginning, I went to Saudi Arabia for a number of months, then I traveled to Pakistan, Albania, and Holland, where I spent 10 years, and after that I went to Britain. It was a long journey of diaspora.

[Hutaytah] What is the reason of the decision to return to Egypt?

[Rushdi] The return has come after Egypt was liberated from the regime of the tyrant Mubarak, and after Egypt started to regain the vitality of the civil and political society. We, as the Front for the Salvation of Egypt in London, have been part of this political activity, and all along the past years we have worked for change. It was natural that I return to my country, my family, my brethren, and my friends after all these police restrictions that were imposed on us have been removed. This is particularly true as I have been awarded judicial rulings stipulating my right to return, my right to obtain Egyptian travel documents, and my right to have my name lifted from the lists of those prevented from traveling, and from surveillance of my arrival, and also lifting my name from the lists of the so-called individuals dangerous to public security, on which former Interior Minister Habib al-Adili had placed me. Therefore, I have the right to return the same as any Egyptian citizen returning to his country, and who is not subject to any court rulings.

[Hutaytah] In your opinion, what did the security organization consider to be dangerous about you?

[Rushdi] I believe that the security organizations considered that the danger was focused in that I was a political and media activist. I was the first to manage an Internet opposition website from abroad in the nineties. This activity annoyed them, and hence they plotted a number of schemes against me in Holland, and exerted pressure on the Dutch

Government to expel me; indeed I was expelled in 2003 when they considered me a persona non grata who harmed the Dutch international relations. These things represent continuous harassment by the Egyptian security organizations.

[Hutaytah] After all these years and experience, are you affiliated to any specific Islamist tendency?

[Rushdi] No, at this stage I have preserved my status as independent, and during the past years, I have developed my relations with the various Egyptian political and youth powers abroad and at home. Therefore, I still am in the stage of studying the future, and how I can participate politically; of course this happens after my return to Egypt. On the other hand, before my return to Egypt, we were in the Front for the Salvation of Egypt, and we considered ourselves to be a rostrum for the Egyptians abroad, whatever their intellectual, even religious, tendencies might be. The front was open to the various political tendencies. Our website was one of the important ones from the Egyptian opposition, and it used to publish the opinions and ideas of the various national powers. We had a rostrum for the people in Egypt to express themselves and their complaints.

I believe that no political tendency on its own could have fulfilled the change project in the past, or the project to rebuild Egypt and introduce a significant civilized transformation. Such an achievement requires the unity of all efforts, and hence it is imperative to find a ground that is wide enough for establishing some kind of accord or national coalition that will allow pushing forward the revolution in order to fulfill its aims, God willing.

[Hutaytah] Then, what will you do in Egypt?

[Rushdi] Egypt now witnesses a great deal of political vitality and political debate about the future and the democratic transformation process. I certainly am interested in this, and I conduct contacts with some political powers. I have traveled in a tour with the wellknown international consultant Mamduh Hamzah (the famous Egyptian political activist). Despite the intellectual differences between us about some political issues, I admire his experience, as he left the air-conditioned offices, and started to go to the provinces, the villages, and the streets, and to mix with people and try to promote his project.

Ultimately, I call on all to go to the street, to travel to all the corners, villages, and cities of Egypt to join the people, and to present their ideas and projects. Egypt now is approaching the parliamentary elections, and is preparing to draft a new constitution, and it also is witnessing the establishment and emergence of a large

number of political parties. God willing, there will be a promising future for Egypt in the upcoming stage. The issue is not one of personality as much as it is an issue of participation and contribution to this upcoming transformation.

[Hutaytah] But why have you not joined any of the Islamist tendencies that have started to be active and to establish parties after the fall of the Mubarak's regime?

[Rushdi] I still am observing. Now, I am not interested in joining any of the parties as much as I am interested in protecting the revolution, and in easing the acuteness of the political polarization and divisions among the main political tendencies in Egypt. I am interested in enabling us to fulfill the project of moving to the establishment of the constitutional organizations that Egypt needs. However, personally, I still am in the stage of weightlessness as a result of the long absence and separation. I am trying to find my steps in Egypt, and I am not in a hurry.

[Hutaytah] What do you think of the existing controversy in Egypt about whether it is "constitution first" or "parliamentary elections first?"

[Rushdi] I consider that "elections first" will ensure the deeprooting of the principle of "constitution first." You cannot draft a new constitution for Egypt without having electoral legitimacy of an elected founding council. You cannot draft the constitution without elections, and the elections will establish for us a founding council that is elected and selected by the Egyptian people. This is because when we say "the constitution first," who will draft the constitution? Will it be an appointed committee; who will be its members; what are their qualifications; and why them and not others? There will be many questions. On the other hand, when I say there will be an elected founding council, this will be the more worthy and more correct, and this is what is compatible with the legitimacy on the basis of which we want the new rule in Egypt to be established.

Therefore, all the apprehensions stirred up by the tendency that is afraid now of the elections are in fact exaggerated, and are incompatible with reality. This is because the reality is that the entire political map in Egypt will change. To assume that the Islamist tendency has a majority and has an advantage is wrong. More than 18 million Egyptian citizens participated in the referendum on the constitutional amendments on 19 March 2011; this is an unprecedented number that has never before participated in any elections. Thus, the electoral bloc is a virgin one that will vote freely for the first time, and no one can predict its direction.

Therefore, everybody now has to do the same as Dr Mamduh Hamzah did; we have to leave the air-conditioned offices, and to stop complaining. This is because we ought to deal with the Egyptian people as they are now. We cannot export this people to China and import another people from Korea. Those who criticize the people, or try to disparage the abilities of the people to choose correctly are committing something very dangerous, because ultimately this is against the democracy for which they used to call in the past.

[Description of Source: London Al-Sharq al-Awsat Online in Arabic -Website of influential London-based pan-Arab Saudi daily; editorial line reflects Saudi official stance. URL: http://www.asharqalawsat.com/]

Egypt: Emerging Players in Political Transition as of 3 Mar

FEA20110303015176 - OSC Feature - Egypt -- OSC Report 03 Mar 11

As of 3 March,[a] OSC has observed efforts by Muslim Brotherhood (MB) leaders to explain their political vision in light of plans to form an officially sanctioned party, while MB reformist youth have threatened to break off from the group. Meanwhile, several groups from across the political spectrum have announced their intention to form political parties. The Salafi Islamic Group (IG) is debating political engagement, while the former ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) is discussing electing new leadership. A number of unofficial political coalitions are continuing to demand that Egyptian military leaders enact additional reforms.

MB leaders[b] have publicly maintained the group's intention to participate in a competitive political landscape by establishing an officially sanctioned "Freedom and Justice" Party. MB media spokesman and coordinator for forming "Freedom and Justice," Dr Sa'ad al-Katatni, explained that while the party's vision will be based on Shari'ah (Islamic law), it will support the Constitution currently under review and would "not enforce the Islamic penal code." Al-Katatni further stated that "we do not call for a religious state,

but a civil one" encompassing many political viewpoints and asserted that the party will act independently from the MB (Al-Misri al-Yawm, 26 February).[ 1] Meanwhile, Khayrat al-Shatir, who had reportedly been named party leader, was recently released from prison (MENA Online, 2 March).[ 2]

Unlike some youth and opposition groups who have called for the dissolution of the NDP, Al-Katatni stated that he does "not mind its existence" but affirmed that the NDP "must compete with the others on a democratic basis." Regarding Al-Wasat, the reformist MB offshoot party, Katatni said that "the political arena has room for more parties even if they carry the same Islamic terms of reference" and hinted at the possibility of cooperation between the two parties (AlMisri al-Yawm, 26 February).[ 3]

Reformist[c] youth within the MB, meanwhile, are planning to protest against the group's leadership and threatening to join the MB offshoot Al-Wasat Party. According to independent daily Al-Misri al-Yawm, reformist MB youth have called for a 17 March "revolution" to push for dissolving current MB leadership structures and for internal elections under the supervision of former General Guide Muhammad Mahdi Akif (28 February).[ 4] The daily also reported that the youth are considering joining the centrist Al-Wasat Party or founding their own breakaway "Reform Party," should negotiations with Al-Wasat fail (24 February).[ 5] MB Media Spokesman Dr Essam al-Erian, however, denied the existence of an internal revolution, stating that the media is "twisting the facts" (Ikhwanonline, 3 March).[ 6]

Several other groups -- including youth, leftists, and Salafists -are either considering or are in the planning stages of forming parties, while the NDP is discussing electing new party leaders. The Salafi IG, which has traditionally eschewed politics, is reportedly debating whether to form a party. IG leader Dr Najih Ibrahim announced plans to establish a party (Al-Wafd, 24 February),[ 7] though a member of the IG's Shura Council, Asim Abd-al-Majid, later asserted that a majority of the group advocates focusing on da'wa (religious outreach) instead of political activity (Al-Ahram, 27 February).[ 8]

Current Secretary General and Secretary of Organization in the NDP Muhammad Rajab indicated that the party might elect a new chairman and other leaders during its next general conference at a yet unspecified date (Al-Yawm al-Sabi, 27 February).[ 9] Former MP Tala'at al-Sadat - nephew of former President Anwar al-Sadat and outspoken critic of Mubarak-era policies -- has reportedly expressed interest in the chairmanship (Al-Shuruq, 1 March).[ 10]

A group of youth has announced their intention to found a political party called "Youth of Liberation" under the presidency of editor in chief of the independent weekly Sawt al-Ummah, Wa'il al-Ibrashi, who was a noted critic of the Mubarak regime (Al-Misri al-Yawm, 1 March).[ 11] According to al-Ibrashi, the party will seek to "ensure that the youth revolution continues" and will adhere to the "mores of Tahrir Square." The group claims to have 2,500 members (Al-Dustur, 28 February).[ 12]

Unidentified leftist groups have reportedly committee -- headed by Ibrahim al-Isawi, an focused on economic development- - aimed at political party. Al-Isawi stated the party economic and social struggles of the masses February).[ 13]

set up a preparatory Egyptian writer who has forming a unified leftist will identify with the (MENA Online, 26

Unofficial coalitions continue to press for reforms from the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), which has met a key demand of the youth by appointing a new prime minister. In a meeting with the Coalition of the Revolution's Youth on 27 February, the SCAF announced its intention to hold a constitutional referendum in April, parliamentary elections in June, and presidential elections in August. The coalition expressed concern over the short timeframe for elections (Al-Sharq al-Awsat, 1 March)[ 14] and issued a timetable of additional reforms they are demanding (Ahram Online, 1 March).[ 15]

State-controlled Channel One television later reported that the SCAF had accepted the resignation of Prime Minister Ahmad Shafiq and replaced him with Transportation Minister Isam Sharaf (3 March).[ 16] The same channel reported that protesters in Tahrir Square reacted with "jubilation" and "expressed confidence" in Sharaf (3 March).[ 17] To view a PDF version, click here (.pdf).

[a] This report is the second in a planned weekly series on emerging Egyptian political actors. For the first report, see the 23 February OSC Report, Egypt -- Key Political Players Emerging Out of 25 Jan Revolution (GMP20110224431001 ).

[b] To view a chart of the MB leaders, see the 11 May 2010 OSC Media Aid, Egypt -- Chart of Muslim Brotherhood Guidance Bureau (GMF20100511425001 ).

[c] For discussion of internal divisions and dissent within the Muslim Brotherhood, see the 22 January 2010 OSC Analysis, Scrutiny of Muslim Brotherhood Elections Highlights Dissension (GMP20091222615004 ).

[ 1] [OSC | Newspaper Article | OSC ID: GMP20110226010001 | 26 February 2011 | | Egypt: Interview With Leading MB Member Al-Katatni on New Political Party | | (U) | (U) | Cairo Al-Misri al-Yawm in Arabic • Respected independent pro-reform daily focusing on domestic political issues; largest-circulation independent publication, especially widely read among youth.]

[ 2] [OSC | | OSC ID: GMP20110302950057 | 2 March 2011 | | Egypt: Release of Two Muslim Brotherhood Senior Leaders | | (U) | (U) | Cairo MENA Online in English -- Government news agency; URL: http://www.mena.org.eg]

[ 3] [OSC | Newspaper Article | OSC ID: GMP20110226010001 | 26 February 2011 | | Egypt: Interview With Leading MB Member Al-Katatni on New Political Party | | (U) | (U) | Cairo Al-Misri al-Yawm in Arabic • Respected independent pro-reform daily focusing on domestic political issues; largest-circulation independent publication, especially widely read among youth.]

[ 4] [Open Source (Not OSC) | Newspaper Article | 28 February 2011 | | MB Youth Set 17 March for Revolution Against the Guidance Bureau and Shura Council | | (U) | (U) | Cairo Al-Misri al-Yawm Online in Arabic - Website of respected independent pro-reform daily focusing on domestic political issues; largest-circulation independent publication, especially widely read among youth] link to Article URL: http://www.almasryalyoum.com/article2.aspx?ArticleID=289198&IssueID=2060

[ 5] [OSC | | OSC ID: GMP20110224966162 | 24 February 2011 | | AlArian: Brotherhood&'s Freedom and Justice Party to be based on Islamic Law | | (U) | (U) | Cairo Al-Masry Al-Youm Online in English -English language version of Al-Misri al-Yawm, Egypt's respected independent pro-reform daily that focuses on domestic political issues; largest-circulation independent publication, especially widely read among youth; URL: http://www.almasryalyoum.com/en]

[ 6] [OSC | | OSC ID: GMP20110303035004 | 4 March 2011 | | Egypt: MB Media Spokesman Replies to What He Calls As Press Allegations | | (U) | (U) | Cairo Ikhwanonline in Arabic -- Official website of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, providing the main source of news on the group; generally critical of the government and sympathetic to other opposition parties; URL: http://www.ikhwanonline.com]

[ 7] [OSC | | OSC ID: GMP20110224007005 | 24 February 2011 | | Report Warns Islamist Groups Attempting to Found 6 Political Parties in Egypt | | (U) | (U) | Cairo Al-Wafd in Arabic -- Opposition New

Wafd Party's daily newspaper; usually highlights statements of the party's leader and criticizes the government.]

[ 8] [Open Source (Not OSC) | | | 27 February 2011 | | Islamic Group Leadership Confirms Majority of Its Members' Rejection of Establishing a Party | | (U) | (U) | Cairo Al-Ahram in Arabic -State-controlled daily newspaper of record, reportedly Egypt's highest circulation daily; Al-Ahram controls the distribution of all other newspapers, state-run and opposition alike.] http://www.ahram.org.eg/456/2011/02/27/12/64782.aspx

[ 9] [Open Source (Not OSC) | | | 27 February 2011 | | Rajab: Chairmanship of the NDP After Mubarak Under Study | | (U) | (U) | Cairo Al-Yawm al-Sabi Online in Arabic -- Website of independent liberal weekly] http://www.youm7.com/News.asp?NewsID=359360&SecID=65&IssueID=0

[ 10] [Open Source (Not OSC) | | | 1 March 2011 | | Arabic Newspapers: Youth of the Revolution Await a Timetable for Implementing Their Demands... Divisions Within the Muslim Brotherhood | | (U) | (U) | Cairo Al-Shuruq al-Jadid in Arabic-- Independent pro-reform liberal daily, moderately critical of the government] http://www.shorouknews.com/contentdata.aspx?id=399508

[ 11] [Open Source (Not OSC) | | | 1 March 2011 | | Announcement of the Establishment of "Youth of Liberation" and Selection of Al-Ibrashi as Its President | | (U) | (U) | Cairo Al-Misri al-Yawm in Arabic Respected independent pro-reform daily focusing on domestic political issues; largest-circulation independent publication, especially widely read among youth;] Link to URL: http://www.almasryalyoum.com/article2.aspx?ArticleID=289272&IssueID=2061

[ 12] [Open Source (Not OSC) | | | 28 February 2011 | | Wa'il alIbrashi Establishes a Party Under the Name "Youth of Liberation" | | (U) | (U) | Cairo Al-Dustur Online in Arabic --Website of independent daily opposed to the regime and specifically the Mubarak family;] link to URL: http://dostor.org/politics/egypt/11/february/28/37199

[ 13] [OSC | | OSC ID: GMP20110226950033 | 26 February 2011 | | New Political Party To Be Launched In Egypt | | (U) | (U) | Cairo MENA Online in English -- Government news agency; URL: http://www.mena.org.eg]

[ 14] [OSC | | OSC ID: GMP20110301825003 | 1 March 2011 | | Egyptian Revolution•s Leaders Cited on •Positive• Talks With Military Council | | (U) | (U) | London Al-Sharq al-Awsat Online in Arabic -- Website of

influential London-based pan-Arab Saudi daily; editorial line reflects Saudi official stance. URL: http://www.asharqalawsat.com/]

[ 15] [OSC | | OSC ID: GMP20110302462001 | 1 March 2011 | | January 25 Youth Coalition Issues Timetable of Demands | | (U) | (U) | Cairo Ahram Online in English -- Beta website published by state-controlled Al-Ahram Establishment, launched on 26 November 2010; URL: http://english.ahram.org.eg/]

[ 16] [OSC | | OSC ID: GMP20110303950004 | 3 March 2011 | | FYI -Egyptian TV Reports Prime Minister's Resignation Accepted | | (U) | (U) | Cairo Channel 1 TV in Arabic -- state-run television]

[ 17] [OSC | | OSC ID: GMP20110303950017 | 3 March 2011 | | Egyptian Protesters Satisfied With Shafiq's Resignation, New Prime Minister | | (U) | (U) | Cairo Channel 1 TV in Arabic -- state-run television]

Egypt: Islamic Group Leaders on Investors Offer of Satellite Channel, Newspaper

GMP20110718825009 London Al-Quds al-Arabi Online in Arabic 18 Jul 11

[Report by Muhammad Nasr Karum, from Cairo: "Leading Members of the Islamic Group in Egypt: Investors Have Made Offers to Establish a Satellite Channel and to Publish a Newspaper on Condition that They Do Not Interfere in the Editorial Policy"]

The Islamic Group [IG] has fought an armed, violent, and fierce battle against the Mubarak regime in the nineties that inflicted major losses and damage on it, from the arrest of dozens of leading members for long years, to the death of nearly 3,000, be it through death sentences, through torture in State Security headquarters and within the detention camps, or during the confrontations with the police forces in the streets and squares. All this has led to bleeding the IG materially and morally,

It is well known that most of the IG members were poor and simple people, and anyone of them who had a capital, lost it during the conflict period as a result of being in detention camp or through the various State Security means of destruction. After they were released from prison following the activation of the cease-of-violence initiative, they were full of illnesses, and their situation became worse than it was before entering the detention camps.

It is strange that we have heard statements by some IG leaders in which they announce that they have adopted a decision to establish a satellite channel and a newspaper, in addition to the establishment of the Building and Development Party.

It is well known that the establishment of a satellite channel and a newspaper require millions of pounds; therefore, how can a group that does not own even thousands of pounds do this? What are the sources of finance on which it will rely? Would it not be more worthy to look after the poor of the group, to improve their financial situation, and to raise their living standard, than to establish such projects? This is what we asked the leaders of the group.

IG Shura Council Member Shaykh Asim Abd-al-Majid says:

[Abd-al-Majid] Our sources of finance are the donations of the IG members, and we will collect the entire capital from them. Also there are some investors who made us the offer to set up a joint-stock company to establish a satellite channel and a newspaper, provided that the IG undertakes their technical management and intellectual substance, without interference from them. They want to do this as an investment project that will bring them profits. The two issues are under study and examination, and we will select the best of them.

[Karum] With regard to the businessmen who proposed to you the establishment of a satellite channel and a newspaper, what are their intellectual and political tendencies that make them finance projects for the IG?

[Abd-al-Majid] They have not been precisely identified, because there are a number of projects that have been offered to us, and we are studying them. However, we have clear conditions to approve of these projects, namely that there will be not interference in the intellectual direction of the channel or the newspaper, or in the technical management of the project. We insist on this whether these businessmen have Islamist tendencies or their idea is purely for investment purposes, this does not matter to us.

[Karum] Did the businessmen offer to finance you, or did you pursue them?

[Abd-al-Majid] They are the ones who offered us the project, because they expect our channel and newspaper to succeed. The investor has a sense through which he can identify where and how to invest his money; they consider that this project will be successful.

[Karum] Do they have other aims behind this?

[Abd-al-Majid] If we knew that they had other aims, we would certainly refuse this.

[Karum] Do you not think that thousands of IG members are in a very bad financial situation, and it is more worthy to help them and improve their situation, and then you can think of such projects?

[Abd-al-Majid] This is one way, and that is another way. If we establish the channel as an investment project, it will not exhaust the funds of the IG; on the contrary, it will be a source of income for many of our sons, because many of them will be employed in this project.

[Karum] With regard to the IG sources of finance before the cease-ofviolence initiative, can you reveal them? Is it possible to resort to these sources for financing your own projects, especially as the military operations you undertook used to cost millions?

[Abd-al-Majid] I think that the IG brethren outside Egypt were the ones responsible for spending on these operations, because they were large in numbers, and they were spread over many countries. There might have been donations, but I cannot state this categorically. This is a page that has been closed with all its weapons, funds, operations, plans, and aims, and I do not think that we will return to any part of it even if the sources of finance become available. We have announced in a conference we convened that the IG rejects any form of foreign finance, and the donations we will accept are only the donations made by the sons of the group in person, and the donations of those sympathetic to the Islamist idea within Egypt. We have announced this repeatedly.

[Karum] What about the accusations leveled at the IG that it used to receive financial support from some countries during your conflict with the Mubarak Regime?

[Abd-al-Majid] Let anyone who has a proof present it. If we used to receive financial support from some countries, how can you explain the existence of thousands of families that are starving, and cannot find anything to eat because their breadwinners were in prison? This is well known to all. Had we been receiving financial support, at least we would have fed them.

[Karum] Even the military wing, were not some intelligence organizations supporting it?

[Abd-al-Majid] All these were rumors and a psychological war waged by Husni Mubarak against us. He claimed that we were taking money from foreign countries, and we used to give the youths a fistful of pounds to undertake suicide operations; this is all nonsense, and completely unfounded.

Shaykh Usamah Hafiz, IG mufti and member of the IG Shura Council, says about the source of IG finance at the current stage:

[Hafiz] There are no sources of finance; what comes with difficulties becomes stronger. This is because the aid can stop at any moment, and hence the work collapses; also what comes easily goes easily.

[Karum] But how can the IG announce projects that cost millions while it does not have even thousands?

[Hafiz] The projects we announced will not be implemented today or tomorrow. We have announced them, but we will implement them when we can. This is because the IG General Assembly meets every year and adopts some principal decisions; then during the year we do our utmost to implement them as much as we can, but it is not mandatory to achieve them.

[Karum] Most of the sons of the IG are poor, and they include a high percentage of illness. What is more worthy, to improve their financial situation, or to pursue the establishment of such projects?

[Hafiz] Most of the sons of the IG are high-class people, their financial conditions are good, and they include a high percentage of employees. I think that the IG includes people who have high financial capabilities, as well as some who need help. The same as we work in the political and Islamic call fields, we also work in the social field. The IG has decided to establish private societies through which we practice social work, whether with the IG members or others.

[Karum] Have you actually established these societies?

[Hafiz] Yes, we have established the Islamic Society for Building and Development in Al-Minya Governorate, the brethren in Suhaj have established a charity society, and we commissioned the IG members to submit the documents for establishing societies to practice social work through them.

Dr Kamal Habib, expert in Islamic groups' affairs, says about the IG attempt to establish a satellite channel and a newspaper that the resources of the IG do not qualify it to undertake such huge work, because the satellite channel needs media cadres, and the IG lacks such cadres.

With regard to the statement by Shaykh Asim Abd-al-Majid that some businessmen are thinking of investing their money in a satellite channel for the IG, Dr Habib says:

[Habib] If an investor wants to invest his money, he will never go to the IG, but he will establish a commercial project. The channel is not supposed to be established as a commercial project, because the aim of the media ought to be serving the IG ideas in a way suitable to the culture of the society, increasing the awareness of the society, and presenting a responsible and respectable media message that is not aimed basically at making profits. If these investors consider this project to be a commercial one that brings them profits, then we ought to put a hundred question marks over their intentions, as this is a contradiction. If the investor is looking for financial profit, then the IG is not the suitable side for this, and hence such investors must have other aims than profit. I consider that the media issue is greater than the abilities of the IG at the moment, and we should not be in a hurry about it, especially as the IG established contact and media coverage of its work through its dealings with the normal media. The Muslim Brotherhood has established a channel, but it seems that it has not succeeded, or at least there are huge question marks over it.

[Karum] If they succeed in establishing the channel, what are the sources of finance on which they will rely?

[Habib] I do not know, and it will be a mysterious issue. So far, I do not know how the IG finances its work, and from where it brings funds. This is a sensitive issue, which I do not wish to discuss. However, if there really are businessmen who will finance it, then the one who pays the money is the one who will direct the IG to wherever he wants.

[Description of Source: London Al-Quds al-Arabi Online in Arabic -Website of London-based independent Arab nationalist daily with strong anti-US bias. URL: http://www.alquds.co.uk/]

Egypt: Islamists Downplay Their Chances of Winning Parliamentary Elections

GMP20110814001003 London Ilaf.com in Arabic 14 Aug 11

[Report by Ahmad Hasan, from Cairo: "Will Egypt's Islamists Ascend to Power After Their Show of Strength in Al-Tahrir Square"]

The Islamist tendency has shown a great mobilization and organization ability on Friday 29 July, which is called the million-man "unity of ranks" or "Shari'ah first" rally. This presents an important question about the continuation of this ability, its impact at the poll box of the upcoming parliamentary elections, and the possibility of the Islamist tendencies, especially the Salafis, controlling the parliamentary seats in a way that makes the Islamist tendency control the Egyptian policy at home and abroad, and hence ascend to power.

Politics experts, and even the leaders of the Islamist tendency themselves stress that what happened in Al-Tahrir Square is not an indicator of the ability of the Islamists to win parliamentary seats. They point out that they will not get any of the parliamentary seats, because there are other criteria for the elections, which they have not experienced before.

Dr Najih Ibrahim, member of the Shura Council of the Islamic Group [IG], says to Ilaf that this is the first elections' experience for

Islamic groups such as the Salafis, the Sufis, the Jihadis, and the IG, apart from the Muslim Brotherhood that has experience and good organization. Dr Ibrahim points out that the gathering in the millionman rally in Al-Tahrir Square is very easy, because we invite the people to one thing. On the other hand, the elections require tactics, and it is possible that the candidate is a well-known and liked Islamist, but he does not master the tactics, and hence he will lose to a candidate that might be much less worthy than him.

Moreover, the elections need a great deal of money, and the Islamic and Salafi movement is poor. Ibrahim adds that the elections are controlled by influence, tribalism, and clannish attitude, especially in the coastal, border, and Upper Egypt governorates. Ibrahim points out that some of the Islamists are from families that have never gone through all these experiences. Ibrahim expects that all these factors are the direct and influential reason for the Islamist tendency to lose control of the poll boxes of the upcoming elections.

Najih considers that the control of the Islamists over the Parliament will not be comparable to the gathering in Al-Tahrir Square; however, the aspiration will continue to exist, and the Islamists will continue to pursue winning a large number of parliamentary seats.

Ibrahim considers Islamist tendency seats, because it factors with what or money.

that the Muslim Brotherhood is the only power in the that is capable of winning the highest number of is capable of facing up to the aforementioned it has of base and organization, whether in manpower

Muhsin Radi, leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood, expressed his belief to Ilaf that the reality indicates that there is solid ground for the Islamic tendency in the street, as it has become a strong participant in the political decision making. Moreover, the Islamist tendency enjoys people's confidence, and hence its call for the million-man rally on 29 July succeeded, and the excellent success in organization and mobilization has been clear to all, especially the liberals. However, this is not a measure of its mobilization ability at the upcoming parliamentary elections, because what happened in AlTahrir Square is completely different from what will happen at the upcoming parliamentary elections.

Radi points out that there are several factors that control the elections, including the popular presence of the Islamist candidate, and the extent of his ability to convince the voters of his electoral program and his reasons for becoming a candidate. The success of the Islamist candidate is not linked to the number of Islamists in the constituency. Add to these factors the financing of the election campaign. Radi considers that all these factors will not be a reason for the Islamist tendency not to win a good proportion of the seats of

the next parliament; however, this road will not be paved with rose petals a s much of the public opinion thinks on the basis of their gathering in the million-man "Shari'ah first" rally.

Radi stresses that the Muslim Brotherhood is the group that is most capable of confronting and preparing for the problems of the elections, because of its wide experience all along the previous elections. Muhsin Radi considers that through the Muslim Brotherhood abilities, and the desire of the street, it would have been possible for the Muslim Brotherhood to win the majority of seats of parliament at the previous elections had they been conducted impartially by the previous regime. Radi points out that the Muslim Brotherhood will not compete over all the seats of the upcoming parliament; he says that aspiring for government and power at the moment is not at all in the plans of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Dr Hasan Nafi'ah, professor of political science at Cairo University, says to Ilaf that the Islamist tendency will face strong competition from the independent and liberal parties and tendencies that have weight in the constituencies. Moreover, there is competition among the Islamists themselves in the same constituency, which will fragment the votes and scatter the Islamists into supporting more than one candidate, contrary to the unity of ranks that appeared in Al-Tahrir Square.

Nafi'ah points out that the parliamentary elections are controlled by political interests and ambitions; even now there are differences among the Islamist tendencies, which appear in the multiplicity of the Salafi and Sufi parties and within the Islamic groups. Nafi'ah says that the parliamentary elections will expose the disputes among the Islamists, and will show that they lack organization, contrary to what the public opinion expects; therefore, the parliamentary seats they will win will not be at the proportion many expect.

Nafi'ah attributes the Islamist tendency's winning of seats parliament and the syndicates' elections in the past to the hatred of the members of the National Democratic Party, and of alternative competitors, and hence the voter resorted to Islamist candidate.

in voter's the lack the

Nafi'ah stresses that the Muslim Brotherhood Group is the only power in the Islamic tendency that is capable of winning seats in parliament, but this will depend on the continuation of the street's confidence in the group after the revolution, as the rules of the election game have changed completely after this revolution, and there are new developments on the basis of which the voter will decide; one of the most important new developments is that the elections will be conducted in a democratic way.

[Description of Source: London Ilaf.com in Arabic -- Saudi-owned, independent Internet daily with pan-Arab, liberal line. URL: http://www.elaph.com/]

Freed Egypt Islamist Abbud Al-Zumur Says He May Run in Presidential Elections

GMP20110314825003 London Al-Hayah Online in Arabic 14 Mar 11

[Report by Ahmad Rahim in Cairo: Abbud al-Zumur Is Considering Nominating Himself for Post of President and Wants to Form a Salifist Political Front.• For assistance with multimedia elements, contact the OSC Customer Center at (800) 205-8615 or [email protected]]

Egyptian Islamist Abbud al-Zumur told Al-Hayah that he is studying the possibility of running in the next presidential elections, pointing out that he has not taken a decision on this issue yet and hinged his decision on "the health conditions," stressing that what has been reported about his decision not to nominate himself is "inaccurate." He also said: "We are discussing now my health condition and the issue of running in the presidential elections is being considered."

Al-Zumur, who was freed on Saturday after spending 30 years in prison in the case of assassinating former President Anawr al-Sadat, pointed out that "he seeks to convince all the Islamic forces to join the political field and urged various trends to take part in this field, particularly at this stage." He explained that he is planning "to form a broad front or coalition from various Islamic trends outside the Muslim Brotherhood, and we are waiting now for the decision of the Islamic Group, which intends to announce a political party."

He pointed out that he believes that this coalition should include the Salafist groups, Al-Jihad Group, and the Islamic Group in one partisan framework." He rejected the talk about the separation between religion and politics, assuring the Copts that "they are entitled to security under the Islamic Shari'ah rule," and said sectarianism "is one of the inventions of (former President Husni) Mubarak and his regime."

Meanwhile, Dr Tariq al-Zumur, who was freed along with his cousin Abbud two days ago, said that the front they seek to form "does not mean a conflict or discord with the Muslim Brotherhood, but the reason for this is that the Muslim Brotherhood is an organization that is intellectually, politically, and organizationally accomplished. Furthermore, the trends that will make up this coalition will be different, even partially, from the Muslim Brotherhood, and these trends are closer to form a unified coalition" He also told Al-Hayah: "This does not mean a clash with the Muslim Brotherhood. We will coordinate with them in their capacity as the ones who are more capable, the larger, and the more organized." He accused Mubarak's regime of "seeking to fuel conflict between the state and the Islamic groups in the 1980's," stressing that "the Islamists have sought more than once to join the peaceful action, and the weapons will not be used inside again, and will be directed only against the nation's enemies abroad." He stressed that "the Islamic movements will not be excluded from the political action again, but the Islamic trends should work within the framework of the state and in accordance with its laws and rules."

He disclosed that Abbud al-Zumur "has been the first to launch an initiative to stop violence between the Islamists and the state in 1992, and then we have not called for more than the government's commitment to free the Islamist detainees. Mubarak reiterated his rejection of all the initiatives for halting violence because he was the beneficiary from the violence operations during the years of conflict with the Islamists."

He stressed that the regime had repeatedly asked them to pledge to support the government and not to practice any political or preaching activity in return for freeing them, which they rejected. On the assassination of late President Anwar al-Sadat, he briefly replied: "The assassination of Al-Sadat has taken place in certain circumstances and his behaviors led to this end. The Islamic movement had been a preaching one at that stage, but Al-Sadat closed all the ways in front of us."

[Description of Source: London Al-Hayah Online in Arabic -- Website of influential Saudi-owned London pan-Arab daily. URL: http://www.daralhayat.com]

Egyptian talk show discusses 'dangerous' use of religion in politics

GMP20110325950041 Cairo Al-Safwa TV in Arabic 1730 GMT 23 Mar 11

The private Egyptian Al-Safwah TV's "On Air" on 23 March discussed the "danger" of using religion in politics.

This came after a call by a Salafist Shaykh, Muhammad Abd-al-Maqsud, for Muslim worshipers to vote in favour of the referendum on constitutional amendments. Abd-al-Maqsud even labeled the referendum as the "battle of boxes".

The programme discussed whether Abd-al-Maqsud's call will bring back to the scene rhetoric about sectarian sedition, especially as he said that Egypt is an "Islamic state" and whoever dislikes this should immigrate to USA or Canada.

Some 77 per cent of Egyptians voted in favour of the referendum, held on 19 March. Afterwards, some liberal politicians and revolutionaries attributed this result to the influence of Islamists in Egypt.

The guest of the show were Muhammad Abbas, the member of the 25 January youth coalition; Amr Hashim Rabi, a researcher at Al-Ahram centre for strategic and political students; Hilmi al-Jazar, member of the Muslim Brotherhood's Shura Council; and Hafiz Abu-Si'dah, the head of the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR).

"Egypt is the country of all Egyptians and it should contain all shades of people, even the various shades of Islam," Al-Jazar said.

"The Salafists are not the only spokesperson of Muslims. They have emerged as a new phenomenon in the political scene. We should understand their rhetoric as a new phenomenon and rectify their mistake. They made a mistake [by this call]. Yes they [Salafists] did. There is no such thing as a battle of boxes. This is nor a fight or a struggle," he said.

"Egypt has embraced its entire people and even the people who came to it from abroad, the French, the British, and the Albanians. The

Egyptians were influences by these people. Egypt is a melting pot for all and all sects will remain in Egypt," he said.

"This is a religious approach in the politics. Politics is relative and religion is absolute. According to religion, you have either vice or virtue. All Islamic groups exploited this referendum to launch a battle between the people of virtue against the people of vice," AbuSi'dah said.

"The Muslim scholars said that who will say yes will be on the right of path. We have to hold dialogue so that this phenomenon does not occur again," he added.

"Everyone has to be free and we are against whoever excludes anybody," he said.

For his part, Abbas said that the position of Shaykh Abd-al-Maqsud is totally rejected.

Rabi said that Egyptians learnt that religion is about the relationship of a person with his creator. "But giving a religious colour to politics is a very dangerous approach. I am afraid that people will regret the old good days [during Mubarak's rule]," he also said. "The most dangerous thing is that religion, whether Islam or Christianity, makes people unequal. Liberals, leftists and politicians will become infidels as a result," he added.

Call to dismantling former ruling party

In another part of the show, Presenter Jamal Inayat interviewed Rana Faruq, the member of the executive office of the revolution's youth union, via telephone.

Faruq commented about a meeting between the union and the Supreme Council of the Armed Force (SCAF). She said that the union called for the establishment of a civil democratic state with political parties that have no religious orientation.

She also said that the union called on SCAF to dismantle the former ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) and freeze its activity.

"The idea is acceptable by. This is the demand of most of the Egyptians. But the SCAF said that everyone is free to perform democracy in Egypt and there should be a legal approach to dismantle the party and not a decree so as not to violate democratic basis," she said.

[Description of Source: Cairo Al-Safwa TV in Arabic --Private satellite channel]

MB faces internal divisions and isolation from opposition groups

GMP20110328966093 Cairo Daily News Egypt Online in English 1627 GMT 28 Mar 11

[Collected by webscraper and Auto selected and released without editorial intervention.] PAGE: http://www.thedailynewsegypt.com/index.php?option=com_content&vi ew=article&id=128635&catid=1&Itemid=183

TITLE: MB faces internal divisions and isolation from opposition groups SECTION: Society AUTHOR: Heba Fahmy /Daily News Egypt PUBDATE:

(DAILY NEWS EGYPT) -

CAIRO: The Muslim Brotherhood’s (MB) youth held a press conference Saturday to reevaluate the group’s role in Egypt’s transition to democracy and to discuss the establishment of the group’s political

part in the conspicuous absence of Brotherhood leaders who didn’t attend and refused to sponsor the event.

The group's deputy leader, Rashad Al-Bayoumi, told Daily News Egypt that the Brotherhood didn’t endorse the press conference because the youth failed to follow procedures necessary before organizing a public conference.

MB spokesman and Essam El-Erian explained in a telephone interception with TV program “Sabah Dream” on Dream TV Saturday that the group didn’t approve of the timing of the conference or the people attending it and that it was merely a procedural issue, according to the group’s website.

El-Erian stressed that there were no rifts between the group’s leaders and its youth.

“The youth are an integral part of the group and we respect them and listen to their views,” Al-Bayoumi told DNE.

Al-Bayoumi added that the MB’s Supreme Guide Mohamed Badei met recently with more than 300 youth and discussed their views regarding this transitional period.

The youth said that the conference did not indicate divisions, but was a sign of freedom of public expression and exchanging views among the group.

The youth announced recommendations at the end of the conference that include allowing MB members to establish or join any political party as long as it doesn’t contradict principles of Islam and forming a youth division inside the MB to ensure youth participation in the group’s decision-making process.

The recommendations were presented to the group’s Guidance Office for review.

“We accept any suggestions from the youth or any other members, as long as they are in [the group’s] best interest,” Al-Bayoumi said.

Political party debate

Soon after a popular revolt that ousted president Hosni Mubarak, the MB, banned since 1954, announced plans to form a political party called the Freedom and Justice Party once laws restricting the formation of political parties were lifted.

Badei said in a statement issued March 15 that the Freedom and Justice Party would be the only political party representing the group.

“Members of the group aren’t allowed to form or join any other political party,” Badei had announced.

However, MB member and member of the Coalition of the Youth of the Revolution, Mohamed Abbas, disagreed, saying that having more than one political party representing the MB was “healthy” and “beneficial”.

“The Muslim Brotherhood is a broad school of ideas and ideologies, which can be expressed in different ways,” Abbas said. “Having more than one political party representing it, demonstrates freedom and diversity, not division.”

Media reports suggested that “the MB opposition front,” which had been publicly critical of the mainstream policies of the group, wwas planning to establish another splinter party representing the Brotherhood called the Renaissance Party.

“We haven’t officially announced anything yet, but we’re seriously considering the issue,” Khaled Dawoud, a leading member of the opposition front, told DNE.

Dawoud added that there were many indications that the Freedom and Justice Party would follow the MB’s decisions and views blindly.

“We believe that the political party should be independent of the group in order to best serve the people,” Dawoud added.

Researcher of Islamist movements at Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic, Diaa Rashwan, said since the revolution had allowed the MB

to operate openly without any oppression, divisions were expected to surface.

“The Brotherhood was never a united front and it’s expected that many Islamic movements and parties will be derived from it,” Rashwan told DNE.

The 2009 internal elections of the MB Guidance Office highlighted wide ideological divisions between the group’s younger and older generations, but the more conservative side dominated the polls.

Disagreement with opposition

The MB also faces political isolation from other opposition groups, following the referendum on the constitutional amendments, where 77.2 percent of Egyptians voted yes.

Some opposition groups who voted “no” accused the Brotherhood of exploiting religion to sway people towards a yes vote.

The Egyptian Coalition for Monitoring Elections, made up of 123 civil society organizations and rights groups, said in a statement following the referendum that Brotherhood members were seen trying to convince voters at polling stations to vote yes on the constitutional amendments.

Karima Al- Hifnawy, member of the National Association for Change and the Kefaya Opposition Movement, said she was against mixing religion with politics.

“The Brotherhood used people’s religious sentiments to convince them to say yes in the referendum,” Al-Hifnawy told DNE. “People are entitled to a free and fair voting process without any pressure or interference.”

Al-Hifnawy added that the MB depended on lies and misconceptions to get people to vote yes.

Al-Hifnawy said that the referendum proved that the MB served their own interests and not the people’s.

Mohamed Farag, secretary general of the leftist Tagammu Party, said he saw flyers claiming that “voting yes to the constitutional amendments is a religious obligation,” and “saying yes to the constitutional amendments is saying yes to Islam.”

“The Brotherhood and other Salafist groups are trying to send the message that they are the majority,” Farag told DNE. “They’re trying to divide the revolutionaries and sway the revolution towards Islam.”

Vice President of Al Wafd Party, Fouad El Badrawy, agreed that religion shouldn’t be used in politics but believed that the majority of yes votes were for stability, not to support the Brotherhood.

Political observers have repeatedly expressed fear that the MB would dominate the polls in upcoming parliamentary elections, as they are the most organized and prepared opposition group.

[Description of Source: Cairo Daily News Egypt Online in English -Independent, privately owned newspaper providing news and analysis, Egypt's only independent English-language daily. The paper is distributed in Egypt with the International Herald Tribune (IHT); URL: http://www.thedailynewsegypt.com/]

Salafi anti-democracy flyers handed out around Cairo

GMP20110329966078 Cairo Al-Masry Al-Youm Online in English 1510 GMT 29 Mar 11

[Collected by webscraper and Auto selected and released without editorial intervention.] PAGE: http://www.almasryalyoum.com/en/node/377801

TITLE: Salafi anti-democracy flyers handed out around Cairo SECTION: Top Stories AUTHOR: PUBDATE: Mon, 28/03/2011 - 18:06

(AL-MASRY AL-YOUM) -

Flyers calling on citizens to join the Salafi movement and denouncing democracy were witnessed being passed out to citizens in Cairo just days after the Salafi movement announced its intention of becoming involved in the political arena.

The flyers warn against the dangers of backing away from a religious state and resorting to systems based on democracy or liberalism, which according to the flyers would be a step in the wrong direction and one that would lead to transgression of religious prohibitions.

According to one of the flyers, the values of democracy violate the law of God. Further, democracy "allows the people to govern themselves even if they are violating the rule of God." The flyer, titled "Be a Salfi" called on citizens to reject all voices advocating for a civil state, as such a state would mean the separation of religion from general life and people being governed without the law of God.

The flyer added that the civil state "equates between citizens in their rights and duties, even if God has created differences in them." In the flyer, liberalism is described as “making man his own God” and as being “governed by that which is not God’s law.” The flyer also calls on citizens to spread these ideas and to return to the Quran and the Sunnah.

Hassan Nafaa, a political science professor at Cairo University, said the content of these flyers "is expected from some Salafist groups, whose members reject anyone different to them."

He went on to say, "It is the state’s duty to criminalize such practices, which interfere with every citizen’s freedom of expression and belief. The fear is that such practices could influence those with limited intelligence, who could then be exploited in supporting and promoting these ideas."

The Salafi movement considers democracy a Western system of government and generally does not accept the appointment of women or non-Muslims to leadership positions.

Salafis adopt a literal interpretation of religious texts, and therefore do not see parliament as the legitimate source of legislation, nor the people as the source of authority.

The Salafi movement's relationship with the ousted regime was vague. While former President Hosni Mubarak's regime imposed heavy restrictions on their organizational activity, it allowed some prominent Salafi figures to run mosques and also allowed Salafis to protest against the Coptic Church.

Some observers say the regime used the Salafis to weaken the Muslim Brotherhood movement, which advocates participation in politics.

The Salafis refused to participate in the 25 January Revolution but later acknowledged its legitimacy because of pressure from younger members, some of whom took part in the revolution.

Translated from the Arabic Edition

[Description of Source: Cairo Al-Masry Al-Youm Online in English -English language version of Al-Misri al-Yawm, Egypt's respected independent pro-reform daily that focuses on domestic political issues; largest-circulation independent publication, especially widely read among youth; URL: http://www.almasryalyoum.com/en]

Salafi group says in TV show Egypt's Camp David Accord cannot be annulled

GMP20110405950008 Cairo Al-Safwa TV in Arabic 1530 GMT 04 Apr 11

The recent escalation in violence by Salafists in Egypt was the topic discussed in the 4 April episode of "On Air" programme on Private TV Al-Safwa's station.

The guests included spokesperson for the "Salafi Da'wa", Abd-al-Min'im al-Shahat, and Expert on Islamist group Abd-al-Rahim Ali. Later, Shaykh Mahmud Ashur, former deputy of Al-Azhar Islamic institute joined the discussion.

Al-Shahat insisted on differentiating between different types of salafists as not all groups follow the same rules. He vehemently denied salafists were responsible for the incidents of violence the media were propagating. These incidents include demolishing a number of shrines, threatening to attack unveiled females as well some intimidating religious slogans which scared Egyptians.

Ali said that after "thirty years of living in the dark" light is being shed on the Islamist groups and people are coming to know them, hence confusion is expected. He differentiated between Islamic groups: Jama'ah Islamiyah on one side and Salafists on the other. He noted that Salafists "do not oppose the ruler" but focus on the creation of a "proper Muslim" according to their beliefs while the Jama'ah might use violence against the ruler as the assassinators of former Egyptian President Anwar Assadat did.

He debated the Salafist idea of establishing an Islamic state as close as possible to the early days of Islam noting "this is impossible in our time".

The discussion developed into a debate between the guests on the feasibility of the basic Salafist rules in a modern country.

Al-Shahat noted that Salafists do not believe in democracy but "will abide by is if it is being applied at the moment". He went on to say that the far goal for the Salafists is always to create a "proper Islamic state".

Shaykh Mahmud Ashur, former deputy of Al-Azhar Islamic institute, stressed that Salafists "did not utter word during 30 years of tyranny and injustice" and taking advantage of the atmosphere of freedom after the revolution. He challenged the conduct of Salafists and the violence they use by verses from the Quran.

Al-Shahat noted that Salafists do not want to annul the Camp David Accord but it noted that it needs to be "revised and so does the normalization process that followed".

[Description of Source: Cairo Al-Safwa TV in Arabic --Private satellite channel]

Egyptian Salafist Cleric Interviewed Movement's Future, Formation of Political Party

GMP20110405825005 London Al-Sharq al-Awsat Online in English, Afrikaans 05 Apr 11

[Interview with Egyptian Salafist cleric Muhammad Hassan, by Nabil Salih, in Cairo: "Egypt's Salafist Ansar al-Sunna to form political group"]

Prominent Salafist cleric Sheikh Mohamed Hassan, one of the most renowned Salafist figures in Egypt, exclusively spoke to Asharq AlAwsat about the future of the Salafist movement in the country. He also publicly announcing that the Ansar al-Sunna Society intends to form a political party and participate in the forthcoming parliamentary elections that are set to take place next September. Sheikh Mohamed Hassan also said that he had no intention of standing for presidential election, and stressed that Egypt's Islamists, like any other component of society, has the right to express their opinions and participate in politics.

The following is the full text of the interview:

[Asharq Al-Awsat] The Ansar al-Sunna Society is not known for its political activism however a number of Islamist groups, including your own organization, have recently entered the political arena, in support of the latest constitutional amendments. What is the reason for this?

[Hassan] The crucial stage that Egypt is currently passing through has necessitated the [religious] scholars to take action, as they have previously, with regards to [Islamic] dawa [missionary work]. They must take action as this current stage and direct people towards what they believe to be in the interests of this noble country. I acknowledge that the Salafists are not as efficient with regards to political action as other groups that are experienced in this field, but they have entered via the door of promoting virtue and preventing vice, they have entered as part of legitimate politics. We do not say "no religion in politics; and no politics in religion" but rather we believe that religion rules over all parts of life. We do not take from religion only that which is compatible with our needs and desires, we must take everything, both what we like and what we may dislike. It is the duty of our brothers to advise the nation about what they believe is good for this noble country, for as God Almighty said "O ye who believe! Enter into Islam whole-heartedly" [Surat alBaqara; Verse 208].

[Asharq Al-Awsat] Following the establishment of the new political parties' law, does the Ansar al-Sunna Society intent to establish a political party, or will it lend its support to an already established party, especially as a number of other Islamist trends have entered the political field?

[Hassan] Yes, we intend to establish a [political] party according to the laws and regulations, and this is something that is not denied to any Islamist trend, for any Egyptian citizen has the right to express his opinion politely, respecting the opinions of others. Nobody has the right to prevent any Egyptian citizen from political operation or participation, for they are citizens living in this country, and they have the right to participate like everybody else. The Ansar al-Sunna Society is made up of Egyptian citizens who want to participate in creating the future of our country, according to the holy book [the Quran] and the Sunnah [of the Prophet]. The group does not follow the policy of equivocation or deception, but will put forward a policy based upon mercy, justice, and righteousness.

[Asharq Al-Awsat] Will your party take part in the forthcoming parliamentary elections?

[Hassan] Yes, many of our brothers in Alexandria and Cairo will take part in this, both with regards to the People's Assembly elections, and the Shura Council elections.

[Asharq Al-Awsat] What do you think of the Turkish state model, namely a civilian state with an Islamic reference?

[Hassan] I will not name the desired features of a future state at this point, whether we are talking about a religious, civil, or democratic state. We will not discuss the model of the state or its terminology, but we will comment on the approach that the state should use. Our starting point will be the f of the Prophet, which says "hear and obey even if an Abyssinian slave with a head like a raisin is appointed over you." Therefore the type of state is unimportant to us, what is im portant is that the approach that is followed by the state should be derived from Article II of the [Egyptian] Constitution, which states that Islam is the official religion of the state, and Islamic Sharia law is the primary source for legislation. The type of state does not matter, what is important is that the state follows the approach, provided for by Article II of the constitution.

[Asharq Al-Awsat] What is your opinion of the dread or fear expressed by some components of society towards the possibility of the establishment of an Islamic state in Egypt?

[Hassan] There is no fear of Islam, for Islam is not just the religion of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, but the religion of all the prophets. Islam is not a scarecrow, I want to reassure our brothers of all different beliefs, sects, and ideologies, and tell them that Islam is the religion of Allah Almighty which is characterized by the divine approach. Islam is characterized by integration, balance, moderation, justice, righteousness, mercy, and tolerance in dealing with others. Islam does not impose its beliefs on others, and as it says in the Holy Quran "if it has been thy Lord's will, they would all have believed - all who are on earth! Wilt though then compel mankind, against their will, to believe!" [Surat Yunus, Verse 99]. God Almighty also said "Say: (It is) the truth from the Lord of you (all). Then whosoever will, let him believe, and whosoever will, let him disbelieve." [Surat al-Khaf, Verse 29]. Therefore I do not think anybody has the right to break the lamp which I hold in my hand and by which I bring the light to those who live in darkness. Let me also say that anybody who wants to enter God's religion...they are most welcome!

The other issue is that Islam, is not as some portray it, Islam is not a religion of cutting off ears or throwing acid in women's faces [in reference to recent attacks on Christians in Egypt]. Egypt has lived in a state of terror from Islamists in general, and Salafists in particular, for a number of weeks. Some said that the Salafists have

now emerged and want to turn Egypt upside down, and this is not true, for Islam has controls in place with regards to taking action to prevent vice, and this should be clear to everybody.

[Asharq Al-Awsat] In the recent period, some enthusiastic Salafist youth have come out to carry out violence, believing that the change that occurred in Egypt is not for the best. This has led to general accusations that the Salafists are trying to impose Islam on the country by force. What is your opinion of this?

[Hassan] I have clarified Islam's ruling regarding the jurisprudence of preventing vice, and it is not fair to prosecute Islam as a religion...based upon the mistakes of an individual or a group affiliated to this religion. Until now, I have not been informed of one event in which a Salafist has been accused in a just and clear manner.

[Asharq Al-Awsat] Some people are calling for the implementation of Islamic Sharia punishments; do you believe this will happen?

[Hassan] Allow me to say that it is unfair that Islam, with its faith, laws, morals and features, to be reduced to its legal punishments. However in spite of this, we are proud of our religious punishments, for this is the religion of our Lord, and God Almighty said "In the Law of Equality there is (saving of) Life to you, o ye men of understanding; that ye may restrain yourselves." [Surat al-Baqara, Verse 179].

[Asharq Al-Awsat] What is your opinion about women and Christians being allowed to stand at the presidential elections?

[Hassan] Jurists of the Islamic community have come to a consensus that women should not be granted the right to hold a leadership position, and I am not ashamed of this. I do not support intellectual etiquette or the diplomacy of dialogue regarding the principles and provisions of Islamic Sharia law. How can anybody renounce the [religious] consensus on this issue, and this is something that is clear and explicit. Scholars have prohibited w oman from holding leadership positions...as for a non-Muslim holding a leadership position in a Muslim state, I say that when Rome thinks of nominating a Muslim to rule Italy, then we will think about this issue.

[Asharq Al-Awsat] Some have called on you personally to stand at the forthcoming presidential elections, what is your position on this?

[Hassan] I am not looking for any religious or political post, my primary concern is serving God's call, and after this, serving my country Egypt which I love, and I will continue to serve the people of Egypt. I can honestly say that for myself, I am not interested in talking about nominating myself for this position.

[Description of Source: London Al-Sharq al-Awsat Online in English -Website of influential London-based pan-Arab Saudi daily; editorial line reflects Saudi official stance. URL: http://www.asharqalawsat.com/]

Abu-al-Mundhir al-Shinqiti Proscribes Participating in Egyptian Elections

GMP20110408495001 Minbar al-Tawhid wal-Jihad in Arabic 07 Apr 11

[Fatwa issued by Abu-al-Mundhir al-Shinqiti, member of the Shari'ah Commission of the Minbar al-Tawhid wal-Jihad website; date not given: "What Is the Shari'ah Ruling on Participating in Elections in PostRevolution Egypt?"]

What Is the Shari'ah Ruling on Participating in Elections in PostRevolution Egypt?

Question number 4432

May the peace, mercy, and blessings of God be upon you, our beloved shaykh.

First, may God bless you and use you to benefit the ummah [the community of Muslims worldwide] of Islam and Muslims.

Second, I would like to ask your Excellency about the Shari'ah ruling on participating in upcoming elections in the Land of the Quiver [Egypt] through the nomination of some of our famous shaykhs in Egypt for the Shura Council and the People's Assembly [lower and upper chambers, respectively, of the Egyptian Parliament]. Those who speak of these matters are saying that the situation has changed completely, and that the country needs these figures, for this could be the beginning of an Islamic rule based on al-hakimiyah [sovereignty of the Shari'ah] of the Shari'ah.

Third, I learned that one of the Salafist scholars we have here was summoned the brothers and told them to get their voting cards in order to participate in the nomination of some of the leaders coming to power. I immediately called some of the brothers, who were close to the shaykh and asked them about this matter. The brother admitted that the shaykh called on them to do this in the name of averting detriments. I learned that there is an agreement among some of the shaykhs over this. He then told me that the shaykhs would consider the most capable candidate and the one least detrimental to Islam and Muslims, and they will elect him, not because they agree with him, but because averting detriments is given precedence over achieving interests. They are afraid of the many extremist secularists we have here. They are also afraid of the Christians, for they want radical changes with the referendum on the constitution.

Is this legally permissible, and what should we do now?

I asked Shaykh Abu-Basir al-Tartusi, and he said that it was impermissible [to participate in elections], but his answer was very terse. Please clarify this matter and answer at length so that we can preach to others and respond to our shaykhs properly and with knowledge.

What should we be doing now, and what is the response to those who point to the story of our master [Prophet] Joseph (peace be upon him) as evidence when speaking about al-hakimiyah?

May God reward you well and bless you.

Questioner: "aimn2"

Respondent:

The Minbar Shari'ah Commission

In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate,

Praise be to God, the Lord of all creation.

May the prayers of God be upon His noble prophet, his family, and his companions.

My good brother, if these brothers are serious about supporting the religion of God and striving to establish His Shari'ah, they should first adhere to and abide by legitimate and permissible means. They should forgo the proscribed polytheistic means.

They should remember what the prophet, may the prayers and peace of God be upon him, said: "Whoever performs an action that we have not commanded will find it rejected," [Hadith].

They should know that monotheism is not sought after through polytheism; that obedience is not achieved through disobedience; that God is good, and accepts only good deeds; and that combining vile means with honorable aims is one of the greatest contradictions.

If participating in this democracy is meant to support the religion of Almighty God, then those promoting it should be beholden to the Shari'ah of God and subject to all His commands and prohibitions.

If they are beholden to the Shari'ah of God, they will never assent to participating in this polytheistic democracy, which gives the ruling to something other than God and gives man the right to legislate.

All those who participate in democracy on the pretext of reform are recognizing polytheistic constitutions, deifying the will of the people and the majority rule, accepting governance by positive laws, and basing loyalty and disavowal [Islamic concept meaning loyalty to Muslims and disavowal of infidels] on nationalism. They accept the rotation of power among those with atheist and secularist leanings.

There are no greater detriments than these.

If that is the case, there is no disagreement among the scholars over the need to avert evil if the detriment is greater than the good it would bring.

Al-Izz Ibn-Abd-al-Salam said:

"If something involves both detriments and benefits, and we are able to achieve the benefits while averting the detriments, we will do so, thereby heeding the command of God the Exalted, who says: 'So fear Allah as much as ye can,' [partial Koranic verse, Al-Taghabun, 64:16]. If we are unable to avert the detriments while achieving the benefits, and if the detriment will be greater than the benefit, we will avert the detriment and pay no mind to the loss of the benefit. God the Exalted says: 'They ask thee concerning wine and gambling. Say: In them is great sin, and some profit, for men; but the sin is greater than the profit,' [partial Koranic verse, Al-Baqarah, 2:219]."

He proscribed them because their detriment was greater than their benefit. The benefit of wine was in its trade and such. The benefit of gambling was what was taken by the winner from the loser." (Qawa'id al-Ahkam Fi Masalih al-Anam, 1/83)

Thus, participating in the democratic regime means entering into a polytheistic regime, and there is no detriment greater than polytheism.

In fact, polytheism is considered an absolute detriment. benefit in it whatsoever.

There is no

The Shaykh of Islam Ibn-Taymiyah said:

"There is no benefit in polytheism, quoting God without knowledge, shameful deeds (whether open or secret), or injustice." (Al-Fatawa, 14, page 476)."

He also said:

"Among the things that God has forbidden are those that are absolutely not permitted by the Shari'ah - whether or not there is a need - such as polytheism, shameful deeds, saying things about God without knowledge, and pure injustice. These are the four [forbidden things] mentioned by God the Exalted as follows: 'The things that my Lord hath indeed forbidden are: shameful deeds, whether open or secret; sins and trespasses against truth or reason; assigning of partners to Allah, for which He hath given no authority; and saying things about

Allah of which ye have no knowledge,' [Koranic verse, Al-A'raf, 7:44]."

These things are forbidden in all God's laws. God sent all his messengers to forbid them. He never permitted one of these things, under any circumstances. For this reason, the verse was revealed in Mecca." (Al-Fatawa, 14, page 477)

Necessities render permissible those things that are otherwise forbidden, if they do not entail polytheism. Polytheism and infidelity are permitted only under duress such as under the threat of death or unbearable pain.

Those who try to cite the story of [Prophet] Joseph are turning the Shari'ah evidence on its head and ignoring the straight forward Koranic verses while employing the verses whose meanings cannot be properly understood without context.

The evidence in the Book of God as to the proscription of seeking governance by non-Shari'ah laws, and the infidelity of those who legislate alongside God are both innumerable and too clear to be hidden.

There is nothing in the story of Joseph to indicate that he committed any Shari'ah violation, and God approved of his rule and deeds as He says: "Thus did We plan for Joseph. He could not take his brother by the law of the king except that Allah willed it (so)," [partial Koranic verse, Yusuf, 12:76].

Any law created by us, if it is in violation of our Shari'ah, is abrogated by our Shari'ah.

Indeed, Imam al-Shafi'i, may God rest his soul, said in the most correct narration: "A law created by us and rooted in our Shari'ah is only permissible if our Shari'ah dictates that it is legal."

If, my good brother, you want to go further in responding to the dubious claims of those who are enamored with democracy, I advise you to read: The Incoherence of the Democrats, by Shaykh Abu-Abd-alRahman al-Shinqiti. You will find in it what I have said and more, and it is available on the Minbar [ al-Tawhid wal-Jihad website].

God is All-Knowing.

Praise be to God, the Lord of all creation.

Answered by Shari'ah Commission member:

Shaykh Abu-al-Mundhir al-Shinqiti.

[To view the vernacular, click here.]

[Description of Source: Minbar al-Tawhid wal-Jihad in Arabic -- Large repository of radical Salafi religious material; serves as official website for Jordanian Salafi cleric Abu-Muhammad al-Maqdisi, who was once the religious mentor to deceased Al-Qa'ida in Iraq leader AbuMus'ab al-Zarqawi; URL: www.tawhed.ws]

Al-Shinqiti Rejects 'Democratic Constitutions,' Advocates Rule Under Shari'ah

GMP20110318103002 Minbar al-Tawhid wal-Jihad in Arabic 18 Mar 11

[Corrected version -- repairing link to article vernacular; Article attributed to Abu-al-Mundhir al-Shinqiti: "What is the ruling on voting for amendments to some articles in the Egyptian constitution?" -- posted directly to the Minbar al-Tawhid wal-Jihad website.]

May the peace, mercy, and blessings of God be upon you. Honorable and righteous scholars in Minbar al-Tawhid wal-Jihad, greetings. What is your opinion on the legitimacy of the referendum on constitutional amendments planned to be held in Egypt next Saturday, 19 March 2011, corresponding to 14 Rabi al-Akhir 1432? This, with the knowledge that a group of scholars in Egypt not attached to the state, or to the framework of the [Muslim] Brotherhood, have issued fatwas permitting

and supporting [participation in] the constitutional amendments. [Question by] Muhammad Abdallah

May the peace, mercy, and blessings of God be upon you. Our honorable shaykhs, may God bless you in your knowledge, and may God make us useful to you in this life and the hereafter. We have now in Egypt a case of fumbling and disorder, especially in the matter of electoral amendments, and the yes or no thereof. I will not be verbose. Most of the Salafist shaykhs in Egypt, from their different provinces, agree on going to the electoral stations this coming Saturday (19 March 2011) to choose or mark "Yes" to the constitutional amendments under the pretext of preventing any infringement upon the second article of the constitution, which is that Islamic law is the main source [of law] for the Arab Republic of Egypt, as they do not want any amendments, but rather want to change the entire constitution. Their intent behind this is that they want Egypt to be a secular state, with no Islamic character to it. This is their pretext, and this is from the point of view that necessity permits things that would otherwise be forbidden. Is this correct, and an obligation upon us, as one of them said, to go and say "yes" to the amendments? What should we do? [Question by] Abu-Mus'ab al-Halali

My honorable shaykhs in Minbar al-Tawhid wal-Jihad: May peace and mercy of God be upon you. I read an article by Shaykh Tariq Abd-alHalim regarding participation in the referendum, and he said to participate and vote "yes." The link to the article: [link provided]. I was among those who called upon people to avoid participation in this referendum, and I am now confused, after the statement from Shaykh Tariq (may God protect him). My question is: Is participation in the referendum on the man-made constitution permitted? If the answer is yes, should we vote yes or no? [Question by] Rahim bilMu'minin

In the name of God, prayers and peace be upon the messenger of God and upon his family, companions and followers. To our shaykhs, the shaykhs of Minbar al-Tawhid wal-Jihad, the honorable and glorious ones who come openly with the truth, at a time when there are few who do so: May God the Exalted protect you and use you to support religion. May the peace, mercy, and blessings of God be upon you. I ask God the Exalted, the Omniscient, the Great, the Strong, and the Honorable, Supporter of the oppressed and Conqueror of the tyrants, to break the chains of the lordly scholar Shaykh Abu-Muhammad al-Maqdisi, make him steadfast upon the truth, and protect him. May He guide you to what He loves and is satisfied by (may He be glorified and exalted), and bless you in your blessed platform that teaches us the creed of Ibrahim and the call of the prophets and messengers. The situation in the land of Al-Kananah [Egypt] is not unknown to you, after the removal of the tyrant, the not-blessed one [pun on the name Mubarak, which means blessed], and his obsolete regime. Some of our Salafist callers to Islam and the [Muslim] Brotherhood have demanded and called for the fixing of the second article of the man-made and polytheist constitution that stipulates: "The second article of the constitution stipulates that the religion of the state is Islam and its language

Arabic, and that the principles of Islamic law are the fundamental source of law." They spoke of the positives and negatives therein, and how it was what would protect Islamic identity. This, as you well know, is for the dissolving of the religion of God the Exalted, and so the [Muslim] Brotherhood participated in their old ways of dissolving religion by way of using the ends to justify the means. After that, they asked the people to vote "yes" for constitutional amendments and to stand against the secular march that would vote "no." We hope for an answer from you honorable ones at this crucial stage, and [advice on] how to emerge from it by lawful means to establish the religion of God the Blessed and Exalted, and for a judgment on those who vote "yes" or "no." May God reward you well. [Question by] Abu-Hadhifah alMasri

Praise be to God. Prayers and peace be upon the messenger of God. Our dear shaykhs: First, we would like to inform you that we love you in God and we consider you one of our sources. Second, with regard to the referendum on the constitutional amendments on the '71 Constitution to take place this coming Saturday: [Voting] "yes" on the referendum: There are those who say that the amendments have no relationship to any creeds of ideologies, but rather contain only systemic procedural changes. But I see that "yes" means, effectively, agreement on the secular, tyrant, and infidel constitution of '71. "No" on the referendum means a rejection of the amendments, and perhaps any polytheist constitution as well. But perhaps it means, some say, that you reject the amendments and accept the constitution as is. In rejection, also, is another issue, which is that it perhaps supports and extends the state of general stability. There is interest in this, as it is generally thought that the current and coming regime will be a secular regime, and stability means the preservation of this regime, whereas lack of stability might perhaps mean the opportunity, by the grace of God, for calling to Islam, elucidation, gathering, preparation, unification of ranks, and seizure of the opportunity to strike at and demolish falsehood. (We have previously conveyed to you to support us and cooperate with us in that goodness that is not to be deferred at a society-wide level, and we have not received a response from you.) [Regarding] the boycott of the referendum: Perhaps there is in it purity and soundness from all this, perhaps it is something negative that will be counted against one. I hope that our dear shaykhs will bring us benefit quickly, by the will of God the Almighty. We entrust you to the care of the Almighty. May the peace, mercy, and blessings of God be upon you, and I ask your expert advice. [Question by] Ihya al-Khilafah

Peace be upon you, our masters, and the crown of our heads. It appears that the matter in Egypt is difficult and sensitive, and that it is declining. From the front of the loss of opportunity to the secularists and Christians, some Salafist scholars known for their belief in the sovereignty of monotheism have decreed the permissibility of voting in the referendum. Indeed, there are those among them who said, vote yes, with the pretext that the upcoming referendum is only on amending some articles in the constitution. Answer us, that we may cut all their tongues with evidence and scholarly display. May the Guardian assist you. [Question by] Abu-alAsir

Questioner: Muhammad Bin-Abdallah Respondent: The Shari'ah Committee in Al-Minbar

In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate Praise be to God, Lord of all Creation. May the prayers of God be upon His honorable prophet, and upon all his family and companions. These man-made constitutions by which the people are governed today are what organize the democratic operation and all within it of contradictions to the law of God. These democratic constitutions all agree upon a number of infidel principles contradictory to Islam altogether. Among the most important of these principles are:

1- The pronouncement of submission to the rule of the people rather than the rule of God 2- Making the majority the decisive factor in governance, regardless of its agreement or opposition to the law of God 3- Giving the representatives (legislators) the power to write laws, regardless of their agreement or opposition to the law of God 4- The pronouncement of submission to international law and international treaties, including what is in them that contravenes Islam 5- The basis of the principle of freedom of religion according to the Western democratic concept, rather than the Islamic concept

These are some, not all, of the infidel principles upon which these man-made constitutions are based. These constitutions are, in truth, only a tool for organizing the progress of the democratic operation and what is in it of contradiction to Islamic shari'ah. It is not fit for these constitutions to state that the official religion of the state is Islam, because, as with the basis of the previous principles and laws, this speech remains merely ink on paper. The state remains effectively secular, and Islam and secularism do not mix. It is also not fit for these constitutions to state that Islamic shari'ah is the main source [of law]. Rather, Islamic law must be the only source, in order that the constitution should be Islamic. It is not possible for that to happen, with the basis of the previous infidel principles. The reality is that Islamic shari'ah is not the main source [of law] in any democratic constitution, because in these constitutions and laws therein, Islamic law is not a priority, except with regard to the body of laws for personal matters. And there is much in the way of laws that contravene Islamic shari'ah.

As for issues other than personal matters, Islamic shari'ah is a missing source, and in the best of cases a reserve source! The

deciding word is from Roman law, French law, and the so-called scholars of jurisprudence. The like of these attempts striving to confer the tincture of Islam upon these secular constitutions should not deceive the Muslims, because they are, in truth, only from the tribe of [those who] offer pork with black caraway. If this is the reality and truth of these constitutions, attention should be paid to the following:

1- Voting on these constitutions means participation in determining the democratic regime and its implementation and establishment on the ground in the lands of the Muslims. 2- Voting on these constitutions means acknowledgement of the right of the people to practice legislation in general, and it means the voter's practicing of legislation in particular. 3- Voting voting on voting on voting on

on any amendments in the constitution does not differ from the entire constitution. The lawful prohibitions against the amendments of the constitution are the same as those for the constitution at all.

4- The hoped-for benefits of the constitutional amendments do not permit participation in voting on polytheist constitutions. If it had been thus permitted, then the implementation of the democratic regime and all therein would be permitted as well. Voting on these constitutions means the implementation of the worst principle among democratic principles: the governance of the people and their practice of legislation.

Indeed, those who call for voting on the amendments are, in reality, entering a battle with illusory results, and there is no fruit therein, on the ground. This is for two reasons:

The First Reason: Because it is in the shadow of the democratic regime, the governance of the people, and the establishment of the majority as the final deciding factor, there is no meaning to the words that shari'ah is the main source [of law] of the constitution, because the deciding factor in making the laws is either shari'ah, and in this case the democracy would not be implemented; or it is the number of the majority, and in this case shari'ah would not be the source. Yes, the representatives might vote to choose to make the law in agreement with Islamic shari'ah, but this is not to be considered a submission to shari'ah, but rather the submission of the representatives who voted on laws in agreement with it or taken from it. In this is an indication that shari'ah might be a source for the constitution or of law, but it is not the decisive [factor]. The governance of shari'ah and complete submission to it is one thing, and its being a source [of law] is another. We have been commanded to establish the divine governance, and this is what we are calling for. We should not be deceived by the issue of the constitution's source of law. It is not possible that this is a legitimate method of establishing shari'ah.

The establishment of shari'ah is not a nominal matter that can be established in any way or by any method. Rather, it is a matter of worshipping God (may He be glorified and exalted), and it is accepted and sound only if it is in submission and obedience to God the Exalted and out of desire to [see] His face, because governance by [shari'ah] is the manifestation of the worship of God the Exalted. And the establishment of governance by shari'ah is not an optional matter that can come by way of voting or referendum. Rather, it is a matter obligated by God (may He be glorified and exalted). God the Exalted said: "It is not fitting for a Believer, man or woman, when a matter has been decided by Allah and His Messenger to have any option about their decision," [partial Koranic verse, Al-Ahzab, 33:36]. And God the Exalted said: "But no, by the Lord, they can have no (real) faith, until they make thee judge in all disputes between them, and find in their souls no resistance against thy decisions, but accept them with the fullest conviction," [Koranic verse, Al-Nisa, 4:65]. If it is among the provisions of faith that a Muslim find no hesitation in his heart on what God has commanded, and that he submit to it completely, then how can it be permitted for Muslims to undertake referendums or voting on the implementation of the rule of God? These verses have indicated that the law of God is a compulsory matter in which there is no choice. And they indicate that the implementation of the law of God can only be achieved by complete submission and surrender, and this is what is absent from the existence of referendums or voting.

The Second Reason: The article that says: "Islamic shari'ah is the main source of legislation" is in reality merely a slogan to throw sand in the eyes. Its presence means nothing on the ground. It was present previously when Islam was missing from the affairs of life and the politics of the country. I think that the matter is clear now: the implementation of shari'ah in a real way is a possibility completely absent in the shadow of the democratic regime, regardless of whether or not the constitution is changed. We are before two choices only: secularism in the name of Islam or secularism in the name of secularism. There is to be no choosing for either of the two choices. The only lawful choice is to attempt to implement Islamic shari'ah outside the democratic system. And if these voters on the amendments are striving to implement shari'ah, why do they not demand its direct implementation? Why this diffidence, procrastination, and dawdling? Why the shame in calling for the implementation of shari'ah? Why the fear after the tyrants have fallen and the people have attained their freedom? If this democratic regime was imposed upon the people by way of the godless apparatuses of the state, then it is incumbent upon the Muslims to reject it, and their participation in this infidel regime is not permitted. The permitting of voting on these constitutional amendments would open the door before the permitting of the participation of Islamists in democracy, and there is no difference between the practicing thereof and the goal. The participation of Islamists in democracy is a matter that some claim to be the implementation of Islam with the tools of democracy. It is, in reality, nothing but the Islamists' becoming devoid of their religious character. This is what we have seen on the ground.

The callers to God (may He be glorified and exalted) should be an example to the people in rejecting the reality governed by man-made laws and in refusing to trade in it. Indeed, these laws are a tumult sweeping the ummah. They are imposed by the regimes, and they have become deeply tied to the life of the people. Law students, lawyers, and judges have undertaken the establishment of action by these laws, and they number in the hundreds of thousands, if not millions. Thus, if the dealing of the Islamists with these laws is added to that, the calamity would be heightened and the disaster magnified. I think that, even if there is any benefit in the amendment of the constitution, the benefit of refrain from dealing with the laws and constitutions is greater and more useful.

To conclude: We advise the monotheist brothers everywhere to refrain from undertaking political work on the basis of the democratic regime and man-made laws, for it is contrary to Islamic rule, and it is not possible [for Islamic rule] to be reached in this way. We advise them to positive and lawful participation in the politics of the ummah by way of the propagation of virtue and the prevention of vice; by warning Muslims against participation in the democratic regime and in governance by man-made laws; and by calling for the establishment of the rule of Islamic shari'ah by direct means, rather than by going through democratic channels.

If the people turn from their call, this does not permit them to mix with people in falsehood. Rather, they must part ways with falsehood and continue in supplication. They must strive to achieve all of what they aim for of worldly benefits by means in accordance with shari'ah, rather than by polytheistic means. And it is known that those who call for participation in voting on these amendments focus on worldly benefits while neglecting the aspect of monotheism. This is the path taken by all those seduced by democracy. We seek the refuge of God from temptations. I advise the zealous brothers to follow the truth and adhere to seeking shari'ah evidence. Do not let names, positions, and fame lead you away from following the truth. God is All-Knowing. Praise be to God, Lord of all Creation.

[To view the vernacular, click here.]

[Description of Source: Minbar al-Tawhid wal-Jihad in Arabic -- Large repository of radical Salafi religious material; serves as official website for Jordanian Salafi cleric Abu-Muhammad al-Maqdisi, who was once the religious mentor to deceased Al-Qa'ida in Iraq leader AbuMus'ab al-Zarqawi; URL: www.tawhed.ws]

Hani Al-Siba'i Criticizes 'New Salafists' for Attacking Cleric Tariq Abd-al-Halim

GMP20110415136002 Ansar al-Mujahidin Network in Arabic 15 Apr 11

[Article attributed to Dr Hani al-Siba'i, the director of Al-Maqrizi Center for Historical Studies; dated 15 April: "The Salafists Attack Shaykh Tariq Abd-al-Halim Because He Is Not a Satellite Channel Cleric!" -- "Murasil Markaz al-Maqrizi," user number 1950, posted the article.]

Statement Number 32 in 1432, Corresponding to 2011

The People Pretending to be Salafists Attack Shaykh Tariq Abd-al-Halim Because He Is Not a Satellite Channel Cleric!

Written by Dr Hani al-Siba'i

[Al-Siba'i's e-mail address is posted here.]

Director of the Al-Maqrizi Center for Historical Studies,

Praise be to God.

Prayers and peace be upon the Prophet of God.

They attacked him because he is not a satellite channel cleric! They attacked him because they did not know him! They attacked him because he truthfully criticized one of their shaykhs, whom they satisfy to achieve personal interests!

They lashed him with their tongues because he revealed their bad intentions and exposed the weak side of their evidence as they confront the afflictions of the ummah [the community of Muslims worldwide]! Salafists and Salafism are apart from their shaykhs, peers, and a long queue of those who flatter their shaykhs!

This is how the new people pretending to be Salafists dealt with Shaykh Tariq Abd-al-Halim! [The author here spells out "the people

pretending to be Salafists" in Arabic and compares its spelling with the Arabic word that means "opportunists"]. I spelled it out to avoid mixing up the two words! However, those who pretend to be Salafists can be likened to 'opportunists.' They are people pretending to be Salafists, who climb on the back of falsehood, considering that they are speakers of truth!

At any rate, this is how the people pretending to be Salafists dealt with His Eminence, the righteous Shaykh Dr Tariq Abd-al-Halim, who is the grandson of Al-Azhar Shaykh Salim al-Bishri! If these people had been more patient and resorted to the methodology followed by the noble predecessors of assessing the men, they would have understood the enormity of what they did. They have even gone further by slandering Shaykh Tariq Abd-al-Halim! Why did these impudent people move heaven and earth and targeted Shaykh Tariq Abd-al-Halim with their insane words?

This is because His Eminence Shaykh Tariq Abd-al-Halim wrote an article, in which he criticized a declaration by Shaykh Ishaq alHuwayni. Al-Maqrizi Center [for Historical Studies] published this article entitled "Al-Huwayni, between the Salafist Impostors and the Salafism-like preachers," which was sent to us by His Eminence Shaykh Tariq Abd-al-Halim on Tuesday, 9 Jumada al-Awwal 1432, corresponding to 12 April 2011. They acted as if Shaykh Tariq criticized the rulings of Salafism!

It wished they had replied to the repudiation by Shaykh Tariq of the declaration made by Shaykh Al-Huwayni! It seems that they read only the headline of the article and then picked up their pens to write offensive sentences using pseudonyms while hiding behind the keyboards. One of them wrote: "Who is this man? We did not hear about him before." Another one wrote mockingly: "He is living in Canada. How could we learn from a man living in the West?" Some other people wrote insane comments. They all agreed on defending their shaykh with falsehood.

This is how the men are assessed according to the perspectives of those pretending to be Salafists! You have to be a shaykh, who appears on satellite channels! You have to acquire the approval of the State Security [Service] to enable you to be prominent, to be famous, and to speak about the Muslim's affairs! This is the contemporary science of defamation and fabrication according to the judgment of the new trivial people of Salafism!

However, in case you were detested and forced to immigrate in the vast lands of God like Canada, UK, or elsewhere, then, your testimony is distrusted even if you tell the truth! You are disbelieved even if you write the truth, which is concealed by those who live in Mecca or the land of the 1,000 minarets [Cairo].

This is how the men are assessed in the era of semi-men.

The righteous Shaykh, Dr Tariq Abd-al-Halim used to be a da'wah [Islamic call to submit to God] and monotheism writer and lecturer in Egypt in the mid 60's before those misleading people were born. He wrote his useful book "Al-Jawab al-Mufid fi Hukm Jahil al-Tawhid." This book was printed by Al-Madani printing house in Cairo in 1978. There is also the book "Haqiqat al-Iman," printed by the same printing house in Cairo in 1979. Moreover, he has a commentary on the book of Shaykh al-Islam Ibn-Taymiyah "Al-Iman al-Awsat!" He has books in Arabic and English concerning Al-Mu'tazilah [a group of people who believe that the Koran is created and not eternal. This group persecuted Imam Ibn-Hanbal, the father of the Wahhabi doctrine] and Irja and Murji'ah [procrastination]. He also wrote a book to reply to the sedition of Rabi al-Madkhali. Moreover, He wrote a book entitled "Ad'iya al-Salafiyah wal-Rad Ala al-Sufiyah." He wrote "Dawrat fi Usul al-Fiqh" and many other useful books.

Then, those who wander near the threshold of Salafism come to defame Dr Shaykh Tariq Abd-al-Halim.

Those pretenders of being part of Salafism should know that the noble Shaykh Tariq Abd-al-Halim wrote his wonderful book "Al-Qawl al-Mufid Fi Hukm Jahil al-Tawhid" when the teachers of the shaykhs pretending to be Salafists, were playing in the streets of the guarded country [Egypt] or when they were studying the principles of the Islamic religion!

Yes, Shaykh Tariq Abd-al-Halim lives in Canada! He was forced to relocate and to pay the price of his immigration because he was prohibited from living freely in his country Egypt!

He has paid the price of the time of estrangement and his commitment to his religion. Here is his dearest elder son Sharif neither lives in the paradise of the West, nor goes to the pubs of Canada, nor makes friends with its beautiful women! However, he lives behind the bars of the freezing weather in Canada after he had been unjustly sentenced to life imprisonment on the accusation of supporting Islam! This is his son who lives in Canada! Where are the sons of your shaykhs? You have isolated them from defending the honor of Islam while you live in the heart of Islam's homeland!

You have made money, enjoyed fame, and increased your wealth during the ruling of the deposed tyrant Husni Mubarak!

Who licensed the Salafist satellite channels and other channels? Was it not Husni Mubarak's regime? The Salafist shaykhs and their families were living in prosperity and affluence! Yet, the suffering and misery were destined for the Islamists, who oppose the regime of the deposed tyrant! The satellite channels of your shaykhs were open to everyone! None of your shaykhs or their sons was proven to be imprisoned or tortured at the time when the prisons of Egypt were at their full capacity and were filled with the monotheist youth! O those who attack Shaykh Tariq, are you not ashamed of yourselves?

The crime of Shaykh Tariq Abd-al-Halim is that he did not trade his call to God. He was never known of taking advantage of his religion in return for livelihood, although he was able to do so if he wanted! However, he has refused to make a living from his religion and stepped down away from the spotlight of satellite channels, from the ornamented winter and summer camps, and from the gathering around banquets and turbans!

Shaykh Tariq has accepted to distance himself from the herd and we know that the herd was abiding by the orders of the tyrants and chanting the song of surrendering to falsehood using Shari'ah falsejustifications and parts of false and emplaced fatwas in the books of Fiqh, Sunnah biographies, and history, to make the people subjugate to their imposed fate. The imposed fate here is the destined suffering and misery imposed by the ruler and his quislings on this disasterstricken ummah at the hands of its rulers and scholars!

To our Shaykh His Eminence Dr Tariq Abd-al-Halim, I say:

O our shaykh, do not be saddened even if they blare and raise their voices! This is the methodology of prophets and the followers of the messengers!

O our shaykh, do not be saddened!

I allegedly say that those deceivers are living in the coma of domesticated Salafism, which was raised, empowered, and fed by the rulers, who usurped the authority of God on the earth. Your debate with them can be likened to the description made by Al-Mutanabi when he said:

[Start of a poetic verse:]

"If I am slandered by a lowly person, this is evidence that I am up to perfection."

[End of the poetic verse.]

O our Shaykh Dr Tariq Abd-al-Halim, do not be saddened!

You are above them with your word of truth. Your writings are inflicting thunders on the supporters of falsehood!

O our Shaykh, do not be saddened!

Those pretending to be Salafists have taken some shaykhs of Salafism as idols to worship, claiming that they are devoted to science! However, the Shari'ah science is innocent of any connection with them!

Those deceivers pretending to be Salafists, who are attacking you, are inflaming with rage because they are not used or accustomed to the word of truth!

Any fabrication made by any shaykh is a unique method taken by those deceivers to achieve their daily falsehoods

O our Shaykh, do not be saddened!

[Start of a poetic verse:]

"The light will replace the darkness no matter how long the night was prolonged with this darkness."

[End of the poetic verse.]

Al-Maqrizi Center for Historical Studies,

9 Jumada al-Awwal 1432,

15 April 2011.

[A link to the official website of Al-Maqrizi Center for Historical Studies is provided here.]

[To view the vernacular, click here.]

[Description of Source: Ansar al-Mujahidin Network in Arabic -Relatively new Salafi-jihadist web forum with a focus on global jihad, online since 2008; site correspondents reliably post Al-Qa'ida and affiliate messaging; URL: www.as-ansar.com/vb]

Egypt talk show discusses differences between Salafists, Sufists

GMP20110508950034 Cairo Al-Yawm TV in Arabic 1700 GMT 07 May 11

The differences between the Salafists and the Sufists was the main theme of private Al-Yawm TV live discussion programme "On Air" on 7 May. Guests in the studio were Salafist Islamic Call Group Spokesman Abd-al-Mun'im al-Shahat and Chairman of Sufist Burhami Sect Muhammad al-Shahawi.

Al-Shahawi said: "In essence, Sufism and Salafism do not differ... Both recognize Koran and Sunna as their basic sources to understand religion... There are some differences in the ways we understand the Koran and Sunna... The Salafists for example are against Zikr [sessions of extolling god and Prophet Muhammad]. But I say to them: what is the problem in extolling God? I do agree that if Zikr uses banned methods, like music or dancing, this is against Shari'ah and should be condemned. But if it abides by Shari'ah, then it is OK."

Al-Shahat said: "There are differences between Salafism and Sufism. They are known and have been debated for centuries... But what concerns me is that these differences are being brought to the surface

now to incite hatred and cause problems. There are those who want these differences to become public and play a role in creating animosity between people... I think we can say that who benefits from this is the counterrevolution... We can cooperate with the Sufists to get rid of all heresies and to follow the correct and pure religion as exemplified by the prophet and his companions and followers... If they cooperate, most of the problems will be solved".

[Description of Source: Cairo Al-Yawm TV in Arabic --Private satellite channel]

Salafist groups find footing in Egypt after revolution

EUP20110508960008 London BBC News Online in English 1830 GMT 08 May 11

[Collected by webscraper and Auto selected and released without editorial intervention.]

(BBC NEWS ONLINE \ MIDDLE EAST) - While Western governments have long worried about Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, Egyptians are more concerned about the rise of Salafist groups, which have been blamed for a series of violent incidents in rural areas.

The Salafists have denied responsibility.

The Salafists have a strict interpretation of the Koran and believe in creating an Islamic state governed by Sharia law as it was practised by the Prophet Muhammad and enforced by his companions in the 7th Century.

They argue that the Muslim Brotherhood has become too focused on politics at the expense of religion.

“They try to turn Egypt to an Islamic state because they think there is a vacuum”

-

Hala Mustafa Editor, Democracy Review

"An Islamic government is a government that is based on Sharia law", said Abdel Moneem al-Shahat, a rising star of the Salafist satellite TV circuit. "Sharia can't be changed because it comes from the days of Prophet Mohammed."

Egypt's Salafist groups, which started attracting significant support in the 1980s have in the past kept a low profile. But since the revolution they have been much more vocal. Major political force

Their newly found confidence was on display recently at the vast Amr Bin al-As mosque in Cairo.

At a convention after Friday prayers thousands of men sat cross-legged on the floor as senior Salafist clerics spread the word about their desire for an Islamic government.

With no opinion polls in Egypt it is impossible to gauge the strength of the Salafists movement. Some say their percentage support is in single figures, but others are convinced they now constitute a major political force in Egyptian society.

"The Salafist movement is very big in Egypt," said the editor of Cairo's Democracy Review, Hala Mustafa, who recently devoted an issue of her journal to the Salafists. "The number of its members exceeds the members of the Muslim Brotherhood". Continue reading the main story “Start Quote

The Salafists have been brought out from their caves”

End Quote Mona Makram Obeid Ret Prof American Universty in Cairo

Youth activist Shadi el-Ghazaly agrees. "The Salafists have much more influence than the Muslim Brotherhood in rural Egypt," he says. "The Muslim Brotherhood is a political body. The religious body is the Salafists."

In fact the Salafists' exclusively religious outlook is now changing. Even though they came late to the revolution many Salafist groups, which have traditionally steered clear of politics, are now saying they want to participate in the political process.

Salafist satellite TV channels give an indication of their growing influence.

Founded in 2006 by a Saudi businessman, Al Khalajia TV, used to broadcast pop songs and dancing videos. Then the owner wondered whether religious music and Salafi sermons would turn a quicker profit.

Forced world-view

Nowadays it shows bright-eyed boys learning the Koran and often ecstatic bearded clerics demanding Sharia law. It is one of about a dozen religious TV channels broadcasting in Egypt.

Some Egyptians fear the Salafists will try to impose their world-view through force.

In recent days the Salafists have been accused in rural parts of Egypt of cutting off the ear of an alleged pimp, attacking an alcohol shop and smashing up some Sufi shrines on the grounds that they represent a overly superstitious approach to religion and are unislamic. Sufi shrines like this one in Cairo have been targeted by Salafist groups

"Suddenly they have become more violent," said Hala Mustafa. "They try to turn Egypt to an Islamic state because they think there is a vacuum."

Hala Mustafa believes that the Salafists are mistaken to think they can take the revolution from the young, and in many cases more religiously moderate, people who fought for it.

But the Salafists and the secularists in Egypt have such divergent visions of the future that it is hardly surprising they view each other with contempt, mistrust and fear.

Mona Makram Obeid, who once taught political science at the American University in Cairo, believes the mainstream has been galvanised by the Salafists' sudden emergence.

"The Salafists have been brought out from their caves," she said.

"Everyone is frightened. There is a lot of fear in society and a lot of concern."

[Description of Source: London BBC News Online in English -- Website of the publicly-funded BBC carrying up-to-the-minute UK and international news and breaking news, politics, and analysis; URL: http://news.bbc.co.uk]

Egypt's Justice Minister Vows To Defend Peace With 'Iron Fist'

EUP20110508960007 London BBC News Online in English 1830 GMT 08 May 11

[Collected by webscraper and Auto selected and released without editorial intervention.]

(BBC NEWS ONLINE \ MIDDLE EAST) - Egypt's justice minister has warned that those who threaten the country's security will face "an iron fist".

Abdel Aziz al-Gindi was speaking after 10 people died and 186 were wounded during clashes between Muslims and Christians in Cairo.

More than 190 people detained after the fatal clashes will face military trials, Egypt's army says.

The ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces called the move a "deterrent" against further violence.

"The government's hand is not shaking. The government is not weak," Mr Gindi said.

He was speaking after an emergency cabinet meeting convened by Prime Minister Essam Sharaf.

Mr Sharaf postponed a visit to the Gulf to hold the meeting. Continue reading the main story Analysis Jonathan Head BBC News

For months conservative Muslim groups in Egypt have been protesting about the case of Camelia Shehata, the wife of the Coptic priest, who vanished last year. They say she converted to Islam and was being held against her will. But she has now appeared on a TV channel saying she is still a willing Christian.

Last night's attack by a Salafi crowd on the Saint Mena church in Imbaba was about a different woman, who they also allege is being forcibly prevented from converting to Islam.

Prime Minister Essam Shara is sufficiently alarmed by the scale of the violence to cancel his trip to the Gulf.

Some Egyptians believe the military deliberately allows the fighting to continue because it is unwilling to confront the Salafis, who have become more assertive since the fall of President Mubarak. Some believe it is elements of the old regime stirring up trouble. Certainly there are ambitious figures in both communities whose leadership aspirations might benefit from increased strife

Heightened political competition in the run-up to the first postMubarak election in September could well spark off more communal clashes. The interim military government's track record in dealing with them, is not encouraging.

The overnight violence started after several hundred conservative Salafist Muslims gathered outside the Coptic Saint Mena Church in Cairo's Imbaba district.

They were reportedly protesting over allegations that a Christian woman was being held there against her will because she had married a Muslim man and wanted to convert to Islam.

Rival groups threw firebombs and stones, and gunfire was heard.

The church and one other, as well as some nearby homes, were set alight, and it took some hours for the emergency services and the military to bring the situation under control.

"The Supreme Military Council decided to send all those who were arrested in yesterday's events, that is 190 people, to the Supreme Military Court," the Egyptian army announced on its Facebook Page.

It added that it should act as a "deterrent to all those who think of toying with the potential of this nation".

The statement also said that a committee would be set up to assess the damage caused by the clashes and "restore all property and places of worship to how they were".

The army warned of "severe dangers facing Egypt during this phase".

This is not the first outbreak of communal violence since the fall of President Hosni Mubarak in February following weeks of popular protests.

In March, 13 people died in similar clashes in another neighbourhood. Last month, demonstrators in the southern city of Qena cut all transport links with Cairo for a week in protest over the appointment of a Christian governor.

The clashes - coming as the military government leads a faltering transition to democracy - are a worrying development for Egypt, the BBC's Jonathan Head in Cairo says.

Salafist groups - who have made similar claims about women being held against their will before - have become more assertive in the postMubarak era, he adds.

Coptic Christians account for about 10% of Egypt's population, and have long complained of state discrimination against them.

Now they are expressing fears for their safety if hardline Muslims do well in the election scheduled for September, our correspondent reports. Rising toll

Witnesses to Saturday's violence said it began with shouting between protesters, church guards and people living near the church.

A parish priest, Father Hermina, told the AFP news agency that the group had attempted to storm the church earlier in the day.

But one Muslim protester insisted that they had first been fired upon by the Copts.

One person in the area, a blogger called Mahmoud, told the BBC that people who saw the violence break out thought that the perpetrators looked like "regular thugs" rather than Salafists.

He had witnessed the burning of a second church in the same district, al-Azraa, and said that many local people were very upset at the burning of the churches and had spent the night helping the firefighters put the flames out.

BOTh the death and wounded toll kept rising on Sunday morning, with state media putting the latest number of dead at 10 and injured at 186.

Send your pictures and videos to [email protected] or text them to 61124 (UK) or +44 7725 100 100 (International). If you have a large file you can upload here.

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[Description of Source: London BBC News Online in English -- Website of the publicly-funded BBC carrying up-to-the-minute UK and international news and breaking news, politics, and analysis; URL: http://news.bbc.co.uk]

BBC Monitoring: Egyptian Media Fear Societal Meltdown After Clashes

GMP20110509950035 Caversham BBC Monitoring in English 1500 GMT 09 May 11

[Media roundup by BBC Monitoring on 9 May]

Recent clashes in Egypt between Salafist Muslims and Coptic Christians which killed 12 people and left some 180 others wounded have been depicted in the Egyptian media as threatening the very core of society. Rather than discussing it as an isolated problem between two minority groups, the media gave the sense that sectarian violence was an issue to be put down immediately - or else risk all the gains of the revolution.

The main outbreak of violence happened in the Al-Jizah governate south of Cairo on 7 May, when Salafists gathered outside Marmina Church in Imbabah district to demand the release of a woman they allege is being held against her will because she had married a Muslim man and wanted to convert to Islam.

Egypt's justice minister Muhammad Abd-al-Aziz al-Jindi has warned after an urgent cabinet session that those who threaten the country's security will face an "iron fist".

Egypt "in real danger" - press

The press took the clashes very seriously indeed. All Egyptian newspapers on 9 May - state-owned, independent and opposition devoted major sections to the violence on the weekend, using very strong language to describe their fears. Al-Ahram, a state-owned daily, went so far as to say that "what is going on will take Egypt to the abyss of chaos and will turn it into another Somalia or a new Afghanistan".

Headlines spoke of a sense of extreme anxiety, repeatedly describing the violence as a fire burning out of control. "Extremism burns the revolution"", said one independent newspaper, while others read: "The spectre of Salafism burns Egypt", "Imbabah's fire burns Egypt's heart", and "Civil war in Imbabah".

State-owned dailies took a sterner line, warning of "execution to those who trigger sedition" and "We will not allow Egypt to collapse".

"Egypt is in real danger," Muhammad Mustafa Shirdi wrote in Al-Wafd daily.

Responding to views that have been circulating on social media, writer Majdi al-Jallad of the privately-owned daily Al-Misri al-Yawm said, "Do not deceive yourselves; what has been happening is neither a counter-revolution nor a conspiracy by the remnants of the former regime. It is made by our own hands."

Another writer favoured the deterrent approach of a crackdown. "We should never leave those criminals without harsh punishment," Muhammad Barakat wrote in the state-owned daily Al-Akhbar, adding that such people would push Egypt towards what he called "the labyrinths of sedition".

Crackdown needed - TV

State-run Nile News TV ran a talk show in which Salafist Muslims were depicted as outsiders. Host Muhammad Kamal Imam said that Salafists and other hard-line groups in society "reject everything in society their family, their ruler, ordinary people" and "isolate themselves from society".

A video report on Nile emphasized the need to arrest people and the fact that 190 had already been referred to military court. The report concluded by saying that "national unity is a red line that should not be crossed," urging Muslims and Christians to "protect the Egyptian revolution".

Nile gave a favourable account of the emergency cabinet meeting called to quell the violence, saying it was a "turning point in the Egyptian government's action in confronting hooliganism".

Nile TV featured a Coptic writer as a guest on a talk show, Hani Labib, who rejected the Egyptian interior ministry's statement that it was a Copt cafowner who fired the first shot in the clashes affecting Marmina.

Similarly, state-run Channel 1 TV gave air time to a sit-in staged by Coptic Christians outside their building. It said the protesters were "demanding deterrent punishment" and trials of those involved in the violence.

Message to leave Egypt not heeded - Coptic website

Absence of the rule of law was the main complaint on the Copts United website. Writer Wakil Subhi conveyed a sense of frustration that Copts were not being protected. "The Egyptian armed forces cannot confront or stop organized outlaws and this is an undisputable fact. The evidence is that the army resorted to the help of shaykhs and 'informal sessions'" rather than enforce the law, he said.

Another writer on the website, Murad Muris, said Copts were getting a "clear message from the Salafists and the MB [Muslim Brotherhood] that you have to accept the application of Islamic Shari'ah ... or else flee Egypt to any of the infidel Western countries like the US or Canada". He added that the Coptic community "will not leave our precious country Egypt".

The Muslim Brotherhood's website Ikhwanonline, however, distanced itself from involvement in the clashes, saying in a statement that "The MB condemns blind fanaticism and some people's attempts to solve their problems away from the law." While not singling out any groups by name, it pointed to "external forces and internal segments whose interests have been threatened ... by the Egyptian people's blessed revolution" and said that the clashes represented the peak of these "unfortunate conspiracies".

"Thugs", former regime elements to blame - social media

Social media users exchanged angry comments and disagreed over who to blame for the violence, and posted video clips to bolster their views.

Some YouTube clips attempted to piece together how the incidents at Marmina church may have started. One 41-second video posted by "moriatte" on 7 May was filmed at night and showed a man with a beard wearing a white gown, the traditional uniform of Salafists, who said the clashes started when "Salafi brothers" went to investigate reports of a Muslim woman held by Christians inside the church". A crowd could be heard denying that the Salafists were armed.

Voices on Twitter variously blamed "thugs", the former regime, or the military council. Several people tweeted that the military council had referred 190 people to a court martial. But user mansourtalk expressed doubt about the council. "I am fully convinced that the Imbabah incidents yesterday would not have happened without the military council's consent," he tweeted.

User MagedMes blamed "retaliatory reaction by the remnants" of the former regime who he said were displeased by the prison sentence handed down to the former interior minister, Habib al-Adli.

Facebook groups reacted angrily to the violence. Several users expressed support for the army. "We trust the Armed Forces," said user Kawthar Shawali. A Facebook group entitled "the official page of the coalition for supporting new Muslims" (url: http://www.facebook.com/NewMuslimsRights), posted the military council's statement on its wall. The group had 23,470 likes at 1030 gmt on 8 May. Commenting on the incidents, user Mohamed Adly warned of "being dragged into the Christians' plan to distort this religion [Islam]". User Mohamed Fathy called for searching churches. However, other users urged wisdom and called for dealing with both sides on an equal footing.

Some users blamed foreign interference, such as Mohamed Hamoksha who said that "Israeli hands" were working to foment conflict in Egypt.

[Description of Source: Caversham BBC Monitoring in English -Monitoring service of the BBC, the United Kingdom's public service broadcaster]

Eyewitnesses recount story of sectarian clashes in Egypt in talk show

GMP20110509950056 Cairo Al-Yawm TV in Arabic 1930 GMT 08 May 11

The Muslim-Coptic clashes in Imbabah neighbourhood in Al-Jizah governorate (south of Cairo) was the main theme of private Al-Yawm TV live discussion programme "Cairo Today" on 8 May.

The programme's presenters interviewed over the telephone two eyewitnesses from Imbabah.

Ahmad Na'im, a salafist, told the channel that the story had begun when a woman called some Salafist Shaykhs over the telephone urging them to rescue her as she claimed she was held in a church in Imbabah by her brothers who denied her right to become a Muslim. "Two Salafist shaykhs went to the church aiming to carry out peaceful negotiations with the church's pastors... A person from the church responded harshly saying 'we want to ignite the situation," said Na'im.

Na'im said: "Immediately after that, shooting with live ammunition started from inside the church." "Muslims had to defend themselves... I have to say that Muslims in Egypt are the ones who are oppressed not the Copts. Have you ever heard about a priest being dragged to the State Security Investigation Department headquarters to be tortured? This never happens to Copts. It only happens to Islamists," he stressed.

Usamah al-Ma'zuz, a Copt from Imbabah, told the channel that he did not know why "these problems always happen to us. What did we do to the Salafists form them to attack us?" Al-Ma'zuz told the channel's presenter the same story that Na'im recounted, but with one important difference, namely that the Muslims were the ones who started shooting and that the Copts reacted with sticks and their bare hands without using live ammunition.

[Description of Source: Cairo Al-Yawm TV in Arabic --Private satellite channel]

Egypt Christians protest in Cairo after church attack

EUP20110510960015 London BBC News Online in English 1238 GMT 10 May 11

[Collected by webscraper and Auto selected and released without editorial intervention.]

(BBC NEWS ONLINE \ MIDDLE EAST) - Christians in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, are holding a protest vigil near Tahrir Square following an attack on two churches in which 12 people died.

More than 180 were wounded in clashes on Saturday after conservative Muslims attacked a church in the Imbaba area.

Protesters have gathered outside the country's state television, accusing the army of failing to protect them.

Egypt's army says more than 190 people detained after the violence will face military trials.

The ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces called the move a "deterrent" against further violence.

Egypt's justice minister Abdel Aziz al-Gindi has warned that those who threaten the country's security will face "an iron fist". Fire bombs

He spoke after an emergency cabinet meeting convened by Prime Minister Essam Sharaf, who postponed a visit to the Gulf to hold the talks.

Mr Gindi said the government would "immediately and firmly implement the laws that criminalise attacks against places of worship and freedom of belief", which would allow for the death penalty to be applied. Continue reading the main story

In pictures: Egypt's Christians and Muslims clash

Saturday's violence started after several hundred conservative Salafist Muslims gathered outside the Coptic Saint Mena Church in Cairo's Imbaba district.

They were reportedly protesting over the allegation that a Christian woman, named as Abeer, was being held there against her will because she had married a Muslim man and converted to Islam.

The calls for this protest followed the appearance on a Christian TV channel of Camilia Shehata, a woman who Islamists had claimed was also being held against her will after converting to Islam. She denied this in the TV interview.

Witnesses said the confrontation began with shouting between protesters, church guards and people living near the church.

Rival groups threw firebombs and stones, and gunfire was heard.

The church and one other, as well as some nearby homes, were set alight, and it took hours for the emergency services and the military to bring the situation under control.

Christian leaders have declared three days of mourning for those who died in Saturday's violence.

On Sunday, hundreds gathered outside the main state television building, calling for the removal of Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, who leads Egypt's ruling military council.

When they were met by a group of Muslims, fights again broke out and the two groups pelted each other with stones.

The Christian mourners have now gathered outside state television for a second day. The BBC's Jonathan Head, in Cairo, says the protesters are angry with the army for failing to protect them.

Military authorities are promising tougher measures against anyone who attacks a place of worship, but such promise have been made before, to little effect, says our correspondent.

Egypt is experiencing a security vacuum since the departure of ousted President Hosni Mubarak, with the discredited police staying out of communal conflicts.

Hard-line Salafi Muslim groups were rarely seen in the days of Mubarak, but now they are now able to mount aggressive demonstrations against perceived threats to Islam, straining community relations, our correspondent says. Sectarian clashes

On its Facebook page, the Egyptian army announced: "The Supreme Military Council decided to send all those who were arrested in yesterday's events, that is 190 people, to the Supreme Military Court."

It added that it should act as a "deterrent to all those who think of toying with the potential of this nation".

The statement also said that a committee would be set up to assess the damage caused by the clashes and "restore all property and places of worship to how they were".

Saturday's clashes were not the first outbreak of communal violence since President Mubarak left office in February following weeks of popular protests.

During the protests in Cairo, many Christians and Muslims had protested alongside each other and protected each other during prayer times.

But in March, 13 people died in sectarian clashes in another neighbourhood. Last month, demonstrators in the southern city of Qena cut all transport links with Cairo for a week in protest over the appointment of a Christian governor.

[Description of Source: London BBC News Online in English -- Website of the publicly-funded BBC carrying up-to-the-minute UK and international news and breaking news, politics, and analysis; URL: http://news.bbc.co.uk]

Egyptian Salafist Calls For Delaying March To Apply Islamic Law

GMP20110619950020 Cairo MENA Online in English 1647 GMT 19 Jun 11

Text of report by Egyptian state-run news agency MENA website

Cairo, 19 June: An Egyptian Salafist leader Sunday [19 June] called for delaying a one million-man march, set for Friday, the 1st of July, in Tahrir Square in central Cairo under the rubric "One-Million-man March to Apply Shari'ah or Islamic law."

In a statement, a copy of which was obtained by MENA on Sunday evening, Shaykh Yasir Burhami, the Salafist leader in Alexandria, explained that some would say the march was only attended by a few demanding the application of Islamic Shari'ah, which, he added, could be harmful to the very call for applying the Islamic law.

So, he urged the postponement of the demonstration pending a consensus by Islamic scholars on the viability of the one-million marches, especially as people in Egypt have started to question their credibility as a means of expression.

[Description of Source: Cairo MENA Online in English -- Government news agency; URL: http://www.mena.org.eg]

Scholar Abu-al-Mundhir Al-Shinqiti Issues Fatwa on Seeking Knowledge, Jihad

GMP20110622140003 Minbar al-Tawhid wal-Jihad in Arabic 21 Jun 11

[Fatwa attributed to Abu-al-Mundhir al-Shinqiti; date not given: "Should I Travel To Seek Knowledge or Wait for an Opportunity To Perform Jihad?" -- The fatwa was observed on 21 June]

May God's peace, mercy, and blessings be upon you

May God bless you and grant you a place in Paradise, O our honorable scholars. God is our witness that we love you for His sake.

It is no secret for Your Eminence that the countries of Muslims are witnessing blessed revolutions that are considered to be a relief for those who have chosen to follow the path of obeying God. Praise be to God that we implore for Him to set the stage for opening a front in any of the countries witnessing revolutions. Although we are in the lookout for that opportunity to come, God willing, God has opened a door for travelling to seek knowledge in the Land of Quiver [Egypt] from the scholars of Alexandria. However, I am hesitant about accepting [to go] so as not to miss the opportunity of performing jihad in the cause of God in case it became possible.

Therefore, I seek your opinion, may God bless you. I would like to know if I should go to seek knowledge as God may use us to spread the truth or I should reject and do my best to learn alone using the books and audio tapes that are available online.

May God bless, guard, and protect you and lead your steps on the right path.

May God's peace, mercy, and blessings be upon you.

Question by:

Answer by: Jihad]

Abu Jihed [name as published]

The Shari'ah Commission of the Minbar [Al-Tawhid wal-

In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate,

Praise be to God.

May God's prayers be upon His noble Prophet and upon his household and all his companions.

You should have mentioned your place of residence, my honorable brother. This is important to have a clear picture of the situation.

Anyway, it is always necessary to seek knowledge and prepare for jihad in the same time. Some people today want to separate between knowledge and jihad. This divides Salafism into two categories, which are scientific Salafism and jihadist Salafism.

I swear by God that scientific Salafism is of no importance if it is not jihadist. Likewise, jihadist Salafism is of no importance if it is not scientific. Lawful jihad is based only on scientific fundamentals. In addition, knowledge is of no value unless it promotes jihad. Thus, any believer devoted to goodness, must be scientific jihadist Salafist Muslim. This means that you should be on the lookout for any opportunity to be recruited for jihad whenever possible and you have to be ready for that.

It is narrated by Muslim on the authority of Abu-Hurayrah that the Messenger of God, prayers and peace be upon him, said: "One of the best of livelihoods that people can have is that of a man who holds the reins of his horse in the way of God, hastening on its back, and whenever he hears the sound of war or alarm, he flies to it looking for either the killing or the death that he will find there."

Be always ready to be recruited so as to be among the encamped, even if by intention. Jihad is destined for who intends it but fails to go for it. This is evident in what Al-Bukhari narrated on the authority of Anas Bin-Malik, may God be pleased with him, who said: "God's Prophet, prayers and peace be upon him, returned from the battle of Tabuk and when he approached Medina, he said: 'Some people have stayed behind in Medina but they were accompanying you in every ravine and valley you travelled through.' They said: 'O Messenger of God, [were they accompanying us] while they were in Medina?' He said: 'Yes, an excuse prevented them from coming.'"

In addition, whoever truthfully seeks martyrdom, God will bestow him with the rank of martyrs. This is evident in what Muslim narrated on the authority of Sahl Bin-Abi-Umamah Bin-Sahl Bin-Hanif from his father from his grandfather. Muslim reported that Prophet Muhammad said: "If someone asks God Almighty for martyrdom with true sincerity, God will raise him to the level of martyrs, even if he dies in his bed."

In the same time, one should strive to seek the available knowledge, and to use all the available means to reach this end. This is to comply with the saying of the Prophet, may God's prayers be upon him: "Strive for what benefits you, seek God's assistance, and do not deem yourself incapable."

The audio lessons are of use and great impact. have benefited a lot from it.

God knows best.

Praise be to God Almighty.

Answer by:

Abu-al-Mundhir al-Shinqiti

Many knowledge-seekers

Member of the Shari'ah Commission

[To view the vernacular, click here.]

[Description of Source: Minbar al-Tawhid wal-Jihad in Arabic -- Large repository of radical Salafi religious material; serves as official website for Jordanian Salafi cleric Abu-Muhammad al-Maqdisi, who was once the religious mentor to deceased Al-Qa'ida in Iraq leader AbuMus'ab al-Zarqawi; URL: www.tawhed.ws]

Egyptian Salafist Nur Party Undecided Over Presidential Race

GMP20110624950022 Cairo MENA Online in English 0952 GMT 24 Jun 11

Text of report by Egyptian state-run news agency MENA website

Alexandria, 24 June: The Salafist Al-Nur (The Light) Party is still undecided about which candidate it will be supporting in the coming presidential race.

"We don't intend to run in the coming presidential elections and we still have not got our mind set on the presidential candidate that would be worthy of our support," according the nascent party's spokesman Yusri Hammad.

"The sure thing is that we will lend our support to any candidate who will express the ambitions of all Egyptians," he said.

"We are open to joining any coalition and cooperating with any political power that seeks to serve the good of this nation and abides by the sublime religious principles that call for love and tolerance."

"For us in Al-Nur party, one of our major objectives is to follow closely the performance of the head of the regime and help him with

our advice. Another objective is fighting corruption which is key to the change of the community," he said.

The party rejects violence in all its forms, he asserted.

[Description of Source: Cairo MENA Online in English -- Government news agency; URL: http://www.mena.org.eg]

Egyptian Liberal Groups Withdraw From Suez Protest After Salafists Took Over

GMP20110729950016 Cairo MENA Online in English 1058 GMT 29 Jul 11

Text of report by Egyptian state-run news agency MENA website

Suez City, 29 July: A number of political parties and the Suez revolutionary coalition announced they would not partake in the protests in the Arba'in Square after Islamist and Salafist groups rejected to coordinate with them.

The Islamists and Salafists also started attacking liberals and seculars in statements distributed in Suez.

Those groups have taken many steps to ensure that the largest possible number of their members join the protests, like distributing their preachers among the mosques to encourage the people to head to the main squares.

Meanwhile, Ali Amin, a senior leader at Al-Wafd Party, said a large number of parties decided not to join the protests after religious groups insisted to hold slogans that repulsed them.

Anyone wandering in Suez's streets will see the eyesore banners of the Salafists and other religious groups, calling for establishing a religious state, Amin said.

The Suez revolutionaries and political youth are now attempting to travel to Cairo to partake in the protests in Tahrir Square.

[Description of Source: Cairo MENA Online in English -- Government news agency; URL: http://www.mena.org.eg]

Egypt uprising: Islamists lead Tahrir Square rally

EUP20110729960009 London BBC News Online in English 1840 GMT 29 Jul 11

[Collected by webscraper and Auto selected and released without editorial intervention.]

(BBC News Online \ Middle East) - Tens of thousands of people have packed Cairo's Tahrir Square, after the first call by Islamist leaders for nationwide demonstrations since President Hosni Mubarak was overthrown in February.

Many protesters - dominated by Muslim Brotherhood supporters - are calling for an Islamic state and Sharia law.

Correspondents say the rallies will be a worrying development for secularists.

The Brotherhood is the most organised political force in Egypt, although it was not prominent in the revolution.

Tensions have been running high between Egypt's Islamist and secular groups, who are at odds over the transition to democracy in the Arab world's most populated country. Turning point?

Liberal groups first want guarantees of a constitution that will protect religious freedom and personal rights, whereas Islamists want speedy elections and a recognition of Islam - in one form or another in the new Egyptian state.

Now, the Islamists want their voice to be heard and are showing their muscle for the first time since Mr Mubarak stepped down on 11 February, says the BBC's Jon Leyne in Cairo.

Although the Muslim Brotherhood can turn out huge crowds by rallying its supporters at mosques, it does not necessarily represent the majority of Egyptians and is predicted to win around 20% of the vote in an election, our correspondent says.

There was little sign of any secular groups at Friday's rally, he says, adding that it will be interesting to see how they re-group after today's events.

Since early July, the mainly secular protesters had camped out in Tahrir Square - the epicentre of protests that toppled Mr Mubarak - to denounce the ruling military council over the slow pace of reform.

Islamist groups had for the most part stayed away from the sit-in. Last week, they held their own demonstration and accused the Tahrir protesters of going against the country's "Islamic identity", the AFP news agency reports.

But with Islamists and the more conservative Salafist groups now filling Tahrir Square, it could mark a turning point in Egypt's postrevolution period, our correspondent says.

[Description of Source: London BBC News Online in English -- Website of the publicly-funded BBC carrying up-to-the-minute UK and

international news and breaking news, politics, and analysis; URL: http://news.bbc.co.uk]

Egyptian Salafist Group Denounces Al Arish Attack, Denies Involvement

GMP20110802950015 Cairo MENA Online in English 1106 GMT 02 Aug 11

Egyptian Salafist group denounces Al-Arish attack, denies involvement

Text of report by Egyptian state-run news agency MENA website

Al-Arish, Egypt, 2 Aug: The Salafist group in North Sinai deplored on Tuesday a recent attack in Al-Arish that left 25 dead and injured.

Addressing a conference on the recent incidents in the city, senior leaders of the group denied any involvement in the attack. Political activist Mustafa Azzam said the rally organized by the group on Friday before the attack was peaceful.

Dr. Ammar Salih Judah, another activist of the group, recalled that it combated thugs during the security vacuum at the height of the 25 January revolution.

[Description of Source: Cairo MENA Online in English -- Government news agency; URL: http://www.mena.org.eg]

Second night of Israeli strikes on Gaza after rocket fire

EUP20110805960007 London BBC News Online in English 1630 GMT 05 Aug 11

[Collected by webscraper and Auto selected and released without editorial intervention.]

(BBC News Online \ Middle East) - Israel has carried out a second night of air strikes against targets in the Gaza Strip.

Palestinians say one of the targets was a training facility for the military wing of Hamas, and smuggling tunnels along the Egypt border were hit.

Medical sources say five people were injured in the attacks.

The Israeli strikes took place hours after Palestinian militants fired rockets at an Israeli town situated 30km from the Gaza-Israel border.

Recent weeks have seen an increase in mortar and rocket fire from Gaza after months of relative calm.

Israeli army sources say that since Wednesday Grad rockets were fired near the towns of Kiryat Gat, Ashkelon and Lachish. They landed in open areas and no-one was hurt.

However on Monday, an Israeli Bedouin woman was lightly wounded by shrapnel when a rocket fired from Gaza exploded near Ashkelon.

The last major escalation of violence in and around Gaza followed an incident in April when an Israeli school bus was hit by a missile fired from the Palestinian territory. An Israeli teenager later died from his injuries.

Israel responded to that attack with a series of air strikes that killed at least 19 Palestinians. It was the deadliest violence since Israel's 22-day devastating assault on Gaza between December 2008 and January 2009.

Since then the resumption of an uneasy and informal truce has kept attacks by both sides to a minimum. Hamas blamed

A small Salafist militant group, which did not agree to a ceasefire, has claimed responsibility for firing the latest rockets. Hamas, which governs Gaza, is said to have reined in most such groups. One woman was taken to hospital after she was injured by Gaza rocket fire on Monday

Israel says it holds Hamas responsible for all attacks coming out of the Palestinian territory, even if other militant groups carry them out.

Reports said that the latest air strikes hit a training facility for al-Qassem Brigades, the military wing of Hamas.

A chicken farm near Deir al-Balah in central Gaza was also targeted as well as tunnels near the southern town of Rafah.

The Israelis charge that Grad rockets are smuggled into Gaza through tunnels under the border with Egypt along with other contraband.

Grad rockets have a longer range than the homemade rockets Gaza militants often fire at southern Israel.

[Description of Source: London BBC News Online in English -- Website of the publicly-funded BBC carrying up-to-the-minute UK and international news and breaking news, politics, and analysis; URL: http://news.bbc.co.uk]

Al-Ahram Weekly Profiles Egypt's Salafis

GMP20110513839001 Cairo Al-Ahram Weekly Online in English 12 May 11 18 May 11

[Article by Amani Maged: "Salafism: The unknown quantity." Subheading: "Sectarian incidents like the burning of churches in Imbaba have put the spotlight on Salafis. Who are they, and what do they espouse, asks Amani Maged."]

Who exactly are the Salafis? What kinds of them are there? What is their relationship to the government and what is their political future? Some have announced that they plan to establish political parties. How will recent events affect their popularity?

It appears that Salafis come in various shades. They do not rally behind a single leader, such as the Muslim Brotherhood or Al-Gamaa AlIslamiya. Rather, they have a collection of sheikhs, each of which has its own following, and they have their own associations.

The history of Salafism in Egypt dates to the height of the university student movements in the 1970s, which is when Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya first made its appearance. Although most of the members of this society signed up with the Muslim Brotherhood, a significant number moved in another direction. This applies in particular to the Islamist students in Alexandria University who were influenced by Salafi thought that hailed from Saudi Arabia and was transmitted primarily by Al-Azhar university professors. Instead of joining the Muslim Brotherhood after withdrawing from Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya, such individuals, most known among who was Mohamed Ismail Al-Muqaddam, formed a kernel of Salafism that began to grow as more and more students were attracted to that school of thought.

The competition between Salafi youth and the Muslim Brothers to attract students and dominate mosques grew increasingly intense, culminating in the violent clash of 1980. Subsequently, the Salafis decided to operate more systematically. They created the "Salafist School", headed by Mohamed Abdel-Fattah (aka Abu Idris). Then, following several years of grassroots work, they changed its name to the Salafist Calling. By this time, their following grew to hundreds of thousands spread across the entire country, although they were better known as the Salafis of Alexandria, Egypt's northern port city being the starting point for some of the best known Salafi leaders, notably Mohamed Ismail Al-Muqaddam, Ahmed Farid, Said Abdel-Azim, Mohamed Abdel-Fattah, Yasser Brahimi, Ahmed Hatiba, Abdel-Moneim ElShahat, Mahmoud Abdel-Hamid and Abu Idris.

While there are many shades of Salafism, for the most part they can be divided into two primary aspects: the ideological and the organisational. The former, according to Salah El-Adl, a professor at Al-Azhar University and specialist on Islamic movements and schools of thought, consists of three groups. One he terms the scholastic Salafis

who, as noted above, founded the Salafist Calling in Alexandria in the 1970s and now number in the hundreds of thousands. With branches in virtually every governorate, they are headed by sheikhs who generally work closely together. Although they were opposed to the 25 January Revolution, they have since become increasingly active in the social and political domains. Prior to 25 January, they were prohibited from interacting with the public, and state security forces would round up hundreds of their activists. Now that they enjoy greater freedom, they have moved into the open, proselytising in the streets, holding conferences and occupying mosques, the most recent example of which occurred when Salafis moved to restore control of the Nour Mosque to the control of Sheikh Hafez Salama, leader of the popular resistance in the governorate of Suez.

The second group, which El-Adl calls the activist Salafis, also trace their beginnings to the 1970s, but to the populous Shubra district in Cairo. Their most prominent sheikh was Fawzi El-Said and other major leaders included Mohamed Abdel-Maqsoud, Sayed El-Arabi and Sheikh Nashaat Ibrahim. Like their Alexandrian counterparts, the activists subscribe to the belief that a ruler is heretic if he does not govern by God's decrees, a belief that they proclaim openly in their sermonising. Yet, while they also criticise the lack of the veil, bodily display and other such forms of corruption in society as manifestations of jahiliya, or the state of ignorance of divine guidance, they do not go so far as to condemn t hem as heresy. They also maintain that the slightest departure from the Sharia of Islam is bidaa -- an innovation, and hence heretical.

These Salafis had formerly refused to participate in democratic elections. Democracy and parliaments were heresies. They had long argued that parliamentary democracy differed from the Islamic concept of shura (consultation) because it did not take God's law as its authority. However, they have since backtracked and now approve of participation in the democratic process. In fact, they were particularly active in the run- up to the referendum on the constitutional amendments and they have announced that they would support the Muslim Brotherhood and Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya candidates who agree with their reformist vision. Moreover, some Salafis have decided to form political parties.

The third group consists of "jihadists", a term that is generally applied to radical Islamist groups that espouse violence as a means to bring about change. The jihadist Salafis take their inspiration from leaders of the first generations of Islam, or the "pious forefathers", for whom jihad -- holy war -- was a pillar of the creed. They hold that a pious Muslim is duty-bound to fight governments and rulers who do not apply Islamic law and the principle of the dominion of God, and who also ally with non-Muslim countries that make war on Muslim peoples and occupy Muslim territories. Sayed Qotb is regarded as the father of modern jihadist Salafi thought. The movement's most famous leaders are the billionaire founder of Al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, who was recently assassinated by the United States, and the Egyptian

physician Ayman El-Zawahri, and two of its most notorious ideological mentors are Abu Mohamed Al-Maqdisi and Abu Qatada Al-Filistini.

The organisational side of the Salafis also has several branches or institutions, most notably the Ansar Al-Sunna Al-Mohamediya Society (the Followers of the Sunna of the Prophet Mohamed), founded by Sheikh Mohamed Hamed El-Fiqi, an Al-Azhar scholar. The society advocates a staunch monotheism and strict adherence to the Sunna, as understood by the Companions of the Prophet, and to Quranic scripture. It is, therefore, opposed to practices that are based on superstition and calls for an all-embracing Islam the embraces both faith and society, and the mode of worship and the mode of rule.

A precursor of the Ansar Al-Sunna Al-Mohamediya is Al-Gamiya Al-Sharia for the cooperation between kuttab (religious elementary schools) workers, established by Sheikh Mahmoud Khattab El-Sobki in 1912. Still active in the social domain in Egypt, its aims are to teach and promote adherence to the Sunna. With branches throughout the country, it offers one of the most prominent and influential charity and philanthropic networks in Egypt. Its current director is Mahmoud ElMokhtar Mohamed El-Mahdi, an Al-Azhar scholar. The society, together with its various mosques and religious academies, is registered with the Ministry of Social Affairs, operates in accordance with the law and is, therefore, accepted by national security.

The third organisational form of Salafism is Wahhabism. Originating in Saudi Arabia and first introduced into Egypt more than a quarter of a century ago, Wahhabism acquired increasing currency in Egypt with the return of Egyptian workers following the Gulf War in 1991.

Another major trend in Salafism is what we might call the independents that surfaced on religious satellite television stations. They are united solely by a common fondness for the teachings of one or another of several sheikhs who appear on these programmes, such as Sheikh Mohamed Hassan, Sheikh Mohamed Hussein Yaqoub, Sheikh Abu Ishaq ElHoweini, Al-Azhar professor of Islamic jurisprudence Osama Abdel-Azim and Sheikh Mustafa El-Adawi. According to the expert on political Islam, Sayed Abdel-Fattah El-Wagdi, adherents of this trend generally subscribe to the principle of reform from the bottom-up, which is to say changing the self first. Reform, in this case, means to purif y the faith of all innovation, and its advocates tend to engage in various forms of proselytising activities, such as teaching in mosques, producing cassette tapes and preaching on satellite television programmes.

The Salafis have begun to play important roles in sectarian affairs. It is significant, for example, that the Higher Council of the Armed Forces asked the well-known Salafi Sheikh Mohamed Hassan to go to Atfeeh in order to help resolve the sectarian crisis that had erupted

in that neighbourhood of Helwan last month. The highly influential sheikh has also participated in other mass action activities recently. Nor should we forget the part the Salafis played in the campaign in favour of a "yes" vote in the referendum on the constitutional amendments, which they cast as a means to protect the state and safeguard constitutional Article 2, regardless of the fact that this article had not even come up for discussion yet. In a sermon following the referendum, Sheikh Mohamed Hussein Yaqoub described results as a "victory in the raid of the ballot boxes".

There is a general tendency to confuse the whole of Salafism with Wahhabism. The Shia and Sufis in Egypt frequently accuse Salafis of obtaining financial support from Saudi Arabia. In fact, Wahhabism, which was founded by Sheikh Mohamed Abdel-Wahab in Saudi Arabia, is not the same as the Egyptian Salafist movement, even though some Wahhabists like to encourage the confusion between the two. Technically, Wahhabism goes no further than its founder but its followers have used the term "Salafism" to give the impression that they are spiritually connected to the pious forefathers and that they are the guardians of the Salafist creed. Ideologically, however, it cannot be denied that a portion of the Salafist creed has its roots in Wahhabist soil.

While one might find the main divisions and overlaps between the various Salafist branches and outlooks confusing, it is palpably clear that the Salafi genie has burst from the lantern that the security agencies had once kept tightly corked. Although the regime had used the Salafis in the 1980s and 1990s as a means to counter the Muslim Brotherhood, it succeeded in bringing them under control again. Then, however, it offered them outlets on satellite television, primarily in order to distract public attention from major political issues by focussing their attention on religiously lawful or proscribed food and clothing. Indeed, one recalls programmes in which viewers would phone in to ask a sheikh such questions as whether it was lawful to purchase a watermelon that had been cut open to reveal the colour of its flesh, or why it was forbidden to force feed ducks when a mother force feeds her children, or whether using beer yeast to make bread would induce intoxication. As the scholar of Salafist movements Ammar Ali Hassan put it, the Salafi emphasis on the formalities in religious observance became an obsession that left the Egyptian intellect in the lurch, making it all the easier for the "conversion of a Coptic woman" to become the gateway to sectarian strife and acts of sabotage.

Without a doubt, the Salafis and their influence on the public benefited from the vacuum created by the long absence of Al-Azhar as a social force and major shaper of public opinion. Although it is clear that Al-Azhar was not responsible for the Imbaba incident, Al-Azhar Sheikh Ahmed El-Tayeb nevertheless felt it urgent to meet with Sheikh Mohamed Hassan on Tuesday in an attempt to promote Salafist ideological revisions, preparatory to a general conference that would include all Islamist movements in Egypt. The question remains as to how the Salafis' popularity will be affected by the recent events. Will these events enhance their prospects in the forthcoming elections

or those of their rivals? Will their parties be able to compete or will they have to raise the white flag? Developments over the coming days will shed much light on such questions.

[Description of Source: Cairo Al-Ahram Weekly Online in English -State-owned weekly; URL: http://www.ahram.org.eg/weekly]

BBCM: Egypt -- Post-Revolution Position of Salafists Viewed

GMP20110518950037 Caversham BBC Monitoring in English 18 May 11

[Background briefing by BBC Monitoring: "Non-Jihadist Salafism In Egypt After 'Revolution'"]

The relation of Egyptian non-Jihadist Salafist currents to politics has always been distant but the 25 January "revolution" allowed, or even forced, them to take sides; some were present in Al-Tahrir Square, others were defending the regime.

Most Salafist currents and many of the prominent Salafist preachers urged the Egyptians to vote yes in the referendum on the constitutional amendments on 19 March 2011. This, among other things, indicates non-Jihadist Salafism in Egypt is in the process of redefining its relation to politics.

Neo-Salafism - background

There are four neo-Salafist currents on the rise in Egypt: the Salafist Call (Al-Da'wah al-Salafiyah), the Movementist Salafism (AlSalafiyah al-Harakiyah), the Madkhalist Salafism (Al-Salafiyah alMadkhaliyah) and the independent Salafists.

An expert on Islamist movements, Husam Tammam, argues that the Salafist Call is "the most independent Salafist current in Egypt".

"The Salafist Call's relation with the state has been strained most of the time," he says. (Al-Shuruq privately-owned daily newspaper, 5 March).

The Call has always sought to establish organizational forms that are not under state control because it considers the state and its institutions "un-Islamic". The Call is also against any involvement in politics.

Three of the most influential Salafist preachers belong loosely to the Call: Muhammad Hassan, Muhammad Husayn Yaqub and Abu-Ishak al-Huwayni. The group currently claims hundreds of thousands of followers.

With the exception of a few points, the doctrine of the second Salafi group, the Movementist Salafism, is almost identical to that of the Islamic Call. The most significant difference is that the Movementists are more aggressive in their practices. For example, they severely criticize other Salafist currents which they deem to be more lenient towards what they call "apostates" or "sinners" (Sharif Sulayman, AlMuraqib website, 31 March 2011).

The Movementists' animosity towards the state is bigger than that of all of the other Salafist currents. In the aftermath of 11 September attacks, a number of the Movementists' leading figures said AlQa'idah's attacks were justified. Some of them even went as far as hailing Usamah Bin-Ladin. This led to a ruthless security crackdown, ending in the arrest of Shaykhs Nash'at Ibrahim and Fawzi al-Sa'id on charges of forming an illegal organization named Al-Wa'd (the Promise) (Al-Misri al-Yawm privately-owned daily newspaper, 5 July 2007).

Egyptian Madkhalist Salafism is an extension of the Saudi Madkhalism. The Madkhalists, who took their name from the Saudi Shaykh Rabi BinHadi al-Madkhali, argue like many non-Jihadist Salafists that it is illegitimate to fight or oppose a Muslim ruler, and believe that a pious Muslim should recognize all of the state's institutions and practices without objection because Islam, for them, is embodied in the "rulers' orders and directions". This is why the Madkhalists severely attack all the other Salafist currents. They consider that the Islamic nation should be united under the state or the ruler. Hence, the formation of any other group or current is a kind of dissent, a divisive heresy which weakens the Islamic Group (Al-Jama'ah al-Islamiyah) (Islam online).

Finally, there are Salafist preachers who do not belong to an organized or even an unorganized group. Independent shaykhs have their own followers without any organizational or doctrinal links with other shaykhs. Independent Salafis do not involve themselves in politics. But some observers have said that some independent shaykhs express

their political views in "secret meetings" where they voice their opinions regarding the current political problems and their solution (Sulayman, Al-Muraqib)

The most popular independent Salafists are Shaykh Usamah Abd-al-Azim, whose followers number more than 150,000, and Shaykh Mustafa alDabisi.

Rising tension

The police crackdown against the Islamic Call and the Al-Wa'd Organization in the aftermath of September 11 attacks ensured that Egyptian Salafism, already distant from politics, disengaged completely from any activity the state deemed as remotely political. This state of affairs lasted until 2010 when the Salafists returned to the scene with regular demonstrations calling for the release of the allegedly abducted Christian convert to Islam, Kamiliya Shihatah.

Kamiliya Shihatah is the wife of a priest from Al-Minya Governorate (Upper Egypt) who left her home on 18 July 2010. Her husband informed the police that she had been kidnapped by Islamists who forced her to convert to Islam. Copts staged angry demonstrations in churches in AlMinya and Cairo calling for her return. The security bodies intervened and handed her over to the church.

Kamiliya's story triggered a wave of anger among the Salafist groups which organized a series of demonstrations calling for the return of the "abducted" woman. Salafist websites and Facebook groups campaigned widely against the state accusing it of being too afraid to stand up to the church and honour the constitution, which describes Egypt as an Islamic state (please see BBCM's "Backgrounder: Egypt church blast puts state on spotlight in Muslim-Copt tension" published on 4 January 2011). This was the first Salafist collective mobilization in a long time. One of the results of the tension between neo-Salafism and the Mubarak regime was that Salafist TV channels such as Al-Rahma and AlNas were banned.

The Islamic State of Iraq's operation against a Catholic church in central Baghdad in November 2010 and its threat to attack the Egyptian Coptic church unless it "releases the women who converted to Islam" was the turning point for the relationship between Salafists and the Egyptian state. Then came the attack on the Two Saints Church in Alexandria shortly after midnight of 31 December 2010. After the attack some 300 Salafists were detained, most of them Alexandria Salafists, namely from the Islamic Call current. Most of them were reported to have been tortured by the police. A Salafist activist, AlSayyid Bilal, was reportedly killed under torture (Ali Abd-al-Al, Save Egypt Front website). The Salafists did not respond to the crackdown.

Shaykh Yasir Burhami, a leading Islamic Call preacher, explained at the time why the Call did not mobilize against the clampdown: "The Islamic Call is part of a complex reality. There is a need to make accurate calculations. We should exert utmost effort to do what brings the good and evades the bad, but without doing anything rash or hasty."

Egyptian "revolution"

Husam Tammam says: "Most Salafists boycotted the revolution, or even worse, dubbed it as sedition." There is ample evidence showing that many of the prominent Salafist preachers attacked the revolution or at least refrained from participating in it.

The most important position against participation in the revolution came from Shaykh Yasir Burhami, a prominent preacher of the Islamic Call, who said: "On the basis of upholding our religion, and as we feel responsible for the fate of our country and its interests... we say that it is unacceptable to participate in the demonstrations." Afterwards Burhami changed his mind a little, saying "we believe that our opinion - that revolting against the ruler is illegitimate - is correct. But we give room to the possibility that it might be wrong." (Al-Safir daily newspaper, 3 May).

Other prominent shaykhs also gave fatwas against the revolution. Shaykh Mahmud al-Masri, a student of Shaykh Muhammad Hassan, went to the Al-Tahrir Square to urge those taking part in the sit-in to go home. Likewise, Shaykh Muhammad Husayn Yaqub, one of the most popular Salafist preachers, talked to the Egyptian state-owned TV condemning the revolution and describing the protestors as "igniters of sedition".

Some prominent shaykhs preferred to keep silent; for instance, Shaykh Abu-Ishak al-Huwayni, another prominent Salafist preacher, shut down his mobile telephone and refused to talk to the media. According to Al-Safir newspaper (3 May), the exception was a handful of preachers, mostly coming from the ranks of the Movementist Salafism, such as Shaykh Nash'at Ahmad and Shaykh Muhammad Abd-al-Maqsud. They supported the revolution and participated in the demonstrations. Shaykh Muhammad Hassan was also mentioned by the newspaper because he went to AlTahrir Square in the final days of the revolution after "attacking the demonstrations at the very beginning".

Referendum

Before 25 January, Salafist activities were restricted to preaching in mosques and on TV, and charity work; the only exception was the almost regular Kamiliya Shihatah demonstration. After 25 January the Salafists became proactive to the extent of getting involved in politics, which most of them previously saw as a domain relegated to the ruler.

Most of the organized Salafist currents and many of the prominent Salafist preachers urged the Egyptians to vote yes in the referendum on the constitutional amendments on 19 March 2011.

Some commentators said that the Salafists were part of a wider "yesvote coalition" including the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), the Muslim Brotherhood and the former ruling National Democratic Party. Sharif Abd-al-Aziz, a Salafist writer, said the referendum on the constitutional amendments united the Islamists of Egypt. "One of the greatest results of the revolution and its aftermath is that the Salafist current and the MB are now united after decades of hidden struggle and animosity," he said (Sharif Abd-alAziz; Islamic Diary website, 8 April).

The Islamic Call issued a statement urging people to vote yes. It argued that the constitutional amendments had several positive aspects, such as that "they did not touch the second article of the constitution which rules that Islamic Shari'ah is the principle source of legislation" (the Salafist Call website).

Shaykhs Muhammad Husayn Yaqub and Muhammad Hassan preached that voting yes safeguards Islam. Yaqub in particular gave a controversial speech after the results showed that the yes vote achieved 77.2 per cent. He said: "Now religion will be involved in every aspect of life. You have asked for the ballot box. And now the ballot box said yes to religion." (Al-Dustur al-Asli website, 22 March).

Demolition of shrines

The most "horrifying" act attributed to the Salafists after the revolution was the demolition of a number of Sufi Saints' shrines which are considered, according to Salafists, a kind of heresy that has no backing in the Koran or the Sunna. The Salafists reportedly demolished a number of shrines in Qalyub city in Al-Qalyubiyah governorate, a shrine in Al-Minufiyah governorate, and other shrines in some of the Delta villages. The police investigated the incidents and did not reach any conclusion. The arrested suspects were found not guilty and were released.

The Egyptian mufti, Ali Jum'ah, described the Salafists as the modern Khawarij (Islamic dissidents). He vowed not to allow them to control Egypt's Al-Azhar or the country's mosques and religious institutions (Al-Jazeera Net, 8 April).

The Salafists themselves categorically denied any connection to the demolition of shrines. The spokesman of the Islamic Call, Shaykh Abdal-Mun'im Shihatah, told Aljazeera Net that "accusing the salafists of demolishing shrines and claiming that they wanted to impose Al-Jizyah (poll tax) on the Copts, or use violence to establish the Islamic state, was a planned campaign orchestrated by the anti-Islamic forces with the aim of shaking the stability of Egypt."

Fear

"Everyone is frightened. There is a lot of fear in society and a lot of concern," liberal writer and political science professor, Muna Makram Ubayd, told BBC in April. Ubayd complained that "the Salafists have been brought out from their caves" (BBC news website, 6 April).

The referendum campaign; the demolition of shrines; the resumption of huge Kamiliya Shihatah demonstrations; allegations about cutting off the ear of a Coptic man for renting his apartments to prostitutes; claims that Salafists were behind the Qina governorate sit-in calling for ousting the new governor - all of these prompted Egyptian liberals, secularists, leftists and even moderate Islamists to wonder if Salafists would be able to establish an Iran-like theocracy in Egypt.

Be that as it may, the evidence indicates that Egyptian non-Jihadist Salafism is now in the process of redefining its relation to politics. It is not yet clear whether this will mark the rebirth of a new form of Jihadism which will lead to a quest for power to achieve the Islamic state, or the crystallization of a kind of religious conservatism that will pose no threat to the liberal project of creating a civil state in Egypt.

[Description of Source: Caversham BBC Monitoring in English -Monitoring service of the BBC, the United Kingdom's public service broadcaster]

'Cairo Today' talk show discusses Islamic Group's views after Egypt's revolution

GMP20110306950026 Cairo Dream 2 Satellite Television Channel in Arabic 1930 GMT 05 Mar 11

Al-Yawm TV's discussion programme "Cairo Today" on 5 January discussed the seizure of classified documents from the State Security Investigation Department (SSID) premises in various provinces. The programme also interviewed in the studio two leaderships from the Jama'ah Islamiyah (Islamic Group) to discus its activities and views after the 25 January revolution.

Seizure of classified documents

The programme showed copies of SSID documents that were seized after protesters stormed the agency's premises in various provinces. It showed footage of the burnt documents in the agency's 6 October province headquarters.

Co-presenter Buthaynah Kamil said 12 protesters were injured when they were storming the SSID Alexandria premises.

Counsellor Zakariya Abd-al-Aziz said protesters who stormed the SSID headquarters of Nasr City in Cairo contacted him to hand over seized documents to him. He said he had been to the protest venue and calmed down the protesters then the army took control of the building.

In a telephone interview, an eyewitness said Salafis in Matruh in northern Egypt stormed the SSID headquarters and protected it from vandalism in cooperation with the army. He said they later held a seminar inside the building. The programme carried what seemed to be mobile phone footage showing some people with beards and mostly wearing white gowns in the building.

Co-presenter Amr Adib said the Islamists were a strong trend and they would have strong influence in the future.

The programme also interviewed journalist Amr Hammudah, editor-inchief of the privately-owned weekly Al-Fajr, in the studio to discuss recent developments in the country. He said he paid a recent visit to Sharm al-Shaykh where former President Husni Mubarak was reportedly staying. He said the city now was almost deserted compared to how it had been in the past. He also touched on the business activities of the president's son, Jamal Mubarak, urging investigations into these activities. He also discussed financial irregularities under the former regime.

Jama'ah Islamiyah in Egypt

Amr Adib interviewed two Islamic Group figures in the studio. They were Najih Ibrahim, editor-in-chief of the group's website, and Karam Zuhdi, member of Shura council.

On the number of group in Egypt, Zuhdi said the group had members in all provinces all over the country. He said the group members resumed activities after the recent ideological revisions. These activities included giving lectures and Da'wah (call) at mosques, he said. Ibrahim said the group's activities were mainly confined to Da'wah away from violence.

On the difference between the Islamic Group and Muslim Brotherhood (MB), Ibrahim said there was an agreement with the MB regarding the constants of Islam but there was a difference on the methods and means. The MB may focus more on politics while the Islamic Group focuses more on Da'wah, he said.

On the group's view of the revolution, he praised it as good, saying that there were two important elements for the success of this revolution to continue, namely strong economy and security. Zuhdi showed pessimism regarding the coming period.

On the group's stance on tourism, he said the group had a moderate stance on this, but he rejected offering wine to tourists or any other practices impermissible in Islam. Ibrahim said the tourists should take into accounts Muslims' customs and traditions.

On Copts' right to assume presidency, Ibrahim said "it would be politically inappropriate for a Copt to assume presidency the same way it is politically inappropriate for an Islamic Group member to assume presidency". He said the same applied to women.

On the peace treaty with Israel, Ibrahim said any one who would rule Egypt at present would not be able to cancel the Camp David agreement. Zuhdi said it was possible to have peace treaties with the Jews as Prophet Muhammad had done in the past. He said the treaty could be subject to amendment in case the balance of power on the ground changed.

Egypt: Islamic Group Figure Asks Military Council To Release Two Prisoners

GMP20110309120005 London Al-Hayah Online in Arabic, Accounting 09 Mar 11

[Report from Cairo by Ahmad Rahim: •A Leading Figure in the Al-Jama•ah al-Islamiyah Meets a Representative of the Army to Discuss the AlZumar Case•]

Al-Hayah learned that Isam Darbalah, a leading figure in the AlJama'ah al-Islamiyah [Islamic Group], met with a representative of the Armed Forces Supreme Council and handed him a request from the group for the release of members of the group, Abbud al-Zumar and his cousin Tariq al-Zumar, who have been imprisoned in connection with the assassination of the late President Anwar al-Sadat.

Dr Najih Ibrahim, the group's second man, met with a representative of the military handed him the request. He added that the request from the family of Abbud al-Zumar

told Al-Hayah that Darbalah council a few days ago and council received earlier a for his release.

Ibrahim said: "Earlier, former Interior Minister Mahmud Wajdi took measures to release Al-Zumar on health grounds, and Al-Zumar was expected to be released this week, but incidents at the State Security Agency disrupted the process." He was referring to the storming of the agency centers, the officers of which destroyed thousands of documents.

Ibrahim added: "Al-Zumar's release may take some time as the case will be discussed by the new interior minister, Mansur al-Isawi. The State

Security Agency was in charge of this case, but after these incidents, we do not know who is in charge now. Therefore, we appeal to the military council to take care of the Abbud al-Zumar case and take a decision to release him."

Al-Zumar, a retired lieutenant colonel from the military intelligence service, participated in the assassination of Al-Sadat. He gained fame after Al-Sadat referred to him in one of his speeches without mentioning his name. Al-Sadat said in his speech: "I will not be merciful to this fugitive boy who knows himself." He was referring to Al-Zumar who escaped after it was discovered that he had joined a group that planned to assassinate the president.

Al-Zumar was the author of the idea to directly attack the stage from the front during a military parade on 6 October 1980 when Al-Sadat was assassinated. Two prison sentences were passed against him, a 25-year sentence in connection with the assassination of Al-Sadat and a 15year sentence in connection with the Jihad Organization case. In 2007, a court decided not to look into his appeal to release him.

Over the past weeks, members of the Islamic Group demonstrated at the Al-Tahrir Square, carried pictures of Al-Zumar and other detained leading figures of the group, and demanded their release.

Ibrahim said that the meeting between Darbalah and the military council representative "ended with a promise to study the case and take a decision on it." He noted: "Had it not been for the incidents at the State Security Agency, the measures to release Al-Zumar on health grounds would have been almost completed. Yet, we expect him to be released this month."

Ibrahim told Al-Hayah how Abbud al-Zumar was hit by shrapnel in the hand during an exchange of fire in the Damanhur Prison.

He said: "Some prisoners with criminal cases barricaded themselves in the prison's hospital after they revolted demanding that the prison officer and intelligence chief be replaced while Abbud and Tariq alZumar were in the hospital."

He added: "The prisoners asked Shaykh Tariq to stay with them so that the security forces would not fire at them. They also asked him to negotiate in their name, but he refused, and the incident developed into an exchange of fire between the prisoners and the administration staff. Abbud was wounded as a result. Faced with this situation, we asked the security authorities to either release him, move him away from the prison, or protect him."

He continued: "On that night, no police transportation vehicles were available. Therefore, 20 members of the Islamic Group went to accompany and protect Al-Zumar in the prison. After evacuating him from the hospital, the prison administration staff moved him to the administration building where five members of the group spent the night with him to protect him. The next day, he was transported to a secure prison attached to the Turrah Prison."

[Description of Source: London Al-Hayah Online in Arabic -- Website of influential Saudi-owned London pan-Arab daily. URL: http://www.daralhayat.com]

Egypt: Al-Zumur on Competing with Muslim Brotherhood, Camp David Accord

GMP20110314013002 Cairo Rose al-Yusuf in Arabic 14 Mar 11 p 4

[Interview with the leader of the Jihad Organization, Abbud al-Zumur, by Ahmad Imbabi in Cairo; Date not given]

Leading Jihad Organization members Abbud al-Zumur and his cousin Tariq al-Zumur were given a huge popular reception by the people of Nahia Village the evening before last [ 12 March], after spending 30 years behind bars on charges of involvement in both the assassination of late president Anwar al-Sadat and the Jihad Organization case. The motorcade cruised the streets of the village until it reached the famous Al-Zumur family home. The village residents and members of the Islamic Group and Jihad Organization joined the parade organized to celebrate Al-Zumurs. They shouted the slogan "raise your head up high, you are a Muslim," while the villagers and their relatives fired shots in the air as part of the celebration.

It was noteworthy that during the celebration, Abbud and Tariq were driven to the family home in a Hummer, after 30 years of travelling between various prisons in prisoner transportation vehicles. Abbud and Tariq al-Zumur were not able to hold the press conference, which was

scheduled to be held as soon as they arrived in the village, because of the massive crowds of reporters and villagers, who rushed to greet them. Instead, they gave sporadic statements to the media and talked on the phone with a number of TV talk shows. In the light of poor organization and the arrival of the leaders of Islamic Group's shura council -- notably Karam Zuhdi, Najih Ibrahim, Isam Dirbalah and Safwat Abd-al-Ghani, we met briefly with a number of Abbud's colleagues because the day was quite stressful. Abbud was keen on appearing calm and collected when he spoke.

Al-Zumur revealed that he is in the process of establishing a political party that will be a coalition of Islamic groups, specifically the Islamic Group, the Jihad Organization and the Salafis, in order to compete with the Muslim Brotherhood, which will establish a strong party. He explained that he did not want the Muslim Brotherhood to monopolize political Islamic action, and that there should be genuine pluralism. He also noted that members of the Islamic Group and Jihad Organization are qualified to practice politics because they had the chance to read extensively in prison. He pointed out, however, that they need practice in the ways of a modern state.

Asked about their position regarding Camp David, which was the main reason behind the Jihad Organization's decision to plot the assassination of Al-Sadat, he said he does not object to that agreement, and that all international treaties must be respected, even if they contained errors, but this particular agreement needs a few modifications.

[Imbabi] How do you view the decision to release you after spending 30 years behind bars?

[Al-Zumur] I thank God for His bounty, the decision to release me. I thank my family and everyone who helped me in my plight over the past years.

[Imbabi] Are you indebted to the 25 January Revolution, which reopened your case, and consequently you were released as one of the results of that revolution?

[Al-Zumur] The Egyptian people exerted tremendous efforts and managed to topple the former corrupt regime. We must all work to protect this glorious nation from the lackeys of the former regime.

[Imbabi] What are the priorities of action in the coming period, from your point of view?

[Al-Zumur] We want the people of Egypt to stand behind the Revolution Command Council [as published] and behind Prime Minister Dr Isam Sharaf until he completes his mission. We must reduce the pressure and give them an opportunity to implement reforms and development, and restart production after years of oppression, tyranny and deprivation, and to return of the looted money, which is enough to solve the country's problems. The people, the revolution and the political forces must give the caretaker government an opportunity to study the problems facing citizens. There is also a need to support the recent cons titutional amendments made by Counselor Tariq al-Bishri and his committee to pave the way for holding free and fair elections, and select a real parliament.

[Imbabi] Have your political positions changed?

[Al-Zumur] We did not succumb to any pressure throughout the of imprisonment. We persevered. We need all efforts to cross the next stage. I hope we will not be cut off from political after suffering for 30 years in prison. This will help us to what we have learned.

duration over to life apply

[Imbabi] What is your political project for the coming period? Are you going to establish a political party?

[Al-Zumur] We have been calling for political life and a multi-party system for a long time. We demanded these freedoms and fought to win them. That is why we call for approving the creation of political parties as soon as the relevant notification [has been delivered to competent authorities] in order to give the people the right to express their opinions.

[Imbabi] With regard to the issue of Camp David [Accords], what is your position on this agreement now? You turned against the president because you objected to it, and this was the reason for your imprisonment for about 30 years.

[Al-Zumur] With regard to the foreign relations of political parties, or our future work, there is respect for old international treaties. This is important and indisputable; because the failure to respect international agreements and treaties is not one of the values and principles of Islam. They must be respected, even if they contained errors. The details of Camp David include articles, which give the right to modify certain things.

[Imbabi] Which part of that agreement do you call for modifying?

[Al-Zumur] Surely we cannot sell gas to Israel for less than international prices. Israel is not unlike other countries. This is just not right. We cannot give it approximately 3 billion [dollars] in aid, as circulating reports indicate. This [gas] belongs to us, the people, and we should never agree to this situation. We emphasize that agreements and conventions exist and remain in force, but the implementation of this particular issue is under consideration, particularly with regard to the rights of the Egyptian people.

[Imbabi] So, your position regarding this agreement has changed from total rejection and accusations of treason hurled at the officials who signed it, to support and calls for reviewing some of its details?

[Al-Zumur] Absolutely. As I said, we must respect previous agreements, even if they included some errors.

[Imbabi] There have been different views about this agreement after the departure of the Mubarak regime. Some people are calling for abolishing it, while others are adhering to it. How do you view this?

[Al-Zumur] This is a situation involving a previous agreement, and the new government will adhere to what the former government had agreed to, but this does not in any way contradict our right to amend it and support the Palestinian people. We will never abandon the Palestinian people, keep silent, or ignore their rights. Although Israel is an occupation force, there is a certain commitment to what has been signed with it.

[Imbabi] Do you support the call for holding a public referendum on this agreement after the referendum on constitutional amendments?

[Al-Zumur] If possible, we can achieve our interests in this agreement, after making some modifications to its articles. The new leadership should be given the opportunity to study the country's interests; particularly if conditions improved, and there was a positive response to the rights of the Palestinian people.

[Imbabi] What about the killers of the former president [Al-Sadat], who was a victim of this agreement?

[Al-Zumur] This file is closed and we should not reopen it. But AlSadat's as sassins were martyrs.

[Imbabi] With regard to the relationship between Egypt and the United States, does your political agenda include a strategy for tackling this issue?

[Al-Zumur] Americans and the West are kind of intimidated by Islamists. The Egyptian government used to sell us a lot in order to keep the regime in place. They used us as a bogeyman to scare the United States, but a country that presumably respects other countries, like the United States and others, should have no fear. As a respectable, independent and sovereign country, we support it within the framework of common interests.

We are supposed to do anything within the framework of common interests between us and the United States, or between us and any other country. We must never believe that the United States can dictate our decisions, or impose a certain relationship with Israel, or any form of relations that we find distasteful in any way, or inconsistent with our rules and traditions. We must never become a tool of oppression in the region, as we were in the past.

We are a country that has integrity and respect. This does not mean turning against the international community. We will have harmony with the international community within the framework of common interests, the principles of respect for different opinions, human rights, domestic affairs, and all treaties and conventions. We must defend oppressed people all over the world. This must be our role, as a state. This is a general vision for a political party, but we have not formed it, or declared its inception yet.

[Imbabi] With respect to the party, there is more than one project to establish Islamist parties now, like the ones prepared by the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamic Group, the Salafis, and some elements of the Jihad Organization. Will you propose an independent party, or join the Islamic Group's party, since you are one of the leaders of the group's shura council?

[Al-Zumur] I will call in the coming period for creating a coalition comprising [all factions of] the Islamic trend. (It is noteworthy that after the 25 January Revolution, and after lifting the ban imposed on political trends, specifically Islamic movements, several parties with Islamic references have been announced, such as the Muslim Brotherhood's Justice and Freedom Party, the Islamic Group's party, the Islamic Justice and Development Party, which was announced by Islamist lawyer Muntasir al-Zayyat, the party announced by Jamal

Sultan and a number of Jihad Organization elements such as Kamal Habib, and the party announced by the Salafis).

[Imbabi] Will this coalition include all the above-mentioned parties?

[Al-Zumur] As an organized group, the Muslim Brotherhood is in the process of establishing a strong party and its cadres are ready. It would be very difficult to include elements of the Jihad Organization with it, because it is an organized group and has its own internal regulations. The coalition will include the other Islamic groups, such as Jihad, the Islamic Group and the Salafis.

[Imbabi] How likely are these groups to have real political concord, especially since all the attempts to unite the Islamic Group and the Jihad Organization have failed?

[Al-Zumur] Yes, these groups can be combined in one coalition that aims at having multiple views. We could say that Islam is not the image of the Muslim Brotherhood alone, nor is it monopolized by any group. There are other trends with Islamic vision and philosophy, and they apply them differently on the ground.

[Imbabi] Are the Islamic Group and Jihad Organization qualified to engage in politics? They have been isolated from public life for almost 30 years.

[Al-Zumur] By the grace of God, we, as an Islamist group, were in prison, but we have had the opportunity to read extensively. You will find that many of the brothers received Ph.D. degrees in prison, and they have followed up political events closely. We were fully aware of what was happening day after day, and we never lost track of developments. There is nothing new to us, except the monuments, buildings, streets and new bridges that we saw when we got out. Our political vision is clear. Therefore, you will find that the brothers in the group have a high level of understanding and political action, but we want to train cadres on the modern state. This will allow the young members of the Islamic Group, the Jihad Organization and the Salafis to play a political role in the current stage, so that in the end, we can all play our roles well.

[Imbabi] Can you stand in presidential elections now? You submitted your nomination papers during the last election from prison.

[Al-Zumur] The question of standing in presidential elections is under consideration and discussion. God help the next president.

[Description of Source: Cairo Rose al-Yusuf in Arabic -- Staunch proregime daily that frequently carries a stridently anti-American editorial line; closely connected to the ruling National Democratic Party and the Policies Secretariat specifically, which is headed by Jamal Mubarak, President Mubarak's son.]

Report Notes Prominence of Salafi Influence in Egypt After 25 January Revolution

GMP20110313001012 London Al-Sharq al-Awsat Online in Arabic 13 Mar 11

[Report by Walid Abd-al-Rahman and Muhammad Abduh in Cairo: •The State Goes for the Salafi Preachers in the Absence of the Al-Azhar Establishment. The Grand Mufti: I am Prepared to Submit My Resignation, But I Fear Treason Charges•]

The Salafi preachers have strongly dominated the Egyptian religious and political scene after the 25 January revolution, and it is has become clear that the state and all its establishments, led by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, are seeking the help of top Salafi trend preachers, who have "moderate ideas" and who enjoy great popular acceptance, to convince the people to opt for calm, cooperate with the state, and stop the sit-ins and demonstrations. This change is taking place at a time when the Al-Azhar establishment is witnessing significant divisions and cracks concerning its stand on the current political events, particularly its role in stifling the sectarian sedition between the Christians and the Muslims in the incident of Itfih church. Al-Azhar President Shaykh Ahmad al-Tayib said that "he is prepared to tender his resignation if this is the problem, but he fears charges of treason."

The initiative launched by the Salafi leaders, headed by the Islamic preachers Muhammad Hassan, Dr Safwat Hijazi, and Dr Abdallah Barakat, supported by the army commanders through visiting the village of Sul, in Itfih sub-district to resolve the crisis of Al-Shahidayn Church "Mar Marina and Mar Girgis" to calm down the Muslims and Christians there, has caused a great anger, and the Al-Azhar clerics wondered about the role of the grand imam and his absence from the scene.

The domination of the Salafi preachers on the screens of the official state television and in the main mosques has become clear. Shaykh Muhmmad Hassan, who is considered one of the leaders of the Salafi Group and who enjoys great popularity, appeared on the official television several times though he had been banned from such appearance for years during the rule of the former president. Hassan played a great role in the call for ending the sit-ins and demonstrations by professional groups, something that led some people to give him the title of "the state's religious spokesman." Hassan managed to appear on the state television more than three times since the collapse of the former regime, and dozens of interviews were conducted with him by the state newspapers after he had been banned from appearance in the various types of the official media and had suffered security restrictions concerning his appearance in a number of private satellite channels.

For the first time, Shaykh Hassan delivered the Friday sermon in one of the largest mosques of the Ministry of Awqaf in Cairo, which are Amr Bin-al-As Mosque in Old Cairo, and Al-Nur Mosque in Al-Abasiyah, after he had been banned from doing so. His sermon was carried live on the official television the day before yesterday [ 11 March] in an unprecedented step.

During the conference of the Salafi Front in Al-Mansurah last Friday, the Salafists announced their intention to join politics and participate in the upcoming elections. Shaykh Muhammad Hassan said: "I call on our clerics to reconsider the old beliefs that had been taken for granted over the past years, such as running in the elections for the People's and Shura Councils, for the post of president, [and participation in] the government, and the regime." Hassan said: "We have left the arena for those who cannot speak well about God and His messenger and left the scene for those who are unable to read a verse of the Koran or to remind these masses of one of the hadiths of the messenger of God. The people of knowledge should have been present in this crisis and ordeal among our youths in the Al-Tahrir Square."

The staff members of the Al-Azhar University staged a large demonstration to demand the independence of Al-Azhar and the sacking of Dr Ahmad al-Tayib. On the other hand, the Sufi orders staged a

demonstration in support of Al-Azhar president and his stands that call for reforms.

The Coalition of Al-Azhar Preachers called for another demonstration today from Al-Nur Mosque in Al-Abasiyah to the h eadquarters of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces to hand over the demands of the preachers. Dr Adil Abd-al-Shakur, a preacher at the Ministry of Awqaf, said that "our demands are summed up in the independence of AlAzhar from the state, choosing Al-Azhar president and all religious leaders through elections and not appointment, merging the Ministry of Awqaf and Dar al-Ifta, and keeping the Awqaf [endowments] as a financial commission to spend on Al-Azhar and those who study in it."

Abd-al-Shakur told Al-Sharq al-Awsat that "the Coalition of Preachers called for amending the Al-Azhar Law, reinstating the Ulema Front, improving the financial conditions of the preachers and setting up a union for them, and respecting the cleric as a symbol and refraining from distorting his picture, particularly in the media."

Abd-al-Shakur expressed belief that "using the help of the Salafi trend in the mosques and the mass media is part of the counter revolution," saying that "these Salafi clerics who appear on the Egyptian television and in the mosques are being misled, regardless of their names."

Abd-al-Shakur pointed out that "seeking the help of the Salafists now and keeping away from the Al-Azhar's ulema is a trend that aims at abandoning specialization and toppling the Egyptian state," and said that Al-Azhar is an international establishment, and only its ulema are able to present the religious texts in accordance with the right framework, and asked the state not to use the assistance of the Salafists and to strengthen Al-Azhar.

He also said that "using the help of the Salafists would raise fears among the West about the control of the Egyptian arena by political Islam," pointing out that the Islamic Group has announced its intention to form a political party, and the same is the case with the Ansar al-Sunnah al-Muhammadiyah, and the Muslim Brotherhood, which means that the presence of Al-Azhar in the middle of these trends is important so that it becomes "the balance concerning the jurisprudence and Shari'ah rules and issues."

For his part, Dr Ahmad al-Tayib said that "he is prepared to tender his resignation if this is the problem," and said: "I am afraid that this may cause damage to the interests of Al-Azhar and endanger this great establishment, and then I would be accused of treason [for letting this to happen]."

Al-Shar al-Awsat has learned from sources in Al-Azhar that "there is a proposal that is being worked out at present to change the Al-Azhar Law and reinstate the Grand Ulema Commission in a way that allows for electing Al-Azhar president by them and not by the common people so that the rich who can buy the votes would not infiltrate into this post after the voices that calls for sacking Al-Azhar president have became loud."

In an attempt to correct the image, the Sufi orders staged a march from Al-Imam Husayn Mosque in Cairo yesterday in support of the reforming stands of Al-Azhar's president. Al-Azhar's President adviser Dr Abd-al-Dayim Nusayr said that "the march emphasizes the fact that we are in need of this spirit at this difficult stage through which the country is passing and in which there are attempts to highjack it under various pretexts." Egyptian Mufti Dr Ali Jum'ah issued a fatwa on the incident of Iftih church in which he said that "attacking the churches by demolishing or bombing them and terrorizing the defenseless people are something banned in the tolerant Islamic Shari'ah, and that the God's messenger, peace be upon him, considered this an act against the trust of God and His messenger, and that he [Prophet Muhammad] would be the enemy of those who did so on Day of Judgment."

Jum'ah stressed that "the sabotage acts distort the image of Islam in the East and the West and enhances the false image that Islam is a bloodthirsty religion, and give a pretext to the enemies who are lying in wait to interfere unjustly in our internal affairs." The Mufti stre ssed that "committing an aggression against the Egyptian Christians is a violation of the code of citizenship, and a violation against them, and attacking them or harming or terrorizing them --not to speak about shedding their blood or demolishing their churches are considered a violation of this code and pledge that should be respected."

[Description of Source: London Al-Sharq al-Awsat Online in Arabic -Website of influential London-based pan-Arab Saudi daily; editorial line reflects Saudi official stance. URL: http://www.asharqalawsat.com/]

Egyptian Politicians Worried by Islamists Backing of Constitutional Amendments

GMP20110317825001 London Al-Hayah Online in Arabic 17 Mar 11

[Report by Ahmad Rahim in Cairo: •Mobilizing the Islamists To Support the Amendments Raises the Apprehensions of Those Who Call for a Civil State•]

Mobilizing the Islamists in Egypt to urge the voters to accept the constitutional amendments that will be the subject of a popular referendum on Saturday raises the apprehensions of the political parties and forces that call for the principle of a civil state, particularly after some Islamic movements issued fatwas that voting yes is a "religious duty." One of these fatwas was published in an advertisement on the front page of the semi-official newspaper AlAhram yesterday.

A few days before the referendum, the Muslim Brotherhood openly urged its supporters to vote yes on these amendments, which is a noteworthy stand in its openness that took the forms of leaflets that the group is distributing and the calls posted on the internet. This is the same as the position adopted by the Islamic Group and the leaders of the Al-Jihad Group, and the Center and Labor parties, which have Islamic tendencies.

The declared pretext of those is that these amendments open the way for changing the Constitution in an appropriate atmosphere during which the civilians would be in power, and then the army would be devoted to its main mission and would be kept away from practicing politics. However, their leaflets say that the voting would keep Article 2 of the Constitution, which says that "Islam is the religion of the state, and the principles of the Islamic Shari'ah are the main source of legislation."

On the other hand, these amendments are rejected by the political parties and the youth movements that are connected to the 25 January revolution, headed by Al-Wafd, Al-Tajammu [the National Progressive Unionist Grouping Party,] the Nasserite, the Democratic Front, the National Society for Change and its founder the presidential candidate, Dr Muhammad ElBaradei and his rival Amr Musa, the 6 April Movement, and the Coalition of the Revolution's Youth.

These civil forces believe that the amendments "stand as a graft for a constitution that has been brought down d by the revolution." They also fear that these amendments would be a passageway for dictatorship due to the ultimate powers given to the head of state that have not been touched by the amendments. They believe that holding parliamentary elections within two months before giving the chance for the creation of parties and forces by those who participated in the revolution may bring a parliament that would be dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood, which is the most organized group on the ground, in addition to the remnants of the National Democratic Party, which was in power and which has announced its support for the amendments.

Dr Nabil Abd-al-Fattah, deputy head of Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, said that "these amendments are unconstitutional because they have come within the same framework that were spoken about by former President Husni Mubarak, who relinquished his powers to the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces in violation of the Constitution," pointing out that "what happened on 25 January is a revolutionary uprising that has brought down the Constitution. Therefore, there is no room for speaking about freezing the constitution."

He told Al-Hayah that there is "a deal between the Islamists, represented by the Muslim Brotherhood members and the Salafi forces which are allied with the security services and have a large role and movement freedom, the Islamic Group, some members of the Jihadist movement who were recently freed, the ruling forces at present, and some remnants of the former regime, with the aim of holding the parliamentary elections soon to enable the Islamic forces and the remnants of the National Democratic Party to seize government."

He warned that "holding the parliamentary elections before the presidential elections would guarantee that these people would get into parliament because the balances of power in terms of organization is in their interest , and the objective is to return the situation to what it has been in the past and turn around the revolution's demands." He added that "the callers for a civil state, the Copts, and the influential youth forces that launched the uprising against the former regime will not accept changing Egypt into a religious state that is led by the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamists, and the remnants of Mubarak's regime."

Abd-al-Fattah asked: "Why has the Center Party, that has Islamic leaning, been quickly licensed? And why the Constitution Amendment Committee included a Muslim Brotherhood member (who is Subhi Salih, the former deputy for the group)? And why the committee chairman (Counselor Tariq al-Bishri) is a supporter of the Islamic ideology, in spite of our respect for him? And why Abbud and Tariq al-Zumur and the Muslim Brotherhood leaders were freed now, and why is this overwhelming presence in the government and private media, which serve in supporting the Muslim Brotherhood?" He concluded by saying that

accepting "the constitutional amendments would lead Egypt to become a religious state, while the revolutionaries want it a civil state, and we are going to confront it."

[Description of Source: London Al-Hayah Online in Arabic -- Website of influential Saudi-owned London pan-Arab daily. URL: http://www.daralhayat.com]

Egypt: Dispute Reported among Islamic Group Leaders on Return to Violence

GMP20110318007001 Cairo Al-Shuruq al-Jadid in Arabic 18 Mar 11 p 3

[Report by Muhammad Sa'd Abd-al-Hafiz and Muhammed Khayyal: "Signs of Split in the Islamic Group"]

The Shura Council of Al-Jama'ah al-Islamiyah [Islamic Group] has decided to strip Safwat Abd-al-Ghani of his membership in the council and the group. It also decided to suspend Isam Dirbalah and refer him to an investigation.

The Shura Council said in a statement it issued yesterday that "it has been proven with conclusive evidence that a minority in the group was seeking to return to the ideology [that prevailed] prior to the initiative on halting violence and was trying to make the others return to the pre-initiative phase by holding meetings with a number of brothers and inciting them to abandon the concepts of the initiative".

The group's Shura Council dissociated itself from statements made to the media by Shaykh Abbud-al-Zumur, the Shura Council member who was released from prison recently. "Much of what Al-Zumur said does not represent the Islamic Group and contradicts the concepts of the initiative," the statement said.

The Shura Council said that the initiative "was not a deal with the former regime or a going into the orbit of the government but a going into the orbit of the blessed Shari'a". It stressed that the group was not responsible for any one who airs concepts contradicting the initiative's concepts. It emphasized to its members that they should not renege on pledges [made by the group].

The statement said that a committee comprising middle-level leaders would be formed to implement the policies of the current phase which the council would draft for the coming period to prepare for free and fair elections from the base upwards.

Safwat Abd-al-Ghani said after the decision to fire him that talk about returning to the pre-initiative ideology or to violence was without a basis of truth. He said that those who propagate such talk want to frighten public opinion from the group and its cadres "in addition to alienating security authorities against us and dispersing the brothers who have rallied around us".

"Who took the dismissal decision?" Abd-al-Ghani asked. "Is it possible to dismiss one of the members without an investigation? Is it possible that Karam Zuhdi and Najih Ibrahim, who have adopted positions in support of Mubarak against the revolution, should have the [monopoly over the] opinion in a group which comprises a large number of ulemas and cadres who are faithful to their religion and their nation?"

Abd-al-Ghani said that differences among the members of the group should be governed by ethics. He stressed that they will not break away from the group and that they want its general assembly to meet as soon as possible.

Tariq al-Zumur, a member of the group's Shura Council, demanded the holding of a general assembly as soon as possible to elect a Shura Council which would in turn appoint an executive council. He said that Safwat Abd-al-Ghani and Isam Darbala are among the most popular leaders among the group's cadres and members.

Al-Zumur denied that he or his cousin Abbud had attended the Shura Council session which adopted this decision. He said that the group will not return to violence "for the political arena is open to all now and the pre-initiative phase [of violence] is over".

Al-Shuruq learned that the group's Shura Council met again last night without Karam Zuhdi, the council's chief, and Najih Ibrahim, the

number two man, to agree on calling for a general assembly meeting which would be organized as soon as possible.

[Description of Source: Cairo Al-Shuruq al-Jadid in Arabic -Independent pro-reform liberal daily, moderately critical of the government.]

Egypt: Al-Zawahiri's Brother Insists on Jihad, Opposing any Secular Government

GMP20110319007002 Cairo Al-Misri Al-Yawm in Arabic 19 Mar 11 p 11

[Interview with Muhammad al-Zawahiri, brother of Al-Qa'ida's Ayman alZawahiri, Conducted by Munir Adib a few days before Muhammad was Released from Prison: "Muhammad al-Zawahiri: "They Took me to the State Security Investigations Premises after Sayid Imam's Revisions and Tortured me so that I would not Comment on them'"]

It was a mere dream, visiting the area of the Tura prisons to get acquainted with life inside that prison which housed within its walls many famous people. We often wrote about life inside it without entering. Finally, we had this opportunity after lengthy and arduous attempts. But the real dream was not in visiting the area of the prisons but in visiting the maximum-security Al-Aqrab [Scorpion] Prison in which thousands of members from Al-Jihad and the Islamic Group were incarcerated. Some of them were locked up in dungeons for seven years during which no one was allowed to visit them.

After penetrating Al-Aqrab prison, Al-Misri al-Yawm conducted a lengthy interview with Shaykh Muhammad, the brother of Ayman alZawahiri, the number two man in Al-Qa'ida organization. Shaykh Muhammad thought he would never leave it except to go the gallows because of his beliefs which he refused to bargain about or compromise on. He told us he was one of those on death row even though he has not been informed of a death sentence being issued against him. He did not

know that he would be released from this most vicious of prisons a few hours after we conducted this interview with him.

[Adib] We want you to give us some details about yourself, how you were arrested, and the charges made against you?

[Al-Zawahiri] My name is Muhammad Rabi al-Zawahiri, an architectural engineer. I used to work as a department director in the Islamic Relief Organization in Saudi Arabia. I am now 58 years old. I was hounded by all security bodies in the world, starting with Saudi security bodies in 1994, at the behest of Egyptian security. I fled to Yemen then Sudan, Azerbaijan and the United Arab Emirates until I was arrested. I was not extradited immediately and remained isolated from the world in the Emirates throughout the period of my interrogation during which I was subjected to severe torture. The Emirates then turned me over to Egyptian security which did the same thing. After this I was transferred to the main headquarters of the State Security Investigations [SSI] in Nasr City [Cairo] and then to Al-Aqrab Prison some years ago.

[Adib] What pressures were exerted on you and what was your situation inside the prison?

[Al-Zawahiri] I was subjected to numerous pressures represented in brutal torture and attempts to break my will in order to abandon my convictions. In addition to the torture, I received threats frequently including the threat to carry out the death sentence issued against me, a sentence I was not informed of and did not sign. Perhaps it was issued in absentia by a military court. But they did not want to carry out the sentence for some ulterior motive I do not know. In any event, they tried to intimidate me with this alleged sentence. I asked a district attorney about my position and he asked in great surprise "you do not know your position?" I said I did not. He read the file he had in front of him for half an hour and then told me: You are detained.

[Adib] Were there specific charges made against you?

[Al-Zawahiri] No. Since my arrest I have been in custody of the security bodies which torture me. I was threatened by the SSI before it was dissolved [after the January 25, 2011 revolution] that if I criticized the initiative of Dr Sayid Imam [the ideologue of the Islamic Group] for ending violence, they would carry out the death sentence issued against me.

[Adib] Did the initiative for halting violence adopted by Al-Jihad and the Islamic group find acceptance among you?

[Al-Zawahiri] Of course it did not find acceptance. It has many major violations of Shari'a.

[Adib] But all those who agreed to the initiative were released from prison and tried to act according to their perception and convictions?

[Al-Zawahiri] This is not true. There were individuals who agreed to the initiative for halting violenc e but who were not released from prison, like Abbud and Tariq al-Zumur who remained incarcerated for 10 additional years after serving their sentences. They were imprisoned for three decades and were released only days ago, even though the initiative was announced in 1997.

I was told by the security bodies that I would be released if I agreed to the initiative. But my rejection of that initiative was based on my principles and my religion. For me, rejecting or accepting anything must have religious justifications.

[Adib] Was there a connection between your arrest and your brother?

[Al-Zawahiri] Of course, may Allah keep him firm and safe from harm and evil. A rumor was leaked among people that I had been killed and that my skull was taken to the United States for DNA analysis to identify my brother because he is naturally being pursued by the American Intelligence. Let me tell you that I am in prison now as a hostage held by the security bodies until Dr Ayman al-Zawahiri appears. They were trying to exert pressure on my brother so that he would not carry out more operations.

[Adib] How do you see Egypt after the 25 January Revolution?

[Al-Zawahiri] I believe that the misfortune has been removed with the demise of the regime which terrorized the people in everything big or small, even though we do not support the secular orientation of the Revolution while still supporting the revolution itself. The Islamists hope to be granted some freedom in order to promote their genuine ideology. Yet some secular people are "riding the wave". The Revolution has an Islamic tributary which cannot be ignored and which is demanding the application of Shari'a.

[Adib] What are your observations on the initiative to stop violence?

[Al-Zawahiri] These are observations based on religion. We do not put our hands in the hands of the secular regime. Those who agreed to the initiatives were salafi Muslim Brothers and Jihad members. We all converge in the same tributary, for we are all the sons of the same Islamic movement. We might differ in direction but we do not differ on the objective. We keep our reservations [confined] among us.

[Adib] How many people who are convinced of your ideologies remain inside prison?

[Al-Zawahiri] Many. The salafi jihadist ideology is the predominant [group] in prisons and the dungeons are filled now with its advocates. There are some who may renounce some of their concepts and beliefs under pressure. But let me tell you that there are entire prisons that reject the initiatives.

[Adib] Which prisons?

[Al-Zawahiri] The Al-Istiqbal [reception] prison and the prisons of the New Valley, Abu-Za'bal and Al-Naturn Valley. Our objective and guideline in all this are religious. We try to remove the ungodly, arrogant regime and we reject that a secular regime should be the alternative because we reject it as well. Our guidance is taken from Allah's Shari'a and nothing else.

[Adib] Where is Dr Ayman al-Zawahiri?

[Al-Zawahiri] No one knows his location. We can only pray for him to remain firm and that Allah would protect, guide, and support him because if the United States finds a thread that leads to him it will not leave him.

[Adib] Many believe that what Al-Zawahiri and Al-Qa'ida do is terrorism. What is your opinion?

[Al-Zawahiri] The West is trying to tarnish our image because it regards us from the perspective of an enemy. They entered and occupied our countries, so it is natural that they should describe us as terrorists. This is not to mention their violation of honor [Arabic word 'ard' used which is taken as a reference to women]. What we are

living today is called the jihad of repulsion. All Muslims must repel this harm. We are ordered to terrorize the enemies of Allah who violate honor. The decision by Al-Qa'ida to carry out operations inside the United States came after the United States started its war against the Muslims. We only wanted to repel its harm from us.

[Adib] Do Al-Qa'ida's ideologies have an existence in Egypt? What is the number of those who adopt such ideologies?

[Al-Zawahiri] These ideologies exist in the entire world and not Egypt alone. I do not know the numbers of those who adopt them in Egypt. Salafi jihadist concepts are sweeping the entire world. They are defending the sanctities and honor of the Muslims as well as their lands.

[Adib] But there are Islamists who advocate a middle-of-the-road approach which is detached from violence?

[Al-Zawahiri] We respect this ideology. There have been varying opinions in the history of Islamic movements. All serve Islam, but at the same time we do not accept being attacked by any one because we do not attack any one. All of them [Islamic movements] join in the road of advocacy for Allah.

[Adib] With whom would you work if you are released?

[Al-Zawahiri] They are all my brothers.

[Adib] But you have a theological position that might perhaps prevent you from working with those who responded to the initiative to stop violence?

[Al-Zawahiri] We are as one, for there are those who pursue advocacy and those who pursue jihad.

[Adib] But you are with those who pursue jihad?

[Al-Zawahiri] Allah knows best. I believe that jihad when warranted is a religious duty upon the Muslims, as Allah the Almighty has ordered. One of the shari [religiously-endorsed] aspects is confronting the

United States which aggresses on the homes of the Muslims as you see. I mean jihad in all its forms that Allah the Almighty orders us to wage.

[Adib] How do you live in prison?

[Al-Zawahiri] The security bodies tried to pressure me into changing my religious concepts and opinions. But thank Allah we were patient.

[Adib] What were the points the security bodies tried to bargain with you about?

[Al-Zawahiri] Many things, but they did not deny me medicine. physicians said it was necessary to make a CT scan for me and because there was a suspected tumor which required follow-up. officer told me: You are Ayman al-Zawahiri's brother and this you will not be released.

The analyses An SSI means

[Adib] What did the security bodies want from you specifically?

[Al-Zawahiri] To cooperate with them in supplying information and the like. This was the reason they also refused to allow me to visit my sick mother or attend her funeral and condolences. Family visits are naturally denied for me.

[Adib] What was the objective of the security bodies in doing this?

[Al-Zawahiri] To make me give up my personal ideas and views as well as my opinions on religion, so that those officers may say that they actually managed to change the thinking of those extremists. I remember that when Dr Sayid Imam's initiative was announced, I was taken to the SSI headquarters in violation of prison regulations. They warned me there of commenting on it and tortured me by electrocution in sensitive areas.

[Adib] Do you believe that every Islamic current should have a military wing?

[Al-Zawahiri] We act as Allah orders us to do. He orders us to promote religious advocacy and we do so. He orders us to learn and we learn.

He orders us to promote goodness and fight sin and we do so. He orders us to wage jihad and we wage jihad. If we cannot [wage jihad] we still [are required to] say that jihad is a duty.

[Description of Source: Cairo Al-Misri al-Yawm in Arabic • Respected independent pro-reform daily focusing on domestic political issues; largest-circulation independent publication, especially widely read among youth.]

Egypt: Islamic Group To Elect New Leadership; Group Issues Statement

GMP20110319825006 London Al-Hayah Online in Arabic 19 Mar 11

[Report from Cairo by Ahmad Rahim: •Tariq al-Zumar Tells Al-Hayah a New Leadership for the Islamic Group Will Be Elected This Week•]

Tariq al-Zumar, member of the Shura [consultative] Council of the Islamic Group, said that it has been decided to hold a general congress of the group this week to elect a shura council, an executive council, and president of the council. He noted: "The holding of a general congress will resolve all crises (within the group), if there are any."

Al-Zumar told Al-Hayah: "A new leadership must be elected." He said there are attempts to achieve reconciliation among the group's leading figures following the shura council's decision to dismiss leading figure Safwat Abd-al-Ghani and suspend Isam Darbalah's membership of the council because "they called for a return to the thought that existed before the initiative [of the group to give up violence]", according to a statement issued by the group's shura council.

However, Al-Zumar asserted that he has not seen such a decision and said that Darbalah and Abd-al-Ghani are among the group's most

acceptable and popular leaders and that they are convinced most of the initiative and the need to halt armed action.

Al-Zumar said this decision is illegitimate and expressed doubt that it was taken by the group's shura council.

He affirmed that there are contacts under way to convene a general congress of the group to elect a new leadership. He said: "The situation has changed. We live in a climate of revolution that requires restructuring of the group because it is impossible for the group to continue with its old structure and a new leadership must be elected."

He added: "This is the practical application of the initiative. After this initiative, we cannot accept the continuation of the figures who led the group according to the principle of 'you must hear and obey.' This method was good for clandestine action. Now, however, we must open up to the generation of youths and give them an opportunity to be promoted and to participate in the decision-making process inside the group."

Al-Zumar explained that what was proposed years ago was to restructure the group when the circumstances allow, "in other words, when the [state's] security agencies collapse, which is what happened."

Disagreements erupted within the Islamic Group a few days after the release of Islamists Abbud and Tariq al-Zumar. The group's shura council accused some of its leading figures of revoking the initiative to halt violence. Under this initiative, the tracking down of the group's leaders and members was halted in exchange for them laying down their arms after years of conflict with the state.

Earlier, the Islamic Group's shura council decided to dismiss leading figure Safwat Abd-al-Ghani and to suspend the membership of Shaykh Isam Darbalah.

A statement issued by the council said: "It has been proven through exclusive evidence that a few members of the group sought to return to the pre-initiative thought and tried to persuade others to embrace the thought that existed before the initiative by meeting with a number of the brothers and urging them to abandon the initiative."

The statement added: "Shaykh Abbud al-Zumar made many statements contradicting the thought of the initiative. These views do not

represent the group. They mainly represent their authors, with our personal appreciation to them. The Islamic Group is not responsible for any person who proposes a thought contradicting the thought of the initiative."

[Description of Source: London Al-Hayah Online in Arabic -- Website of influential Saudi-owned London pan-Arab daily. URL: http://www.daralhayat.com]

Al-Maqrizi Center Posts Names of 35 Islamists Freed From Egyptian Prisons

GMP20110318117008 Shumukh al-Islam Network in Arabic 18 Mar 11

[Statement attributed to the London-based Al-Maqrizi Center for Historical Studies, dated 17 March: "Names of the released detainees from the Al-Aqrab, Al-Istiqbal, Al-Wadi, and Burj al-Arab Prisons" -"Murasil Markaz al-Maqrizi," user number 8344, posted the statement.]

Statement No 25 for the Year 1432 Corresponding o 2011

Names of the released detainees from the Al-Aqrab, Al-Istiqbal, AlWadi, and Burj al-Arab Prisons:

God saved Shaykh Muhammad al-Zawahiri from the edge of death

By: Dr Hani al-Siba'i

Director of the Al-Maqrizi Center for Historical Studies

The Al-Maqrizi Center publishes the names of the detainees, who were released Thursday, 12 Rabi al-Thani 1432, corresponding to 17 March 2011. The most famous name of the detainees was Engineer Muhammad al-

Zawahiri, who was expecting the implementation of the death sentence issued on 18 April 1999 against him by the Military Court in the case of "the Returnees from Albania."

Shaykh Muhammad al-Zawahiri is the brother of Dr Ayman al-Zawahiri. He was accused in the greater Al-Jihad Case numbered 462 in 1981. He was tried in absentia but in 1997, he was abducted from the United Arab Emirates. He is known to be one of the strongest opponents of the retractions of Sayyid Imam and the Jama'ah al-Islamiyah [Islamic Group], which were prepared under the supervision and planning of the dissolved State Security Investigations. May God make him firm and turn his release into one of a miracle and an example to those who retreated from the truth.

Shaykh Muhammad al-Zawahiri was released after God had saved him from the edge of death by His grace from a direction he did not perceive although he was the most optimistic among others.

Among the names of the most famous people who were firm on the truth was Engineer Shaykh Muhammad Abd-al-Rahman al-Sharqawi, aka Abd-alRahman al-Ilictroni [The Electronic]. He was departed from Pakistan in 1995 although he has a Pakistani citizenship and married to a Pakistan woman. He was supposed to be freed years ago; however, because he refused the retractions of the State Security, they exiled him to the Al-Wadi al-Jadid Prison. He was released only today, by the grace of God.

In a telephone call with Shaykh Yahya Khalaf, he confirmed the news and told us the names of the released detainees as follows:

First: Names of those who were released from the Al-Aqrab Prison in Turah area:

1- Engineer Shaykh Muhammad Rabi al-Zawahiri

2- Muhammad Mahmud Husayn al-Sayyid

Second: Names of those who were released from the Al-Wadi al-Jadid Prison:

1- Muhammad Abd-al-Hamid Abd-al-Hadi

2- Mustafa Abd-al-Zahir Ibrahim

3- Isam Yusri Muhammad

4- Badr-al-Din Nasr Hamid Abbas

5- Faraj Hammad Musa Hammad (Palestinian)

Fourth: Turah:

Names of those who were released from the reception prison in

1- Sayyid Husni Ali

2- Ali al-Arif Tilib

3- Husam Ahmad Diraj

4- Muhammad Ahmad Diraj (his brother)

5- Muhammad Ali Mustafa

6- Muhammad Abd-al-Ghaffar Hasan

7- Muhammad Abd-al-Hakim Mitwali

8- Usamah Ahmad Abbas

9- Sharif Muhammad Abd-al-Hamid al-Farisi

10- Tamir al-Sayyid al-Khudari

11- Tariq Nasr Abd-al-Latif

12- Muhammad Ahmad Abbas

13- Abd-al-Rahim Awad Abd-al-Al

14 Akram Abd-al-Badi Ahmad

15- Khalid Hamdi Abd-al-Hamid

16- Muhammad Badr-al-Din Uthman

17- Hatim Mukhtar Abdallah

18- Nizar Ahmad Sultan Abd-al-Halim

19- Faraj Musa Abdallah Ali

20- Samir Khamis Muhammad Ma'ruf

21- Ahmad al-Sayyid Hazza

22- Hudhayfah Majdi Kamal -- Son of Shaykh Majdi Kamal, also known in Bani-Suwayf as Abu-Hudhayfah

23- Ahmad Mahmud Abd-al-Hamid Mahmud

24- Mahmud Abd-al-Hamid Mahmud Muhammad

25- Marwan Muhammad Salim Hilmi

26- Ahmad Samir Sa'd Ramadan

27- Muhammad Karim Ali al-Dib

28- Fadi Muhammad Mamduh

Based on the abovementioned, the Al-Maqrizi Center praised God for the release of those wronged youth and elderly people. We ask God to compensate them for the imprisonment, torture, and unjust rulings and reward them well in the Day of Resurrection.

The center also emphasizes that there are a lot of the wronged sons of the Islamic movement, who are kept in the darkness of the Egyptian prisons. The list of those prisoners include Shaykh Nabil alMaghribi, who is almost 70 years old, Shaykh Ahmad Salamah, Shaykh Adil Awad Shihtu, Shaykh Ahmad Ash'ush, Shaykh Murjan Salim, and others.

Therefore, we demand the release of all the wronged people from the Egyptian prisons to honor them and compensate them and their families for each day they spent in the darkness of the prisons of the ousted tyrant.

Al-Maqrizi Center for Historical Studies

12 Rabi al-Thani 1432

17 March 2011

[A link to the center's website is provided here.]

[To view the vernacular, click here.]

[Description of Source: Shumukh al-Islam Network in Arabic -- Salafijihadist, pro-Iraqi insurgency web forum with a focus on global jihad; established in April 2007; served as official online dissemination point for Al-Qa'ida and affiliate messaging since late 2008; URL: www.shamikh1.net/vb]

Disagreements in Leadership of Egypt•s Islamic Group Reported

GMP20110318825003 London Al-Hayah Online in Arabic 18 Mar 11

[Article by Ahmad Rahim: "Egypt: Disagreements in Leadership of Islamic Group, Exchange of Accusations of Revoking Initiative Renouncing Violence"]

Sharp disagreements have crept into the Islamic Group (al-Jama'ah alIslamiyah) only a few days after the release of the Islamists Abbud and Tariq al-Zumar. The group's Shura Council has accused some of its leaders of revoking the violence-halting initiative by virtue of which prosecutions of group leaders and members were halted in return for the group's abandonment of arms after years of conflict with the state. However, a leader who was removed from the group denied to AlHayat that this was the case. "The affair," he said, "is nothing but an attempt to wrest control of the group."

The group's Shura Council decided yesterday to dismiss the leader Safwat Abd-al-Ghani and suspend the membership of Shaykh Isam Darbalah.

A council statement said that when the group "issued its well-known initiative to halt violence, it consecrated its return to Islam's centrality and realism, and thus irrevocably abandoned violence in thought and in deed." The statement added: "We now have conclusive evidence that a few in the group have endeavored to return to preinitiative thinking and have tried to shift the thinking of others to a pre-initiative phase by holding meetings with a number of brothers and inciting them to abandon the thinking of the initiative. We have therefore decided the following: to dismiss Brother Safwat Abd-alGhani from the Islamic Group, as well as everyone proven to have

returned to the pre-initiative thinking, and to suspend Shaykh Isam Darbalah from membership in the Shura Council of the Islamic Group pending investigation."

The statement indicated: "Shaykh Abbud al-Zumar has made many statements in recent days contradicting the ideas of the initiative. These opinions do not represent the Islamic Group; they primarily represent their authors. Although we respect them personally, the Islamic Group is not responsible for anyone who proposes ideas at variance with the thinking of the initiative."

The group advised "the loyal sons of the Islamic Group not to break the promises that they had made to God." The Shura Council has formed a committee of mid-level leaders to implement such policies for the period as the council shall lay down in coming days and to prepare for free and honest elections in the coming period from base to summit. It stressed that "the initiative was not a deal with a regime. It did not revolve around a government, but around the religious law of Islam. It was a commerce with God first and last." The Islamic Group "will adhere to its promise, first to God and then to the society. It will continue to hold to all peaceful means of calling to Islam by ideas and behavior, and will complete its course of guiding mankind and reforming society."

For his part, the dismissed leader Safwat Abd-al-Ghani told Al-Hayat that the Shura Council's statement was completely invalid and devoid of any legitimacy, "because it was issued without making any investigation. Only four council members made the decision, which means that the legal quorum was not present, and so the decision was invalid. The decision-maker cannot be a party to the argument and an arbiter at the same time."

He added: "The dispute concerns restructuring. We want the group's leadership to be chosen by free, direct election. We reject domination of it. There are voices that reject this attitude despite their weak justifications and that insist on managing affairs as is. They reject institutions -- hence the argument." Abd-al-Ghani said: "We were never against the initiative. We are supporters of it and even stronger than they in the direction of peace.... They have not revealed the truth about the disagreement. They want to make people afraid of us. However, we affirm that we are more committed than they to the thinking and path of the initiative." He considered that the decision "is nothing but an attempt to block any restructuring of the group." He explained that he and the group supporting restructuring would call for a plenary session to define who is responsible for managing the group's affairs.

Dr Najih Ibrahim, the Islamic Group's theoretician and number-two man, replied that there was a group within the group that wanted "to

replace the thinking of the initiative, but we reject this." He asked: "Shall we return to non-peaceful thinking, given the new young people and the security breakdown? What will be the result?" He said to AlHayat: "They say, 'We want the old thinking along with no use of weapons.' However, this thinking, given the new generation and under the current circumstances, will certainly spark violence. Hard-line thinking will generate hard-line behavior."

He explained that Safwat Abd-al-Ghani had not merely engaged in talk; he had contacted supporters, brought them together, and told them that the initiative had been a phase that had fallen with the fall of the regime. Ibrahim added: "The group did not conclude the initiative with the regime, so that it should fall with the fall of the regime. It was a promise to God first and an obligation toward the society.... Their view is different. It isn't possible for you to espouse hard-line thinking without generating violence."

[Description of Source: London Al-Hayah Online in Arabic -- Website of influential Saudi-owned London pan-Arab daily. URL: http://www.daralhayat.com]

Report: Salafis Coming Hard, Fast to Egyptian Politics, But Not United

GMP20110322013002 Cairo Al-Ahram in Arabic 22 Mar 11 p 10

[Article by Dr Wahid Abd-al-Majid: "Salafis and Politics: From Reluctance to Competition"]

Salafi individuals and groups are looking for a role in the new political landscape being shaped now, after the 25 January Revolution opened the door to major transformations; most importantly their entry into the world of politics that they had been eager to stay away from.

Therefore, it seems interesting today that many of Salafis are calling for participation in elections and parliament, competing against political parties and forces, and representing a major challenge to

the Muslim Brotherhood. The decision made by the shura council of Ansar al-Sunnah [Supporters of Prophet Muhammad's traditions and sayings] on March 11 was a turning point in this direction. The decision affirmed that (there is no religious objection to participate in the elections of the People's Assembly and Shura Council because they are means of empowering and spreading Islamic call among all sections of the community). When the members of this council include some of the most well-known Salafi clerics, such as Shaykh Muhammad Hassan and Shaykh Muhammad Husayn Ya'kub, then this transformation must entail proof that the phase of reviewing doctrines has been exceeded to reach the political arena.

The followers of these two shaykhs throughout the country are probably not fewer than the members of all existing political parties combined. The Ansar al-Sunnah group dates back to 1926. It is the second largest Salafi group after Al-Jam'iyah al-Shar'iyah [the Shari'ah Association], which was founded in 1912. Although the latter never became directly involved in politics, it began to organize public conferences on March 12 under the title (the return of faith and stability to the Egyptian street for a better tomorrow). This Association controls more than 3,000 mosques in all Egyptian governorates, and sponsors a huge number of social projects that help the poor, which means that it would be a huge electoral force, if it decided to participate in elections directly or indirectly.

Perhaps this is it what Abbud al-Zumur, who has just been released from prison after serving a 30-year sentence for his role in the assassination of Al-Sadat and the Jihad Organization, is betting on when he announces that he wants to form a political party or coalition that includes his organization, the Islamic Group and the Salafi groups.

However, the Salafis may not need his leadership, not to mention the difficulty of uniting them under one coalition. Talking about Salafis without distinguishing between them would be an attempt to downplay a huge and complex phenomenon, which includes diverse trends, groups and symbols with different stances. Some members reject any criticism of the leader [of the country], while others have taken up arms against him. The Jihad Organization and the Islamic Group are violent extensions of Salafism, which these groups have turned into Jihadist Salafism.

Although the vast majority of Salafis have never practiced or even come close to politics, they have made a profound impact on Egyptian society in recent decades. Their activities were the main reason behind the spread of common Islamic manifestations and rituals. They operate in the heart of society and influence it more than anybody else. Therefore, it was a mistake to view them as Muslim scholars specializing in the jurisprudence of menstruation and puerperium, or imagine that Salafis are an enclosed sea whose water is stagnated in comparison with the high waves crashing in the Muslim Brotherhood's

sea. The truth is that these waves have affected them to one degree or another, and created a debate that began more than a decade ago and covered the issue of politics and political work; especially after the attempt by a number of members, who belonged to the Jihad movement in their youth, to establish political parties.

This initiative was made by a bright and well-read Salafi thinker called Jamal Sultan, who thought of establishing the Reform Party, and enlightened lawyer Mamduh Isma'il, who thought of establishing AlShari'ah [Islamic Law] Party and wrote a political program for it in 1999. A few years later, well-known lawyer and writer Muntasir alZayyat moved in the same direction when he tried to found the Union for Freedom Party in 2007.

Salafi elders moved in a different direction, but not too far away. Shaykh Sa'id Abd-al-Azim, a Salafi symbol in the movement's current stronghold (Alexandria) in Egypt, launched an initiative to reform society in 2005 called (the Salafi initiative for reform). Although he rejected democracy under the pretext that it contradicts the Quran and Sunnah, and asked voters to boycott elections, his initiative was part of the movement that also included the beginning of the controversy about participation in elections, and calls by other Salafi leaders, such as Yasir Burhami in Alexandria as well, to show flexibility in this regard. Moreover, the shift in the position of Salafi groups towards participation in elections in some Arab countries like Kuwait and Bahrain, where the Salafi movement has become one of the most powerful voting blocs, has affected some Salafis in Egypt.

This was not just a shift in practice because it was accompanied by new interpretations unprecedented in the history of Salafism, especially the works of Shaykh Abd-al-Rahman Abd-al-Khaliq in Kuwait (such as Muslims and Political Action) and (Shura under the Islamic System of Governance).

However, the prevailing atmosphere among Salafis in Egypt has not allowed any real discussion of such interpretations, which are likely to have a greater impact on their attitudes and actions in the near future. They are coming hard and fast to the political arena, but they will not be united. It is difficult, and perhaps impossible, to unite them in one bloc. Some of them may respond positively to Abbud alZumur's call. Or, the parties formed by Sultan, Isma'il, Al-Zayat might have much greater opportunities in the coming period , not to mention other projects that will emerge and the large existing entities, foremost among which are the Shari'ah Association, Ansar alSunnah, and the shaykhs and preachers who work independently.

The presence of the Salafis will be a challenge to the old political parties, which will fight for survival, and the new ones that will emerge in the coming days, as well as the Muslim Brotherhood and its

Freedom and justice Party, which will face competition from newcomers in a way that could reshape relations between various players in the political arena, which is being shaped now.

[Description of Source: Cairo Al-Ahram in Arabic -- State-controlled daily newspaper of record, reportedly Egypt's highest circulation daily; Al-Ahram controls the distribution of all other newspapers, state-run and opposition alike.]

Highlights: Forum Participants on Release of Jihadist Prisoners in Egypt

GMP20110323836007 Jihadist Websites -- OSC Summary in Arabic 16 Mar 11 - 22 Mar 11

From 16-22 March, forum participants on various jihadist websites posted their reactions to Egyptian authorities' release of Jihad Organization and Islamic Group prisoners, including Muhammad alZawahiri, brother of Ayman al-Zawahiri. Many rejoiced at the release of Muhammad al-Zawahiri, while others discussed past renunciation of violent jihad on the party of Egyptian jihadist leaders like Abbud alZumar.

Shumukh al-Islam Network

Shumukh al-Islam Network in Arabic -- Salafi-jihadist, pro-Iraqi insurgency web forum with a focus on global jihad; established in April 2007; served as official online dissemination point for AlQa'ida and affiliate messaging since late 2008; URL: www.shamikh1.net/vb

-- In a message titled "Here We Congratulate Shaykh Muhammad alZawahiri and His Brothers, and Receive Congratulations for the Release of the Steadfast (Chaim Yaakov)," a forum participant expressed his "joy, pleasure, and jubilance" at the release of Ayman al-Zawahiri's brother Muhammad in Egypt. He congratulated "our virtuous shaykhs, the shaykhs and leaders of jihad" on the news. (by "Hammam Bin-Abd-alRahman," user number 2970; Thread 99782) This message generated the following responses:

"We ask God to give the shaykh and all his brothers steadfastness after a life of prison and detention, for there are many different forms of discord, and the brothers will come under intense pressure in an attempt to affect their creed and their resolve to continue on in support of the religion of God." (by "Mutabassir," user number 6639; Thread 99782)

"Congratulations to you, Shaykh Al-Zawahiri, and to all the leaders of jihad all over the world. We await your brigades in Egypt." (by "AlMuhajir al-Kinani," user number 9400; Thread 99782)

-- In a message titled "Shaykh Ayman al-Zawahiri in the Streets of Cairo," which was later removed from the website, a forum participant asked "What is the difference between the brothers Abbud al-Zumar, Tariq al-Zumar and Shaykh Karam Zuhdi, and Ayman al-Zawahiri?" He asked "Would it not be better for...Ayman al-Zawahiri to return to his country...to practice his jihad, in the broader sense, from Egypt?" He continued, saying that Al-Zawahiri, "like all other Egyptians" enjoys the rights of "so-called 'democracy, opinion, and freedom.'" Noting that he was a member of the Jihad Organization whose "leaders are leaving prison," the author asked why Al-Zawahiri is forbidden to "return to Egypt to exercise his freedom in any way?" He asked "What is the difference between the venerable shaykh and the leaders of the Jihad [Organization] who are being released?...Can the shaykh return to Egypt after modifying his tone to please God and for the good of jihad and the mujahidin?" (by "Salah al-Din al-Ayyubi," user number 12437; Thread 99816) This message generated the following responses:

"Could you clarify for us how the shaykh is modifying his tone to please God and for the good of jihad and the mujahidin?" (by "shahed," user number 10950; Thread 99816)

"What I mean, my good brother, is that the esteemed leaders of the Jihad Organization and the Islamic Group [Al-Jama'ah al-Islamiyyah] have left [prison] and are among the people, exercising their freedom. Can that not be applied to Shaykh Ayman, with him returning to the Land of the Quiver [Egypt], if he alters his tone, meaning his style, while preserving his principles?" (by "Salah al-Din al-Ayyubi," user number 12437; Thread 99816)

-- In a message titled "Great News From Egypt: Islamic Group Leaders Call for a Return to Jihadist Thinking, and the Group Dismisses Some Members," a forum participant posted a link to a statement attributed to the Shura Council of the Islamic Group that said "Today we have definitive evidence that a small minority in the group is seeking a return to pre-initiative [refers to the group's renunciation of violent jihad] thinking, attempting to convert the thinking of others, through meetings held with a number of brothers, to the pre-initiative phase, and urging them to abandon the initiative." (by "Adu al-Nifaq," user number 7615; Thread 99780) This message generated the following response:

"We must now disseminate the canon and literature of jihadist thought and the papers and treatises of the leaders and ideologues of jihad, especially those that address this matter and respond to the initiative, like Exoneration [by Ayman al-Zawahiri]." (by "Al-Muhajir al-Kinani," user number 9400; Thread 99780)

-- In a message titled "Urgent: Important and Urgent Statement from the Islamic Group," a forum participant posted the same Islamic Group Shura Council statement. (by "Abir Sabil," user number 11867; Thread 99718) This message generated the following responses:

"After Shaykh Abbud al-Zumar came out with his arguments, powerful style, and responses, and silenced the secularists, some degenerate Islamic Group members came out to us in order to save face and out of shame before the sons of the Islamic Group, who witnessed some of their leaders' disgrace, ignominy, hypocrisy for the secularists, and blatant lies in some of their responses, having once thought that this was a cover in-line with legitimate policy. Truth be told, the responses of Shaykh Abbud were hundreds of times more powerful than those of the Muslim Brotherhood or the Islamic Group leaders, and those who watched the interview with Shaykh Abbud know this." (by "Abir Sabil," user number 11867; Thread 99718)

"We preformed the funeral prayer for the Islamic Group ages ago." (by "Abd-al-Salam," user number 12878; Thread 99718)

"Why are you posting a thread like this? First of all, Shaykh Abbud did not silence anyone. Rather, all the TV journalists gave him a tongue-lashing. Also, his thought is deviant. As for the return of the Islamic Group, it will never be what it was, even if it did come back. I wish the administration would step up its monitoring of postings so that no one gets misinformed." (by "Miqdad al-Masri," user number 7144; Thread 99718)

-- In a message titled "O People of Egypt: You Came out by the Millions to Demand Democracy, so How Many of You Will Come out To Free Shaykh Muhammad al-Zawahiri From the Claws of the Enemies of the Lord of all Mankind?" a forum participant responded to reports of Muhammad al-Zawahiri being rearrested, asking "what are you doing?" Addressing Egyptians, he said "The collaborator Egyptian regime delivered a strong slap to your face when it arrested Shaykh Muhammad alZawahiri." The author then called on Egyptians to "march to the palaces, citadels, and offices of apostasy, whether they belong to the state security or army, and give them a three-day deadline to release all monotheist detainees." (by "Rub'a Bin-Amir Bin-Khalid," user number 13688; Thread 100586) This message generated no responses.

Al-Jazirah Talk in Arabic

Doha Al-Jazirah Talk in Arabic -- Independent news website and discussion forum geared toward Arab youth that features contributions by Al-Jazirah TV anchors; it is not formally affiliated with the AlJazirah Network; URL: http://www.aljazeeratalk.net/por

-- A forum participant posted a message titled "Shaykh Ayman alZawahiri in the Streets of Cairo," the same message posted to the Shumukh al-Islam Network by "Salah al-Din al-Ayyubi," user number 12437. (by "Imam al-Jihad," user number 19354; Thread 323510) This message generated the following responses:

"What do you mean, my brother, by his abandoning some matters?" (by "Al-Muqassir," user number 85498; Thread 323510)

"I mean, my brother, changing his religious tone, as did the leaders of jihad who have been released. In other words, he changes his style and upholds his principles. God bless you." (by "Imam al-Jihad," user number 19354; Thread 323510)

Ana al-Muslim Network

Ana al-Muslim Network in Arabic -- Largest, most doctrinally diverse jihadist website in online jihadist environment; features vocal minority of participants who occasionally argue against Al-Qa'ida and terrorism in general; online in its current format since at least 1996 and possesses a more moderate tone than other sites of comparable importance; URL: www.muslm.net/vb

-- In a message titled "Abbud al-Zumar Teaches Al-Zawahiri a Lesson He Will Not Forget," a forum participant said that Abbud al-Zumar "told the entire world" that he still "rejects the use of violence in the name of jihad, that he supports the constitutional amendments, and that the men of the army hold a special place in his eyes." The author then asked if Ayman al-Zawahiri would "learn from Abbud al-Zumar," especially since he was "the military leader of Egyptian Jihad Organization, to which Al-Zawahiri belongs." (by "Hisham al-Bakri," user number 83282; Thread 428020) This message generated the following response:

"Shaykh Ayman al-Zawahiri does not harbor hostility toward Shaykh Abbud. Shaykh Abbud (may God protect him) is talking about balances of power and conditions on the ground. May God bless you and support the mujahidin." (by "Akrah al-Nifaq," user number 111500; Thread 428020)

Ansar Dawlat al-Iraq al-Islamiyah

Ansar Dawlat al-Iraq al-Islamiyah in Arabic -- A minor Salafi-jihadist forum that re-posts Al-Qa'ida and affiliate media productions; first observed online in June 2010, the site features productions and discussion focused on the Al-Qa'ida-affiliated Islamic State of Iraq, as well as global jihad in general; URL: www.ansar-dawlat-aliraqalislamiyah.net/vb

-- In a message titled "Names of the Brothers Who Have Been Released, and Where Shaykh Muhammad al-Zawahiri Is," a forum participant listed the following names, saying that they had been released from prison: "Shaykh Abu-Ahmad al-Masri, Shaykh Abu-al-Bara al-Andalusi, Shaykh Abu-Ayyub al-Ansari, the brother Al-Mu'min Billah, the brother AlAbadilah, and the brother Al-Faruq Umar." "Shaykh Abu-Hajir al-Libi and the brother Al-Zubayr al-Masri," he said are still in prison. (by "azam," user number 231; Thread 8716) This message generated no significant responses.

Egypt: Freed Islamists Abbud, Tariq al-Zumur on Al-Sadat Assassination, Mubarak

GMP20110320693001 Dubai Al-Arabiyah Television in Arabic 1405 GMT 20 Mar 11

Dubai Al-Arabiyah Television in Arabic -- Saudi-funded pan-Arab satellite news channel, with a special focus on Saudi Arabia -- at 1405 GMT on 20 March carries a new recorded episode of its weekly "Special Encounter" talk show program. Moderator Randa Abu-al-Azm interviews Shaykh Abbud al-Zumur and his brother Dr Tariq al-Zumur, leading figures in the Egyptian Al-Jama'ah al-Islamiyah [the Islamic Group], who spent 30 years in prison on charges of complicity in the assassination of former Egyptian President Anwar al-Sadat, at their Cairo residence places.

Abu-al-Azm beings by saying that as a result of the assassination of Al-Sadat, emergency laws were imposed and former President Mubarak took power.

In response, Abbud says "this is true in principle. The assassination brought Mubarak to power, the country faced a very serious political crisis, and the entire society was put in a large prison." In the era of Al-Sadat, he says, "there was a serious political tension and deadlock, with Al-Sadat placing himself above the law and cracking down on the opposition forces." Therefore, "it was necessary to topple him," he says, adding that "I was tasked with drawing up a plan not to kill him but to topple him." Although they knew that "we were not bloodsuckers or advocates of killing," he says "former pro-regime circles, nevertheless, spread rumors to taint our image as an Islamist organization."

Asked if the plan did not include the assassination of Al-Sadat, Abbud says "the original plan was only aimed at toppling the regime and establishing a new one in its place." Our primary goal, he says, "was to take control of the main institutions, arrest the president, and stir a large-scale popular uprising."

Asked whether he disapproved the assassination, Abbud says "we just wanted to change the regime, which had reached a deadlock in its relations with the Arabs as a result of its peace treaty [with Israel] Consequently, he says, "Egypt was isolated on the local, international, and Islamic levels, became an object of hatred, and was completely distanced from the Arab-Israeli conflict under the said treaty."

Asked about his role in the assassination, Abbud says "when the proposal was made, I called for an alternative plan to arrest the leaders and then reveal our vision of the new regime based on the Islamic point of view." But certain events, he says, "led to confrontation, with Khalid al-Islambuli and his colleagues drawing up a plan for the assassination." He says "we could not influence AlIslambuli's decision," adding that "it was those who had carried out

the assassination, even though some said that foreign parties were involved in the plan." Following the assassination, he says, "we were arrested and sentenced to prison terms on charges of backing the plan."

Asked whether he views the assassins as martyrs, Abbud says "yes, I do because the situation had reached a deadlock and there was no solution."

Asked if he views Al-Sadat as a martyr, Abbud says "Al-Sadat harmed his people by signing the peace treaty and committing violations."

Asked whether Al-Sadat deserved to be killed because of the peace treaty, Abbud says "he should have been ousted and the regime changed, but the problem was that there was no mechanism for change."

Asked whether he holds the rulers, who do not apply the Islamic Law, unbelievers, Abbud says "this concept is inherent in the Islamic Law, but that sometimes it cannot be applied under certain circumstances."

Asked whether Al-Sadat deserved to be killed, Abbud says "I was not in a position to make such a judgment," adding that "it is a team of Muslim scholars that can made such a judgment."

Abu-al-Azm says that in our interview with him in 2006, Shaykh Karam Zuhdi, [former Al-Jama'ah al-Islamiyah Shura Council speaker], said "the killing of rulers was not a good deed."

Abbud says "it is the assassins that should apologize, even though we took part in the plan based on fatwas they had issued," adding tha t "the political deadlock and the absence of a mechanism for change prompted some young people to carry out the plan." As a result of the incident, he says, "Husni Mubarak took power, an arrest campaign was launched, and emergency laws were imposed on the country."

Abu-al-Azm notes that Umar Tahir wrote an article in the Al-Masri daily urging Abbud to apologize for the killing of an Egyptian citizen.

Abbud says that "compared to Al-Sadat's era, a new mechanism has now emerged in the country and a change can be made through peaceful demonstrations."

Asked if he intends to name himself candidate for speaker of the AlJama'ah al-Islamiyah Shura Council as an alternative to the group's traditional leaders, such as Karam Zuhdi, who were accused of loyalty to the former regime, Abbud says "those people are very good, even though they kept silent over certain violations by the former regime."

Asked if he wants to name himself candidate for that job, Abbud says "of course, not even though I named myself candidate for the job last time in order to offer a moderate political vision and program acceptable to people and to expose the Mubarak regime and its violations." The Mubarak regime, he says, "has left behind a scorched land, sectarian problems, factional woes, and corruption."

Asked whether he supports Sharaf as prime minister, Abbud says "Yes, I do to help him play his role."

Asked how he views Amr Musa and ElBaradei as candidates for president, Abbud says "I am not inclined to back either."

Asked if he is planning to form a Salafi political party, Abbud says "I call for that but cannot engage in a party because of my poor health."

Abu-al-Azm says the Muslim Brotherhood group is more organized and enjoys more popular support than the Al-Jama'ah al-Islamiyah.

Abbud says "the Muslim Brotherhood is a well-organized group and we maintain close ties with it," adding that "the diversity in the ranks of the Islamists gives people the impression that Islam is not monopolized by a specific group." He says "the Muslim Brotherhood group is a moderate organization and we are going to adopt moderate policies at the coming stage."

Asked if he still wants to apply the Islamic law, including the amputation of thieves' hands, flogging adulterers, and imposing head tax on Coptic Christians making up 10 percent of the people, Abbud says "the Copts share us everything, defend the country, and fought side by side with us in the 1973 war." Admitting that "it is impossible for us to impose head tax on Copts," he says "the application of the Islamic Law, including amputation of hand, however, will protect the society as well as Copts' rights as a minority."

Asked if he sees any model of Islamic system of governance in the region that can be applied in Egypt, Abbud says "every country has its own circumstances." For example, he says, "Turkey has its own system, HAMAS has established a state on part of an occupied country, and Iran is a Shiite country."

Asked how he views the Taliban system of governance, Abbud says "the Taliban system is based on a tribal system."

Asked whether the Al-Jama'ah al-Islamiyah has any communication with the new generation of young people, Abbud says "we are following up on this issue closely and have a clear vision of how it can be done."

Asked if his group will accept a woman as president or judge, Abbud says "we have no problem with this issue."

Asked if he has any link to Al-Qa'ida's Ayman al-Zawahiri, who has not said anything since the 25 January revolution, Abbud says "AlZawahiri, an excellent, pious person, stayed with me for three years." He says "we advised him not to strike any target in the Arab countries and to launch jihad in occupied countries, such as Palestine, Afghanistan, and Iraq."

Asked how he views the 11 September incidents, Abbud says "I denounced them simply because they harmed peaceful people enjoying freedom under a democratic system of governance," adding t hat "the incidents prompted the United States and the West to take a position hostile to the entire Islamic current."

Asked if he heard anything from Al-Zawahiri during or after the 25 January revolution, Abbud says "I have not heard anything from him for a long time."

Starting the interview with Tariq al-Zumur, Abu-al-Azm asks him about his role in the assassination of Al-Sadat.

Tariq says "the court, which looked into the assassination, sentenced me to 20 years in prison on charges of taking part in the plan to assassinate Al-Sadat." Our organization at that time, he says, "had military and civilian wings and was led by Dr Umar Abd-al-Rahman, who was engaged in those events." He says "the seventies of the past century were characterized by a great Islamic awakening at the Egyptian universities, which played a key role in the Islamic call and the cherished change in the society."

Abu-al-Azm says the Al-Jama'ah al-Islamiyah allied itself with the jihad groups to assassinate Al-Sadat, asking how that took place.

Tariq says "the Islamic movement was characterized by vigor during the seventies, and differences among its ranks were so simple that they were patched up easily." He says "at that stage, I played the role of a connecting link between our organization and that of Ayman alZawahiri and we began coordination between the two organizations." Suddenly, he says, "I found myself engaged in the activity of a third jihad organization led by Kamal Habib." That coalition "had a role to play ahead of the assassination, even though it was not strong," he says, adding that "the three organizations united into what was called the Jihad Organization."

Abu-al-Azm says "you were accused of providing the bullets that were used in the assassination."

Tariq says "I approved the assassination and provided the bullets."

Asked how Abbud views the assassination, Tariq says "I informed him that a plan was under way to assassinate Al-Sadat," adding that "the original plan was just to stir a popular revolution." At that stage, he says, "the organization was unveiled after the political forces were put on alert." Therefore, "Al-Islambuli was tasked with taking part in the military parade and argued that since the organization was unveiled and its members would be jailed, why we should not get rid of the president." Shaykh Abbud, he says, "objected to the decision," saying that "the goal was not to kill the president but to change the regime." But when Abbud knew that all of the leaders of the organization in Upper and Lower Egypt "had decided to carry out the assassination," he says, "Abbud could not do anything."

Asked where he was during the military parade, Tariq says "we just decided to follow up on the operation on TV screens and then take the necessary measures."

Asked whether some details of the incident have not yet been revealed, Tariq says "its technical dimensions have always been clear, even though some alleged that the US intelligence service got rid of AlSadat." He says "the US intelligence suffered a loss as a result of the assassination of Al-Sadat," adding that "most of those who participated in Al-Sadat's funeral were US, Western, and Israeli officials and leaders." The corner stone of the US policy in the region "has been the Camp David accords over the past 40 years," he says, warning that "as a result of those accords, US influence in the Arab region has grown and the US-Israeli project has taken root in the

region." Therefore, he says, "the Americans made up for the loss by establishing an oppressive regime to pursue Al-Sadat's policies toward the United States and Israel and keep the Camp David accords in place."

Asked whether his group recognizes the Camp David accords, Tariq wonders "if the accords are sacred or mentioned in the Koran" and says "our objection to the accords does not mean their cancellation."

Asked if his group will cancel the accords if it assumes power in Egypt, Tariq says "at lea st we will say that certain provisions in the accords have not been honored," adding that "the accords are still in favor of Israel."

Asked whether he is ready to apologize to Al-Sadat's daughter for participating in the killing of her father, Tariq says "we have no problem with his family."

Abu-al-Azm says but Al-Sadat's family is sad.

Tariq says "we should focus on the future and the 25 January revolution at this particular time in order to avoid further tensions in the Egyptian society."

Abu-al-Azm says people want to make sure if the group has renounced violence.

Tariq says "we have published a document called the third alternative in which we renounced armed action in the Islamic societies, rejected submission to authoritarian regimes, backed peaceful resistance, and stopped targeting tourists, civilians, or Western societies."

Asked why the former regime released thousands of jihad figures from prison, such as Karam Zuhdi and Najih Ibrahim, and refused to release him and his colleagues, Tariq says "we declare an end to armed action in Egypt as necessary for the release of all the political prisoners." Nevertheless, he says, "the Egyptian security regime tried to force the prisoners to declare their support for it, but that we refused to give it any legitimacy."

Asked if he and his colleagues can be targeted, Tariq says "the defunct Mubarak regime is in a miserable situation, but that some remnants are still tampering with the society's security."

Asked how he views Egypt these days, Tariq says "I am pleased by and take pride in the ouster of Mubarak as a historic event," calling "for investing the current situation to build a new Egypt and eliminate the remnants of the former regime." He also calls "for ending insecurity and sectarian conflict and drafting a new constitution."

Asked if his group supports the constitutional amendments, Tariq says "we support them but call for a new constitution."

[Description of Source: Dubai Al-Arabiyah Television in Arabic -Saudi-funded pan-Arab satellite news channel, with a special focus on Saudi Arabia]

Family of US-Jailed Egyptian Islamist Said To Take Legal Action for his Release

GMP20110330825002 London Al-Hayah Online in Arabic 30 Mar 11

[Report from Cairo by Ahmad Mustafa: •The Family of Umar Abd-al-Rahman Takes Legal Action, and the Army •Sees No Problem in His Return••]

The family of the spiritual leader of the salafi jihadist trend in Egypt, Dr Umar Abd-al-Rahman, who has been detained in the United States for 18 years now, seeks to legally bring up the case of his imprisonment in an attempt to secure a ruling to extradite him to Cairo. Meanwhile, moves began in the circles of the Islamists to urge the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which runs Egypt's affairs, to intervene for his release.

Earlier, Islamists organized several demonstrations, the latest of which was held on Friday, outside the headquarters of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces in the Al-Qubbah District of eastern Cairo calling on the army to intervene for the release of the Al-Jama'ah alIslamiyah [Islamic Group] leader who is serving a life sentence on the charge of involvement in the bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993.

Umar Abd-al-Rahman's son, Ammar, said: "The family received a promise from the army to consider how to move in the case and discuss the appropriate legal means to ask Washington to release him."

He added that the family concluded an agreement with an Egyptian lawyer who has offices in the United States "to bring up the case on several tracks, including a challenge to the prison sentence and an attempt to have him extradited to Egypt to serve his sentence in it, if the lawyer cannot secure his release."

Ammar told Al-Hayah that he will leave for Washington within days "to bring up the case at the media and judicial levels after interest in it waned in the past."

He explained: "The defense team will rely on a US law that for the extradition of a foreigner who stands trial to the of his country to serve his sentence there. Also, there is that calls for the release of a prisoner due to old age if harm releasing him."

provides authorities another law there is no

Ammar said a delegation, consisting of his mother, his brother Abdallah, the Islamic Group's leading figure Isam Darbalah, and Islamist lawyer Muntasir al-Zayyat, met on Friday with Commander of the Military Police Major General Hamdi Badin who is a member of the military council "to discuss details of the detention of the shaykh and ask the general to intervene for his release."

He said Maj Gen Badin asserted to the delegation that the army and government "do not have the slightest problem with the shaykh and consider him one of the preachers of the holy Al-Azhar who are known

for their competence and that the shaykh's problem was with the former regime." He added that the army promised to consider asking the United States to extradite Umar Abd-al-Rahman.

Ammar said: "The family received a phone call on Monday from the commander of the military police in which the commander informed the family that the case has been put before the president of the military council, Field Marshal Husayn Tantawi, and that they will be notified of the response within hours."

Ammar said that Islamists will organize a demonstration within days outside the US Embassy compound in the Garden City District of central Cairo "to sound out the US view on the release of the shaykh."

He added: "Restrictions have been imposed on the shaykh since the outbreak of the revolution that brought down the regime of Husni Mubarak." He continued: "It seems that US officials' concern that the Islamists might seize power in Egypt will stand in the way of the release of my father."

Ammar said: "Since 24 January, he [Umar Abd-al-Rahman] has been banned from talking to his family through the mobile telephone and from talking to his guards. Also, he has been denied visits."

He added: "Abd-al-Rahman protested to the prison administration against these restrictions. The US Administration conveyed to his lawyer, Ramsey Clark, its apprehension about Abd-al-Rahman's capabilities because he is able to unite the ranks of the Islamic trends. H owever, this concern is unfounded because the shaykh is blind, uses a wheelchair, and cannot move due to several illnesses."

Ammar noted: "Qatar continues to show readiness to mediate with the US Administration to have him released or to receive him if Cairo refuses."

Earlier, Abd-al-Rahman's family issued a statement in which it called on the military council to "officially intervene fast in the case of our father who supported the initiative to halt violence. He has been isolated from the world, and his dignity has been violated for 18 years."

[Description of Source: London Al-Hayah Online in Arabic -- Website of influential Saudi-owned London pan-Arab daily. URL: http://www.daralhayat.com]

Egypt: Interview with Leading Islamic Group Figure Safwat Abd-al-Ghani

GMP20110402007002 Cairo Al-Jumhuriyah in Arabic 02 Apr 11 p 5

[Interview with leading Islamic Group figure Safwat Abd-al-Ghani Conducted by Jamal Abd-al-Rahim in Cairo: "Goodbye to Violence. We are Considering the Establishment of a Political Party. We shall not Field a Candidate in the Presidential Elections. Our Relations with the Muslim Brothers are Good"]

Safwat Ahmad Abd-al-Ghani, a member of Egypt's Al-Jama'a al-Islamiyyah [Islamic Group], said in an interview with the State-owned Cairo daily Al-Jumhuriyah published on 02 April that the Group was considering the formation of a political party with other Islamist group and that there was a possibility it would merge with the militant Islamic Jihad organization but without abandoning its announced initiative on renouncing violence.

In the interview with Jamal Abd-al-Rahim, Abd-al-Ghani dissociated the group from acts of violence committed after it announced its nonviolence initiative in 1997. He said the subsequent bombings in Sinai and Cairo were "committed by salafi jihadist elements that are not from Jihad or the Islamic Group",

He said the group's relations with the salafi trend in Egypt was "one of love and appreciation, and we all share the objective of serving the country and preserving the nation's [Islamic] identity".

Asked whether it was possible that the salafi current would revive violence, Abd-al-Ghani replied "violence is not in the style of the salafis, and I believe the coming days will witness rapprochement between the Islamic Group and the salafi current ... as for the relationship with Jihad, this is a good relationship and there will be no recurrence of past conflicts between the two. The difference was over the adoption by some Jihad leaders of the concept of takfir [branding as infidel] of the civilian and military establishments.

Jihad also relied on the jihadist approach only without pursuing the approach of religious advocacy which the Islamic Group relied upon as a means of spreading awareness in the Egyptian society".

He said he "expects and welcomes" the possibility of merger between the Group and Jihad, as was the case before the 1981 Sadat assassination. He said that the Group also had good relations with the Muslim Brotherhood "because the downfall of the regime has led to rapprochement among all religious groups".

Abd-al-Ghani said he did not think that Egypt would be transformed into "another Taliban". He said the comparison should be with Turkey "which prospered under the Islamists".

Asked about the group's relationship with Al-Qa'ida, Abd-al-Ghani replied: "My personal view is that Al-Qai'da has all the rights and legitimacy in fighting and combating those who occupy the Arab and Islamic countries, whether in Afghanistan or Iraq. This is part of mandatory and legitimate jihad. My only objection to Al-Qa'ida's style is on its undertaking of military operations against the Arab and Islamic regimes."

Abd-al-Ghani said he agreed with the interviewer that Ayman alZawahiri was the number one man in Al-Qa'ida not the second-incommand. "Indeed he is the number one man and Bin Ladin is the number two man, not the other way around. This is because Al-Zawahiri is considered the real thinker and ideologue with organizational and operational since the 1960s, unlike the rich Bin Ladin who entered this domain after Afghanistan's occupation," said Abd-al-Ghani who said he spent three years in the same cell in Egypt with Al-Zawahiri in the 1980s.

Asked whether he expected Al-Zawahiri to consider returning to Egypt after the revolution which toppled the regime of Husni Mubarak, Abdal-Ghani replied "I do not think he can consider this because he knows he is wanted dead or alive by the United States."

Asked why the Islamic Group does not move to obtain the release of its godfather, Shaykh Umar Abd-al-Rahman who is jailed in the United States, Abd-al-Ghani said "we hope the United States will release him in the coming period, especially since he is an elderly man and suffers from many ailments".

Abd-al-Ghani said his recent differences between Dr Najih Ibrahim, one of the Islamic Group' s top leaders, was because of his call for restructuring the group and reelecting its Shura Council which has

been in office since 1974. He denied Ibrahim's accusations that he was advocating return to violence, a charge which led to suspending his membership temporarily. "Elections should be held at the grass-root level to form a general assembly which in turn elects a new Shura Council. The grassroots elections are now underway in the villages and provincial capitals, and the Shura Council will be elected within days," he said. He said Najih Ibrahim and Karam Zuhdi opted to resign from the Shura Council to devote their energies to advocacy work.

Asked whether the Group was considering, like the Muslim Brotherhood, the formation of a political party, he replied: "This is very relevant and it will be proposed at the next general assembly meeting. If it is approved we shall launch incorporation steps," he said.

He said he did not think any member of the group intends to run in the presidential elections, adding that participation in the legislative elections would be considered "according to future contingencies".

Abd-al-Ghani was asked about recent statements by Deputy Prime Minister Dr Yahya al-Jamal about amending Article Two of the Constitution which stipulates that Islamic Shari'a is the main source of legislation, statements which the interviewer said caused dismay among the Egyptian people and particularly among religious currents. Abd-al-Ghani replied: "Dr Yahya al-Jamal departed from all political and patriotic logic when he made statements demanding amending Article Two of the Constitution, not to mention other strange statements that he should not have made including his call for banning the establishment of political parties on religious frames of reference".

Asked about the group's position on Egyptians "who adopt subversive ideologies like the Bah'ais and Al-Qadyaniyah [Al-Ahmadiyyah]", Abd-al-Ghani replied: "These ideologies violate the firm faith of the [Islamic] Nation and conflict with it. Allowing the promotion of such ideologies would demolish the faith of the Nation which must join hands to combat those stray people and expose them." Told by the interviewer that the Islamic currents have had no known role in combating these ideologies, he replied "the security prevented us from doing so, but to be perfectly honest all the religious currents in Egypt and the Muslims in particular know the major role I carried out to confront those misled deviates".

Abd-al-Ghani joined the Islamic Group when he was a high-school student. At 18, he was accused in the assassination of President Anwar Sadat but was acquitted in 1984 after spending three years in jail during which he made the personal acquaintance of many leading Islamist personalities from the Muslim Brothers, Jihad as well as Dr Ayman al-Zawahiri. He was arrested several times between 1984 and 1990.

Reminded by the interviewer that he had confessed to assassinating AlMahjub to journalists during his trial, Abd-al-Ghani would only say "we got an acquittal in that case". He was released in 2005 after spending 15 years in prison. He presently works as director of legal affairs at the Private Sinai University.

[Description of Source: Cairo Al-Jumhuriyah in Arabic • Website of state-controlled daily whose editorial line strongly defends regime policy.]

Fear of Islamists grows as Salafis plan to form new party

GMP20110407966075 Cairo Daily News Egypt Online in English 1305 GMT 07 Apr 11

[Collected by webscraper and Auto selected and released without editorial intervention.] PAGE: http://www.thedailynewsegypt.com/index.php?option=com_content&vi ew=article&id=128879&catid=1&Itemid=183

TITLE: Fear of Islamists grows as Salafis plan to form new party SECTION: Society AUTHOR: Omnia Al Desoukie / Special to Daily News Egypt PUBDATE:

(DAILY NEWS EGYPT) -

CAIRO: Egypt’s Salafis, who have been the center of controversy lately, are slated to establish Al-Nahda, or the Renaissance Party,

open for all Egyptians to join, according to Mamdouh Ismail, a lawyer and founder of the party.

“Until now we have collected more than 6,000 signatures to establish the party,” Ismail told Daily News Egypt, explaining that the name was chosen based on the purpose of the party which is to carry Egypt to a better stage.

Ismail said that Salafism is an ideology rather than a movement or a political group. “Before Jan. 25, 70 percent of the Salafis insisted on staying away from politics but now since Egypt is moving to a newer phase, 70 percent agrees with forming party and only 30 percent rejects the idea,” he explained.

According to a statement the party has 10 objectives, the most important of which include preserving the Arab and Islamic identity of Egypt, achieving social justice, developing education, maintaining customs and traditions, morality and cohesion, in addition to eradicating poverty and unemployment.

The party’s representative said that they are ready to cooperate with all the national powers for the advancement of the society, adding that women and Copts are welcome to join the party.

Ismail, however, said that female or Coptic leadership of the party will depend on the party’s members.

“These are just general words, but the reality will be different,” said Nabil Abdel Fattah, a political analyst at Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, referring to the establishment of the Salafis’ political party.

“The outgoing regime has used Salafis to fight the Muslim Brotherhood, no one knew that they would have political aspirations as well.

“Salafis don’t want to be part of the current regimes, if they are calling for democracy now where were they at the time of the systematic violations in Egypt?” Abdel Fattah added.

On the other hand, Ali Abdel Al, a journalist who has written about and researched Salafi issues, explained that the move taken by the group – forming a party – is similar to that of the Muslim Brotherhood as these groups seek legitimacy which was lacking under the ousted regime.

The Islamic groups’ move to form political parties is spreading fear of an Islamist takeover in Egypt.

Sheikh Abdel Moaty, a prominent Salafi, who disagrees with establishing Al-Nahda Party, said that to deal with Egyptian politics parties should not be established on a religious foundation. He said religious groups cannot form a party unless they abandon their ideologies.

Salafis follow a conservative interpretation of Islam, close to Saudi Arabia’s Wahabis’. They seek to emulate the practices of Islam’s early days and deem a lot of current practices as “un-Islamic.”

Salafis, Mubarak and the Muslim Brotherhood

The Salafi movement has steered clear of politics for various reasons in the past and did not take part in the protests that ousted president Hosni Mubarak.

The Salafi relationship with the former Mubarak regime was vague. Many observers and analysts said that the regime used the Salafis to counter the Muslim Brotherhood, which counted as Egypt’s largest opposition group at that time.

“Salafism is a pure ‘scholastic’ trend which focuses on the rules of Islamic jurisprudence as a whole and was not involved in politics before,” explained Anas Al-Qassas, a prominent Muslim Brotherhood member, who believes that the current political activism is new to the Salafi trend.

“There were some Salafis who [countered the Muslim Brotherhood] giving themselves religious justifications. But they were still a minority inside the Salafi current, even the list we know show big names inside the current as a whole. But now we treat all of them with tolerance as

we did before the Nasser era. This is a main constituent in the moral structure of the Muslim Brotherhood,” Al-Qassas said.

Post-Mubarak, the spearheading many Alexandria before youth about their

Salafi movement’s ideology is growing stronger, activities including political sessions in and after the referendum raising awareness among the political ideology.

For the first time in Egyptian history, one advertisement campaign, printed in the state-run Al-Ahram news paper on March 16, three days prior to the referendum on constitutional amendments, on behalf of the Sharia Association for Worker Cooperation through the Quran and Sunnah which holds the Salafis’ ideology, stated that the January 25 Revolution was a gift from Allah which needed to be protected.

The advert continued: “The entire leadership of the association considers it to be an Islamic duty that every Egyptian voice their agreement to the amendments as a first step towards the later formulation of a complete constitution. Gradual reform cannot be rejected by any sane person. We see giving up on this duty as a negative thing rejected by Islam.”

In return, different Islamic studies and political experts rejected the Salafis’ involvement in the Egyptian political sphere, claiming the movement lacks understanding of politics and are jumping on the January 25 Revolution bandwagon.

“The groups of Salafis we have are extremists, who are trying to steal the victory of the January 25 Revolution,” wrote Abdel Moety Bayoumy for Al-Shorouk newspaper.

Salafis in the news

Last week when a group of villagers stormed a bar in Kafr El-Basil, 30 km away from Fayoum, destroying the property that is known to serve alcohol, fingers were immediately pointed to Salafis, both by the bar’s owner as well as the media.

The owner retaliated by firing against the perpetrators, leaving one dead and 13 injured.

However, Mohamed Gomaa, who was wounded with a gun shot in his shoulder, insisted that none of the villagers belonged to a Salafi or any other Islamist group, but were rather residents who were discontented with having a bar in their village.

“We approached the owner a number of times and begged him to close down the bar … but he never listened to us,” he said.

“We filed a complaint to the police but they never came to shut it down instead he was given a license so after January 25 we felt that it’s our right as villagers to bring the bar down.

“However we neither belong to Salafis nor any Islamic group,” he added.

Gomaa said the bar owner called them Salafis so that the police arrest them since Islamic movements are a major concern post-Jan. 25.

Al-Akhbar also reported that a group of 50 Salafis stormed the bar, in a recent trend placing Salafis under the spotlight.

The media also recently reported that 350 Salafis surrounded a woman’s house in Sadat City in Menufiya, asking her to leave, accusing her of prostitution.

Salafis first made headlines prior to the January 25 Revolution, when Sayed Belal, a Salafi, was accused of being involved in the Alexandria Church bombing on New Year’s Eve and tortured to death by State Security.

[Description of Source: Cairo Daily News Egypt Online in English -Independent, privately owned newspaper providing news and analysis,

Egypt's only independent English-language daily. The paper is distributed in Egypt with the International Herald Tribune (IHT); URL: http://www.thedailynewsegypt.com/]

Egypt: Islamists Want US Embassy To Clarify US Stand on Abd-alRahman's Release

GMP20110420825013 London Al-Hayah Online in Arabic 20 Apr 11

[Report by Ahmad Mustafa in Cairo: "Al-Azhar Joins Those Demanding Umar Abd-al-Rahman's Release"]

Al-Azhar Shaykh Ahmad al-Tayyib has joined those demanding the release of Dr. Umar Abd-al-Rahman, the spiritual leader of the Islamic groups in Egypt, who is serving a prison sentence in the United States. AlTayyib talked yesterday about "serious steps for releasing him." AlHayah has learned meanwhile that the security organs have no reservations about Abd-al-Rahman's return.

Al-Tayyib said at a news conference yesterday that Al-Azhar "is interested" in Abd-al-Rahman's release and "has steps in that matter." He also asserted that the "coming days will see a breakthrough in this case" without giving any further clarifications.

On the other hand, Abd-al-Rahman's son Ammar said his family "held contacts during the past period with leaders in the (ruling) Military Council but we have not received any response yet to our demand for the Egyptian Government's intervention to prompt the US administration to release my father."

But informed sources disclosed to Al-Hayah that contacts were held during the past days through mediators "which concluded that the Egyptian security organs have no reservations about the return of the Islamic Group's amir" who is serving a life sentence on the charge of involvement in the bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993. Islamists staged several demonstrations during the past weeks outside the Supreme Council of the Egyptian Armed Forces in Al-Qubbah neighborhood, east Cairo, to demand the army's intervention to release Abd-al-Rahman.

His son Ammar told Al-Hayah that "a gathering of members of Islamic groups will assemble opposite the US Embassy in Garden City (Cairo center) on Thursday and we will not leave the place before the embassy issues an official statement clarifying the US administration's stand on my father's release." He pointed out that a delegation from the "Islamist Lawyers Union" would leave for Washington "to activate legal proceedings there demanding my father's release", adding that "the defense will rely on the international human rights law which stipulates the release of prisoners when they become old and incapable of movement." He noted that Abd-al-Rahman's family "assigned Lawyer Muhammad Abd-al-Fattah al-Jindi, who has a law office in America and links with decision-making circles there, to file other legal proceedings."

[Description of Source: London Al-Hayah Online in Arabic -- Website of influential Saudi-owned London pan-Arab daily. URL: http://www.daralhayat.com]

Hani Al-Siba'i Claims 'Martyrdom' of Al-Zawahiri's Brother-in-Law in Afghanistan

GMP20110418570010 Al-Maqrizi Center for Historical Studies in Arabic 18 Apr 11

[Statement attributed to Dr Hani al-Siba'i, Director of the Al-Maqrizi Center for Historical Studies; dated 18 April: "Martyrdom of Usamah Hasan, Dr Ayman al-Zawahiri's Brother-in-Law"]

Statement number 33 for the year 1432, corresponding to 2011

God says: "Think not of those who are slain in Allah's way as dead. Nay, they live, finding their sustenance in the presence of their Lord," [Koranic verse, Al Imran, 3:169].

The Martyrdom of Usamah Hasan, Dr Ayman al-Zawahiri's Brother-in-Law

Written by Dr Hani al-Siba'i

[Al-Siba'i's e-mail address is posted here.]

Director of the Al-Maqrizi Center for Historical Studies

Praise be to God. Prayers and peace be upon the Messenger of God, may God's prayers and peace be upon him.

The Al-Maqrizi Center has learned that the Islamist Usamah Hasan, the brother-in-law of Dr Ayman al-Zawahiri, was martyred in Afghanistan. Usamah's wife, along with some of his children, may have returned to Egypt around two weeks ago. We consider him a martyr; yet, we do not sanctify anyone before God.

The Al-Maqrizi Center has also learned that Usamah Hasan, may Almighty God rest his soul, had been imprisoned in Iran following the US aggression on Afghanistan in 2001. He was among more than one hundred Arab families, who were detained by the Iranian authorities in detention locations in three Iranian cities! Moreover, we have learned that the Iranian authorities had released Abu-Abd-al-Rahman (Usamah Hasan) around seven months ago, and then there were frequent news about his martyrdom in Afghanistan.

Biography of Martyr Usamah Hasan, May God Rest His Soul:

First: His name is Usamah Hasan Ahmad Muhammad Hasan, 47 years, from Cairo City. He was graduated from the Arabic language section, Faculty of Education, Ayn Shams University. He had worked as a teacher and then travelled to Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Pakistan, and other countries. In 1998 he requested political asylum in London.

Second: He, may God rest his soul, was charged in the case known in the media as the Albania Veterans, and in 1999 he was sentenced in absentia to five years in prison. Moreover, his father, Hajj Hasan Ahmad, was charged in the same case and he was sentenced to one year in prison.

Third: In 1998 Usamah Hasan was detained in London for a few months. Then, he was released and granted a temporary residence permit. Next,

he suddenly disappeared. In 2001, he travelled with Shaykh Muhammad Khalil al-Hakaymah, may God rest his soul, to Iran and then to Afghanistan. No news was received about him during the period from 2001 to 2011 until we received the news about his martyrdom in Afghanistan.

Fourth: He was martyred, and he is survived by his wife and three children, Abd-al-Rahman, Ruqayah, and Sharif. We do not know whether he had more children or not. His daughter Ruqayah got married to Ja'far, the son of Shaykh Muhammad al-Islambuli, may God grant him recovery from illness. Regarding his son Abd-al-Rahman, he has been living with his grandfather in Egypt for several years.

Fifth: Despite he was a member in Al-Jama'ah al-Islamiyah [the Islamic Group], his two sisters were married to two leaders in the Egyptian Jihad group led by Dr Ayman al-Zawahiri. One sister is married to Shawqi Salamah, who was sentenced to life in prison in the Albania Veterans case. Salamah is still in jail, although many Islamist prisoners were released following the Egyptian revolution of 19 Safar 1432, corresponding to 25 January 2011. The second sister is married to Tariq Anwar, who was martyred in Khost area [Province] in Afghanistan in 2001.

Sixth: His sister, Umaymah Hasan, is the wife of the jihadist Shaykh Dr Ayman al-Zawahiri. She was the wife of Tariq Anwar Sayid Ahmad, the Special Operations commander in the Jihad group. Tariq studied in the Faculty of Engineering, Ayn Shams University. In 1987 he was arrested and charged with reviving the Jihad organization. Later, he was released and then travelled and settled in Afghanistan. In 1999 Tariq was sentenced [in absentia] to death in the Albania Veterans case. In 2001, Tariq was martyred in Afghanistan. Following Tariq's death, his widow Umaymah got married to Dr Shaykh Ayman al-Zawahiri, and she is still his wife. Less than two years ago, Al-Sahab Establishment [for Media Production] published a message by Umaymah, entitled "Message to Muslim Sisters," [OSC processed this message as GMP20091217099001]. The Al-Maqrizi Center had commented on this message on 29 Dhu-al-Hijjah 1430, corresponding to 17 December 2009. [OSC processed this comment as GMP20091219535001].

Seventh: His older brother Sharif Hasan, may God rest his soul, was one of the members of the Al-Jama'ah al-Islamiyah. He received a death sentence and was executed in 1992 in the Afghanistan Veterans case.

This how our brothers have been living subjected to pursuit, exile, prison, and then death in the cause of God!

What a good life this is, despite its harshness! this is, despite its bitterness!

What a happy life

What a great way to be killed and to be granted martyrdom.

This is the path, and this is how we should march on it.

When one of us is killed, he is a martyr. When he returns, he is happy. When he is captured, he is rewarded by God. Our enemy is punished by God.

O Abu-Abd-al-Rahman congratulations on being in paradise! guess you have earned it.

By God, I

[Start of poetic verses:]

"He, who does not fight for his dignity, will die in shame.

"Everyone will eventually die, therefore, always fight for your dignity and live in pride."

[End of the poetic verses.]

We offer our condolences to the family of the martyr as the separation from loved ones causes anguish and heartache. We say only what pleases God as in His words: "To God we belong, and to Him is our return," [partial Koranic verse, Al-Baqarah, 2:156].

At the same time, we congratulate the martyr's family as well as the ummah [the community of Muslims worldwide] for the martyrdom of AbuAbd-al-Rahman, Usamah Hasan, yet, we do not sanctify anyone before God. We ask Almighty God to inspire his family patience and solace, and to grant him the highest Paradise, Amen.

Al-Maqrizi Center for Historical Studies,

15 Jumada al-Awwal 1432,

18 April 2011.

[A link to the official website of the Al-Maqrizi Center for Historical Studies is provided here.]

[To view the vernacular, click here.]

[Description of Source: Al-Maqrizi Center for Historical Studies -Recently monitored jihadist website ; a permanent descriptor will be issued following a review of the website's behavior over time; URL:www.almaqreze.net]

Ayman al-Zawahiri•s Brother-in-law Reportedly Killed in Afghanistan

GMP20110420825005 London Al-Sharq al-Awsat Online in Arabic 20 Apr 11

[Report by Muhammad al-Shafi'i from London: "Al-Zawahiri's Brother-inLaw, Leader of the Egyptian Jihad, Was Killed in Operation in Afghanistan; Scotlandyard Arrested Usamah Hasan In Operation Challenge; Hasan And Al-Hakayimah Fled London To Iran"]

The London-based Al-Maqrizi Center for Studies has revealed that an Egyptian leader of the "Islamic Group" was killed in the ongoing fighting in Afghanistan. In a statement, a copy of which was received by Al-Sharq al-Awsat yesterday, the center, which is run by Egyptian Islamist Dr Hani al-Siba'i, said that "Usamah Hasan, brother of the wife of Ayman al-Zawahiri, Usamah Bin-Ladin's deputy, was killed in Afghanistan, and that his wife and some of his sons returned to Egypt from Iran nearly two weeks ago."

Dr Hani al-Siba'i told Al-Sharq al-Awsat that Usamah Hasan was imprisoned in Iran following the US aggression against Afghanistan in 2001, and that he was among more than 100 Arab families whom the Iranian authorities put in collective detention centers in three

Iranian cities. Al-Siba'i said he learned that the Iranian authorities released Usamah Hasan, nom de guerre Abu-Abd-al-Rahman, approximately seven months ago. It was then rumored that he was killed in an operation in Afghanistan.

Usamah Hasan was arrested and imprisoned in the tightly guarded Belmarsh Prison in Operation Challenge in London, which was carried out by Scotland Yard against seven Egyptian fundamentalists in August 1998. Among those arrested were the late Ibrahim Aydarus, a leader of the Egyptian Jihad, who was also wanted by the United States, Dr Hani al-Siba'i, Sayyid Mu'awwad, Sayyid Abd-al-Latif, as well as Usamah Hasan. Hasan obtained a temporary residence permit after his release. He then disappeared and suddenly traveled to Iran and Afghanistan in 2001, along with the Egyptian Jihad leader, Muhammad Khalil alHakayimah, nom de guerre Abu-Jihad, who founded what came to be known as "Al-Qa'ida fi ard alkinanah" [Al-Qa'ida in Egypt].

Abu-Jihad was killed in a US drone raid on Pakistan's tribal region close to the Afghan border in August 2008. Toward the end of 1990s, Abu-Jihad, his wife, and his 10 children sought refuge in Britain. The British authorities arrested him on arrival for security reasons. He stayed in prison for several months before his release.

Following the 9/11 attacks in 2001, Britain enacted laws allowing the arrest of foreigners suspected of links to Al-Qa'ida or terror. AbuJihad feared being targeted and arrested by a vague British law and decided to leave Britain and traveled to Iran.

Sharif Hasan, eldest brother of Usamah Hasan, 47, who was one of the cadres of the Islamic Group, was sentenced to death and the sentence was carried out in the case of the "returnees from Afghanistan in 1992. He was born in Cairo and graduated from the Ayn Shams University, the Education College, the Arabic Language Department. He worked as a teacher for a time and then left for Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Pakistan and several other countries, and finally requested political asylum in Britain in 1998.

According to Al-Maqrizi Center, Usamah Hasan was accused in the socalled "the returnees from Albania" case. Both brothers --Ayman alZawahiri and Muhammad al-Zawahiri -- were on the top of the list of "the returnees from Albania" case. Hasan was sentenced in absentia for five years in 1999. Usamah Hasan's father, Al-Hajj Hasan Ahmad, was also indicted in the case of "the returnees from Albania" and was sentenced to one year in prison. Usamah Hasan's news ceased from 2001 to 2011, when the center learned of his martyrdom in Afghanistan, may God have mercy on his soul.

Usamah Hasan is survived by his wife and three children-Abd-alRahman, Ruqayyah, and Sharif. His daughter Ruqayyah was married to Ja'far Bin-Muhammad al-Islambuli, the brother of the killer of the late Egyptian President Anwar al-Sadat. Hasan's first son, Abd-alRahman, has been living in Egypt with his grandfather for years.

Although Usamah Hasan was a member of the Islamic Group, both his sisters were married to two leaders of the Egyptian Jihad, notably Ayman al-Zawahiri and Muhammad al-Zawahiri. Ayman al-Zawahiri married his second wife Umaymah after his first wife Izzah Nuwayr (U m Muhammad) was killed in Qandahar at the start of attacks in Afghanistan. Umaymah Hasan had earlier been married to leader Tariq Anwar, who was killed in Afghanistan in 2001 in the Khost area. The other leader of the Egyptian Jihad, Shawqi Salamah, who was married to Usamah Hasan's second sister, was sentenced for life at hard labor in the case of "the returnees from Albania." He is still in prison in Egypt although many Islamists were released in the wake of the Egyptian revolution

Dr Al-Siba'i told Al-Sharq al-Awsat that Mrs Umaymah, Ayman alZawahiri's second wife, was the wife of Tariq Anwar Sayyid Ahmad, commander of the Special Operations in the Egyptian Jihad. Ahmad studied engineering at Ayn Shams University and was arrested in 1987 on charges of attempting to reestablish the Egyptian Jihad. He was later released and traveled to Afghanistan where he settled. He had been sentenced to death in the case of "the returnees from Albania" in 1999, but was killed in Afghanistan in 2001. Ayman al-Zawahiri married Ahmad's wife, Umaymah, and she is still living with him. Two years ago, the Sahab Foundation published Umaymah's thesis entitled "a Letter to the Muslim Sisters."

[Description of Source: London Al-Sharq al-Awsat Online in Arabic -Website of influential London-based pan-Arab Saudi daily; editorial line reflects Saudi official stance. URL: http://www.asharqalawsat.com/]

Forum Participant Tells Story of Mujahidins' Escape From Egyptian Famous Prison

GMP20110331836002 Ansar al-Mujahidin Network in Arabic 30 Mar 11

[Article attributed to Nidal al-Arabi, user number 21937, date not given: "Story of the Strictly Guarded Abu-Za'bal Prison -Escape Story"]

Glad Tidings for Publishing: Epic of Monotheism in the Strictly Guarded Abu-Za'bal Prison: Complete Story of the Heroic Escape of the Mujahidin

Story of Well-Guarded Abu-Za'bal Prison

Escape Story

Incidents of the strictly guarded Abu-Za'bal Prison of three wards began in Ward One, which was known for accommodating those, who accepted the initiative of stopping violence, but it was the will of destiny that some of the new comers could change its conditions. Brothers repented and they changed their minds, because of the obscurity and doubts of that initiative and because it was a part of a conspiracy against them. Moreover, there were other prisoners, who did not accept it from the beginning, and one of the most prominent characters in Ward One was Shaykh Abu-Ahmad Abd-al-Rahman al-Masri, whom the State Security Investigation took from the prison to its building to accuse him, along with a number of brothers, of the case of the Al-Qidisayn [Two Saints] Church.

Ward Two was the main ward in the prison, known as the ward of antiinitiative jihadists. There were 140 brothers in this ward, and they rejected the initiative and prevented anyone who accepted it to live in the ward. The ward also accommodated a number of old brothers in the Egyptian Jihad Group, who foiled the initiative in Abu-Za'bal. This ward was known for cohesion and obedience to the ward administration. It was almost an integrated community inside the Egyptian prisons and detention camps. All aspects of life in that ward were controlled by commands, prohibitions, and permissions. The brothers formed committees in the ward to run all the affairs of the brothers inside it, and these committees were similar to community management. It was a model of the Islamic society in running its affairs. It had Shari'ah, financial, resources, information, health, ration, dispute settlement, judiciary, communications, fact finding, education, sports, and social affairs committees. Each committee had a number of sub-committees, a general shura council, and a minor shura

council similar to councils of religious leaders. They also formed many departments for running the affairs of the brothers in society that only needed freedom to become a real one.

The most prominent figures inside were:

1. Usama Abd-al-Qadir (Abu-Muhammad), 55 years old, a founding member of the Al-Qa'ida Organization in 1988, one of the closest people to Shaykh Usama Bin Ladin, and one of the participants in the famous Ma'sadat al-Ansar Battle, is under detention for 18 years in the case of Tala'i al-Fatah. He is one of the most prominent steadfast figures in Egyptian prisons, who rejected Sayyid Imam's initiative. He is also one of the main jihadist leaders in prisons, along with shaykh Ahmad Salama and Muhammad al-Zawahiri. He comes from Al-Minya Governorate. He was taken to the State Security Service several times under charges of foiling the projects of Sayyid Imam's initiative and the Islamic Group in 2006.

2. Ra'fat Tunisi (Abu-Sumayyah), 50 years old; is a Shari'ah scholar and he has been in prison since 1986. He is one of the leaders of the Egyptian Jihad Group and its most prominent Shari'ah leader.

3. Muhammad Abd-al-Halim, 22 years old, is the most prominent figure in the prison, being responsible for the ward and for negotiating with the State Security and the prison management on behalf of the brothers. He was accused of having an affiliation with the Al-Qa'ida in the Land of the Islamic Maghreb [AQIM]. The Algerian intelligence handed him over to the Egyptian State Security, probably in 2009, after arresting him when he was trying to climb to the mountainous area of the Tizi Ouzou Province in the eastern part of Algeria, probably in September 2008. Muhammad Abd-al-Halim, also known in Egyptian prisons as Abu-al-Hasan, is the youngest spokesman for detainees of jihadists, Salafi jihadists, and Al-Qa'ida in Egyptian prisons. He was responsible for dealing with the prison management and State Security due to his strong character, firmness, and successful management of the crises that occurred to the brothers in prison. He was on top of the list of the persons, who contributed in preventing the State Security from presenting the initiative project to the brothers directly, and thus caused its failure.

4. Ghunaym Zaki, 45 years old, is one of the prominent members of the Al-Jihad Organization, and one of the active participants in the Afghan jihad against the Russians and the Communists. He was a member in the Ahmad Ujayzah group, but was the kind of soldier, who would not obey his amir in disobeying God. Ujayzah was on top of the list of renegades, while Ghunaym Zaki was on top of the list of those who kept their word in Abu-Za'bal Prison. He was arrested on his way back from Jordan in 1997.

5. Ashraf Ghiryani, 55 years old, is one the jihadists in Bosnia.

6. Hasan Abu-Islam, 40 years old, is one of the members of the Shura Council of the Al-Tawhid Wa al-Jihad in the Sinai Peninsula, which carried out the attacks on Taba, Dahab, and Sharm al-Shaykh. He was released after the Sharm al-Shaykh incidents, and was re-arrested around a year ago.

7. Mustafa al-Rifa'i is a member of the Jundallah Group in Egypt, charged with attempting to blow up the US Embassy in 2002. He is one of the most prominent figures in the ward due to his role in running the affairs of the brothers. He was transferred from Turah Prison because he had rejected Sayyid Imam's initiative.

Ward Three

This ward is one of the perseverant wards in Egyptian prisons. But for the presence of some people of the Al-Takfir [Wa al-Hijra Group; an Egyptian terrorist group that held the society as infidel and isolated themselves from it] inside that ward, it would have had a different chapter in the history of struggle with the apostates over what has been known as the initiative of abandoning violence. The most prominent figures in that ward are:

1. Ibrahim Shakir is one of the leaders of the Bani Siwayf group of scholars, who foiled the initiative of Sayyid Imam.

2. Ahmad Zayid is one of the members of the Palestinian Al-Tawhid and Jihad Group, whose case was used by the Egyptian Intelligence to justify the construction of the separation wall with Gaza.

Incidents began in the prison on Tuesday, 25 January, when the heroic brothers in Ward Three declared their solidarity with the revolution and controlled the ward, shouting with supporting slogans, and exclaiming "God is Great" at the ward door. This panicked the prison management, which had to call the security battalion of the Abu-Za'bal Prison to secure the prison. Brigadier General Walid Faruq, State Security officer responsible for the prisons area, State Security Officer Major Ahmad Shuman, and State Security Officer Major Ashraf Marawan of Turah Prison, arrived at the prison.

In the beginning, Brigadier General Walid Faruq called Muhammad Abdal-Halim, who was responsible for Ward Two, at a preliminary stage to deduce the intention of Ward Two, which is the main ward because of the large number of well-organized detainees and leaders of jihad inside it, so that he [Brigadier General Faruq] would determine what to do.

The responsible brother, may God protect him, managed his dialogue with the State Security leaders without giving them any frank or convenient answer that would clarify the real stance of the ward towards any incident that might cause harm to the brothers if revealed, except for issues of creed, in which case answers were clear and firm no matter what harm may result from them. He threatened the state security that all individuals in Ward Two would intervene, if the Central Security forces [Egyptian anti-riot police] broke into Ward Three or hurt any brother inside the prison.

Walid Faruq was upset, as usual, from the semi-diplomatic dialogue with a 22 year old young man, who was almost as old as one of his sons, and with whom he could not use his diabolic ways, although he [Walid] had spent more than 25 years in the State Security System. He actually wanted to neutralize the big ward to break into Ward Three and torture the sit-in brothers inside the ward. They were around 15 brothers only, because members of Al-Takfir [Wa al-Hijra Group] and other brothers refused to take part in the sit-in.

However, you cannot always get all that you want. In spite of the rejection in Ward Two of what their brothers in Ward Three did, the creed of allegiance and disavowal [allegiance to the believers and disavowal of the infidels] and aiding the believers prohibits abandoning the brothers at times of need. Brigadier General Walid Faruq had to negotiate with Ward Three for fear of causing a disaster and a blood pool in the prison, which could have caused his dismissal, especially because the threats of the responsible prisoner of Ward Two and the insistence of the sit-in brothers in Ward Three on becoming martyrs in the cause of God, if matters developed into a confrontation. That was the first reaction by that criminal, who knew nothing but bloodshed. In less serious incidents, battalions of the Central Security used to bring thousand of soldiers to besiege the prison, and shout out their cries to terrify the prisoners, hit, torture, isolate, and sometimes kill the prisoners under claims of attempted escape. Walid Faruq killed scores of the mujahidin in the nineties. He [Faruq] is the nephew and son-in-law of Major General Ra'uf Khayrat, head of anti-religious activity department in Egypt who was killed in the nineties by the mujahidin. He [Faruq] is one of the most hostile security officers to Muslims. He burned copies of the Koran and forced the brothers to kneel before the picture of Mubarak. He also tortured scores of them to death in prison.

Negotiations began with the sit-in prisoners in Ward Three, where four of them were chosen to negotiate with Walid Faruq and the two other

officers Ahmad Shuman and Ashraf Marawan. Negotiations ended without putting an end to the sit-in, but the sit-in was ended temporarily. Tuesday passed, while the current events outside the prison were getting hotter and the brothers in Ward Two were trying to express their anger by trying to attack the officers and soldiers because of killing the demonstrators and protesters. However, those responsible for the ward prevented them for fear of bloodshed and because the brothers were locked inside closed places, which could make it easy for the security to eliminate them all in less than a quarter of an hour. Yet, the ward management [it here refers to some ward inmates chosen by the other inmates] urged the brothers to pray for the martyrs and the demonstrators, and ask God to aid them to have victory over Mubarak's regime. They formed an information committee to participate in the internet forums and Facebook via the modern telephones available in the ward to publish the news of the revolution. The management assigned some brothers to do this job, and they exerted a great effort in that job despite their poor potentials. It also provided all requirements of phone sets and prepaid cards. They could smuggle these things via security members in return for money and prison rations, to facilitate contacts with some groups of demonstrators without telling them that they were in prison. That was on Wednesday and Thursday [ 26-27 January]. The management made special places and rooms for these brothers inside the ward in complete secrecy, lest information should leak to the security.

Brothers in Ward Three were split. Some of them rejected the sit-in method for fear of bloodshed. Some others were hesitant. The third group was that of the brothers, who sold their souls in the cause of God and liberating their land from the tyranny of Mubarak despite their powerlessness. The fourth group was that of the Al-Takfir Group, who had not shown any stance. Thursday, 27 January passed and 0800 on Friday, 28 January was the time for opening the cells and the ward., but none of the prison security men appeared, and none of their voices was heard.

The brothers, who were responsible for information and revolution support in Ward Two, informed the ward leaders of the likelihood that nobody was in the prison, because it was the Friday of Rage, and events were hot outside. The leaders made contacts with all political prisons in Egypt and knew that they were open. That was before the communications cut at about 0830. They found that most of them were open, and the brothers were afraid it could be a scheme by Walid Faruq. The ward management ordered the brothers to knock at the doors, and the brothers in the other wards did the same, but it was in vain.

At about 0930, Walid Faruq opened the cell of brother Muhammad Abd-alHalim, who was in charge of Ward Two and called him out. He told Muhammad of instructions to lock all Egyptian prisons that day. Muhammad rejected the way Walid talked, confirmed to him that all prisons were locked, and asked him to open all wards of the prison under his responsibility, assuring that no disturbance would occur in the prison.

Walid Faruq was hesitant between the undertaking by the ward management, which was known to be serious despite its hostile attitude towards the initiative, and fear of losing security control. The ward management wanted to have the prison [wards] opened because it was afraid that the security personnel might escape and leave the prisoners inside the cells, or betray and kill them in their cells.

The brother gave orders to all the brothers in the cells of the ward to be cautious, prepare all sharp tools and all available means of self-defense, and raise the alert status and security sense among the brothers for fear of security betrayal.

As for the brothers in Ward Three, they relied on God and decided to break the cell doors, declaring disobedience to Mubarak's regime. They undertook to leave that prison to the squares to take part in the demonstrations, and never go back to their homes until they liberate Egypt from Mubarak's regime.

Brigadier General Walid Faruq refused the suggestion of ward leader to open the prison, and promised him that the prison would be opened the next day, Saturday. The brother found that negotiating on opening the prison was not useful, so he agreed with him to open it for four brothers in the ward to facilitate running life affairs for the other brothers, in an attempt to guarantee the presence of some brothers out of their cells to try to open them should the security people escape.

The ward leader entered the ward. After a while, he asked for opening a cell for a sick brother. Six persons went out of the cell to remove the sick person and entered Ward Two, thus making the number of persons in the open ward 10 people in addition to the ward leader after implementing the agreement with Walid Faruq and letting out four brothers with the leader. Preparations in Ward Two were made for all probabilities and how to deal with them, including the likelihood of the arrival of an armed force to eliminate everybody, and how to deal with it.

Around 1200, the brothers in Ward Three broke the cell doors, while complete tranquility dominated Ward Two, and were getting ready for all predicted probabilities. A quarter of an hour later, large troops arrived from the security battalion, this time with full weapons. This force is called the strike force. They assembled beside Ward Three and took ready positions amid suspicious cries to horrify the brothers. Getting ready for confrontation, the management of Ward Two decided to take the decision of the confrontation before the force could break into Ward Three and eliminate the brothers.

There were 11 brothers, including ward leader Muhammad, out of the cells. The leader ordered all the brothers in the cells to be ready to face the State Security forces, urged them to have patience and perseverance, to provide all the brothers outside with all available tools in the ward to help them face the forces, and to go to the ward door amid exclaiming "God is Great," and declaring the confrontation with the State Security forces in the prison. Brothers inside the cells were watching them as they were armed with iron, knives, washing machine lids, and fire bottles, and veiled with head covers soaked in water and onion to avoid tear gas bombs in their confrontation with a striking force of more than 300 troops in full gear.

The striking force near Ward Three hurried with all its troops to Ward Two, got assembled, and took positions for assault. Among them were Walid Faruq and many officers of the Special Forces, and they were crying their usual shouts. The brothers stood behind the ward door on the other side where the forces were, exchanging shouts in a wonderful scene. The striking force were shouting: "Long live Egypt. God is Great" and the brothers inside the ward were shouting: "God is Great. There is no god but God, He aided His servant [Prophet Muhammad], glorified His soldiers, and defeated the confederates alone. God is our Lord and you have no lord." The officers gave orders to the soldiers to cover the shouts of the brothers by their shouts, which were similar to roaring of lions and other ferocious animals, along with the shouts of the commandos. The brothers increased their shouts to cover those of the soldiers in an exchange of threats between Brigadier General Walid Faruq, State Security officer, and the ward leader. The officer threatened the brothers with the woes and terror of confronting the forces, and he was filled with arrogance with his weapons and soldiers. The brother threatened to defeat them with patience and perseverance, as well as with the will of God Who aides the believers, saying: "Our killed people are in Heaven and yours are in Hell".

Walid Faruq and his group were afraid because God filled their hearts with horror. He withdrew and sent an officer, who knocked on the ward door and called the leader to go out to negotiate. Following their habits, they were lying. The officer claimed that there was nothing and that the brothers in Ward Three broke the cell doors, and that those forces had come only to secure the prison and would not harm anybody. He also claimed that if they received orders to harm any of them, they would not obey them. He claimed that they fully sympathized with the brothers and cursed the Ministry of Interior to calm the situation. Then, Walid Faruq came as if it were the first time for him to see that situation, and as if he did not know about the arrival of those forces. Pretending that he did not do anything, he asked the officer why those troops had come.

The brother pretended to have accepted their words because he did not want to enter into a confrontation, and only aimed to neutralize those forces so that they would not assault the brothers in Ward Three separately. What made him take the decision of confrontation was his fear lest the forces should assault Ward Three, and then take the

other wards one after the other separately. Therefore, he sent messages to the security, declaring that if they attacked any ward, they would have to deal with everybody at the same time. Of course, they did not have enough forces to deal with the three wards at the same time.

This was because if the security forces broke into a ward and end it up, they would have more courage to assault the others, as this was their practice, but the brothers knew them well, as much as they knew the State Security more than its officers did, as a result of their experience and their frequent contacts.

The ward management knew, too, that forces were not equal, and it was completely careful for the blood of the brothers, and would not lead them to definite ruin, but should circumstances so dictate, it would do it.

However, negotiations ended with an agreement to open the doors of the ward at 0800 on Saturday [ 29 January], not to break into Ward Three even if the brothers broke the exercise doors and went towards the walls, to restrict the strike force to securing the prison, and not to make their usual shouts.

Nevertheless, the brother ordered all the brothers to stay fully ready, raise the alert level for fear of security cheating, and to be prepared for all predicted likelihoods. The ward management wanted to reassure the security, so that they would not think of the ward and redirect their attention away from the ward, because there were suspicious movements inside the cells during the preparations for the predicted probabilities.

The heroes in Ward Three succeeded in breaking most of the cells and going out to the ward and they shouted through the windows, declaring jihad against the State Security forces in an awesome scene. That scene reminded us of our mujahidin brothers in the arenas of jihad when they faced the enemy, and it horrified the security forces and God instilled terror in their hearts.

At about 0600, many of the State Security and Prison Authority officers arrived at the prison, and among them was Major General Muhammad al-Batran, head of the Prison Investigation section, who sent for Ward Two leader Muhammad Abd-al-Halim to find a solution for the problem of Ward Three. Muhammad refused to intervene, defending the position of the brothers in Ward Three and affirming that it was Walid Faruq to be held accountable, because it was he who had created that problem.

At about 0700, a number of State Security officers sent again for Ward Two leader in an attempt to neutralize the ward, disavow Ward Three, and let the security deal with Ward Three in the way that State Security saw proper to solve the crisis. He replied by giving them the freedom to do anything but without violence, adding that violence would be faced with violence. The officers were greatly upset and disappointed, because violence was the suitable way they would use, and because the negotiation was intended to neutralize the big ward, where 100 brothers lived, to attack the prisoners in a sit-in in Ward Three. Muhammad added a further threat to the security, stating that any attempt to break into Ward Three would be faced with violence, not only in Abu-Za'bal Prison, but also in all other prisons and political detention camps. He told the security that the communications network was restored, and that he had contacted all the prisons and that they had the same opinion. He did this to block the State Security attempts to break into Ward Three and foil the sit-in. The State Security officers became more desperate in finding a solution for the problem, because facing 15 protesters would end up in facing thousands of detainees in many places, not only one.

By that time, security forces had withdrawn from the streets. They would not be able to face the detainees in the prisons because this would need thousands of soldiers. Friday [ 28 January] was a bad day for State Security officers and the strike force in the strictly guarded Abu-Za'bal Prison. Shouts of the sit-in brothers in Ward Three terrified them and threatened to punish them for killing the demonstrators, who thousands of them fell in the demonstrations in Egypt. They shouted that blood for blood and killers must be killed. They threatened the State Security with black days for supervising the killing of the youths of the revolution in Egypt.

The brothers saw the State Security officers crying in panic; some of them were weeping in fear of their expected destiny. Their looked at Ward Three as if it were a den of dreadful lions that would devastate them should its doors open.

Friday passed, while the brothers in Ward Three were in their sit-in, and the brothers in Ward Two were inside their cells, except for the brothers who were out with the ward leader.

At 0800, Walid Faruq entered Ward Two with a number of State Security officers and gave the ward keys to the leader in an attempt to show that he kept his word. The leader refused to receive the keys and told him to open the prison first. The officer reassured him of opening Ward One and opened Ward Two. Then, the leader asked him to open the gymnasium area, but he refused. So, the leader insisted, and he opened it. The brothers in Ward Three were still in their sit-in, while the ward was open. The ward was opened by them, not by the State Security.

At 1300 on Saturday, 29 January, the security called for the brothers, who were responsible for the rations in Ward Two to receive their rations. They requested the ward leader Muhammad Abd-al-Halim to go out with them. He went out with two brothers responsible for receiving the rations to the prison yard, which was crowded with security personnel and the strike force. Four or five brothers went out of Ward One.

The brothers in the wards heard shooting outside. They thought that the security might have killed the ward leader because they requested him to go out, or that the security had opened fire on Ward Three. A state of tumult and unnerving prevailed in the wards. Ward Two leader shouted out of the ward door, asking the brothers to keep calm. He told them that the shooting was in Abu-Za'bal criminal prison. A state of chaos began, but thank God, the brothers in the management in Ward Two could unify the brothers and control the state of unrest. The ward leader gave a signal from outside to the brothers inside to get ready for departure and confrontation.

Shooting intensified outside, but Ward Two was on alert and, the brothers in Ward Three made attempts to break the windows. Ward Two leader gave orders to the brothers inside to prepare a reconnaissance group in the gymnasium area to watch the watch towers, which were full of snipers, and to wait for God's reward if any of them got killed by sniper fires.

The brothers inside the ward did not know on what grounds the brother outside gave orders, but they knew that there were confrontations outside and survival chances for the leader and his companions were poor. Rumors came from time to time that he was killed, but we used to hurry to the windows and see him with the brothers outside making strange moves, maybe to prepare for something, but the smoke of bombs and gunpowder made it difficult to see.

After a while, our brother Muhammad gave orders from outside to prepare stones and pieces of glass and assemble in the gymnasium area in preparation for the confrontation. The brothers saw the security forces assemble outside under thick fire cover toward the wards and fire live bullets at the wards so extensively that the brothers thought that the other brothers outside were killed. But, thank God, the brothers outside were alive and were leading and giving instructions. The responsible brother outside ordered the brothers to get ready to hurl stones from the gymnasium area, wait for the signal, and withdraw upon orders. He urged the brothers to carry out the orders quickly, because the situation was fatal. The brothers crept in groups to the gymnasium area to evade thick sniper fires from tower tops toward the gymnasium area door.

The brother gave instructions to hurl stones extensively at the visitors' yard, and the brothers hurled stones. Then, he gave instructions from outside to hurl stones inside the wire door parallel to Ward Three. After the brothers hurled the stones, he gave orders for prompt retreat, and the brothers withdrew. Immediately after withdrawal, we saw a shower of gas bombs thrown into the gymnasium area and live fire from the tower machine guns on the wards.

The brothers inside were worried about their brothers outside. They brought out onions and masks for them, but lack of visibility hindered them. Information revealed that the leader set up an ambush for the forces and that the stone hurled by the brothers in Ward Two injured many security personnel, and also that the security forces fired on the brothers outside in reaction to that ambush.

A state of tumult and anger prevailed inside the ward because of this news. The brothers in the ward tried to enter the gymnasium area and throw stones in an expression of anger, and because of contradicting news about the destiny of the brothers outside, but members of the management inside prevented them from entering the gymnasium area because snipers were shooting at the gymnasium area heavily in revenge for the ambush set up by Ward Two, which hurt many of them.

According to the news we heard from some brothers about the ambush, some forces assembled to assault Ward Three and eliminate the brothers. The brother [in charge] was apprehensive and begged them to leave. They thought that he was giving false threats, and they became reassured. Then, the forces began to march to Ward Three in two groups; an assault group, and a support group.

The assault group entered through the wire door parallel to Ward Three, while the support group was 15 meters away at the visitors' yard. The leader gave orders to hurl stones extensively at the support group at the visitors' yard to force it to withdraw and leave the assault group exposed and unable to withdraw, because it had only one exit through the visitors' yard. If they withdrew, they would be hurled with stones, of course. They were surrounded in place. Accordingly, stoning was first toward the visitors' yard. After the support group withdrew, the leader gave orders to stone the assault group. He was certain, of course, that the support group would not fire in order not to hurt the assault group, which did not withdraw and which was facing the ward. Stoning forced the assault group to withdraw. Then, the leader gave orders to withdraw from the gymnasium area, because he knew that after the road was clear before the support group, it would shoot at the wards and throw bombs into the gymnasium area. This was the story of the ambush as we received it from a number of brothers.

There was sadness, and poor visibility made it difficult to see the brothers outside, but soon the confirmed news leaked that the brothers outside were safe and that they could evade bullets of the security forces. Brothers in the ward prayed to God to guide the brothers outside and bless them with peace of mind. The brother in charge gave an order to prepare the luggage and get ready to leave the place in groups. The brothers were astonished about what was going on outside. The brother in charge stressed that they entered into negotiations to leave, then, without confrontations.

We knew later that the security forces split into two teams; one team wanted to assault and kill the brothers, and the other team wanted to end the crisis.

The brother in charge outside gave instructions to the brothers inside the ward to creep to the gymnasium area and get ready to throw Molotov bombs prepared by the brothers. There was an ambush to drag the security forces, who wanted to kill the brothers, to the visitors' yard and hit them, because they were ready with live fire to kill the brothers.

The brothers crept to the gymnasium area, and it seemed that matters would end up killing scores of the brothers and that the brother in charge outside would definitely be killed, together with his companions, because they had dragged the security forces. We knew that the first ambush could hinder assaulting Ward Three with live fire by the Central Security forces platoon, which had taken orders to liquidate the brothers in Ward Three. We also knew that the heavy hurling of stones and pieces of glass caused many injuries in their heads and hands. A group of brothers sneaked into the gymnasium area, while another group dragged the snipers to shoot, and a third group crept with Molotov bombs and stones.

The brother in charge outside gave orders of withdrawal from the gymnasium area as quickly as possible. Immediately upon withdrawal, scores of bombs were thrown into the gymnasium area and there was live firing from medium machine guns. We knew that the security force, which wanted to eliminate the brothers, had discovered the ambush and cleared the area close to the wards.

There was a blackout, and we could only hear shouts of the brother in charge outside saying to the assault group commander: "Today is your end, Mubarak. We are the sons of Al-Qa'ida, Mubarak. Blood for blood, State Security! Our brothers' blood will not go in waste (referring to the demonstrators and protesters in Egypt)." Suddenly, extensive firing followed these shouts amid shouts by the brothers, saying: "God is Great", after they heard the shouts of their brother in charge outside.

We cannot forget that what happened in Ward Two happened also in Ward One. The brothers there were also shouting: "God is Great" and hurling stones, but on the other direction. We also knew that the brothers in Ward One had shown heroic stances, when they went out to the front tower of the snipers and hurled stones, pieces of glass, and iron tools at them, which forced them to withdraw. Because they had no gymnasium, the brothers in Ward Three did not go to the gymnasium area, but they launched a psychological war against the soldiers, which lowered their spirits, because they were facing them directly. They brought flags with the phrase: "There is no god but God" and put them on the windows. They also broke the windows for the brothers to go out.

Loud shouts and exclamations "with the phrase God is Great" in Ward Three followed the leader of Ward Two outside announcing his solidarity and unity with them. Ward One also did the same.

Some brothers looked through the openings at the outside of the ward and they saw the brothers preparing for getting out already. They also saw that the brother in charge was injured. We thought that he was shot, but he said that it was nothing. We knew later that he actually had severe bruises in his head, hand, and back because he was close to the forces during the first ambush. We knew that stones fell at him, while he was scouting their movements in proximity, because the place was narrow, and that he had no other option but to stand in that place. His and his companions' survival was a miracle of God in that ferocious battle in prison. He concealed his injury so that the brothers would not despair and lose control inside the ward if they knew about his injury. Then, there would be in chaos and the brothers would perish if dissension occurred as a result of his injury and his inability to manage the situation outside. Therefore, he reassured everybody that they would go out safely and that the situation was under control to make things easy for them.

Then, snipers and security forces ran out of bullets because of excessive firing inside the prison, and its walls and ward buildings became similar to villages in Khost and Kandahar in Afghanistan after a US bombing or a confrontation with the [Afghan] brothers. Then, the brothers in Ward Three came out of broken windows, while the brothers in Ward One and Ward Two came out of the gymnasium area. The brothers there suffered a lot because there were old and ill brothers among them.

Then, brothers of Ward Three asked all the brothers to leave the place. They supervised helping the other brothers who were locked inside the ward. A number of brothers from Ward One and Ward Two remained with them and ordered the others to leave. The brothers shook hands at the prison gates. Brothers of Ward One shook hands with brothers of Wards Two and Three, and also the other brothers of

Ward One. Some brothers in Ward One provided first aid to the leader of Ward Two to relieve the pains he had in his back. Brothers of Ward Three cam to them and ordered everybody to leave immediately, and they also gave some money to most of the brothers to help them leave the area. Some brothers from Ward Three accompanied the other brothers to the road to protect them from bullying criminals. By the way, only some of the prisoners, who went out of the criminal section of the prison, did acts of bullying, and it was the security personnel who gave them weapons from the battalion to kill the citizens.

The heroic brothers in Ward Three and a number of other brothers remained in the prison until 2300 to get the other brothers out from their cells.

We knew that many brothers from Ward One went to the Al-Tahrir Square, as they had planned to do so, and they remained there, with another number of brothers from Ward Two, until the removal of the tyrant Husni Mubarak.

This story has been compiled from quotations of a number of detained brothers in Abu-Za'bal, who eye-witnessed the incident.

There were other incidents that took place in Ward Three of heroic nature, but we could not narrate them, in addition to other stories in Wards One and Two.

We ask God to accept the good deeds of our brothers. with His reward.

God bless you

This posting is quoted.

[To view the vernacular, click here.]

[Description of Source: Ansar al-Mujahidin Network in Arabic -Relatively new Salafi-jihadist web forum with a focus on global jihad, online since 2008; site correspondents reliably post Al-Qa'ida and affiliate messaging; URL: www.as-ansar.com/vb]

Interview with Najih Ibrahim, Founder of Egypt•s Islamic Group

GMP20110428825007 London Al-Quds al-Arabi Online in Arabic 28 Apr 11

[Interview with Dr Najih Ibrahim Abdallah, former leader of Egypt's Islamic Group, by Muhammad Nasr Kurum in Cairo.]

Dr Najih Ibrahim Abdallah is one of the founders of the Islamic Group, a member of its Shura Council, its spokesman, the editor-in-chief of its web site, one of the group's most prominent proponents, one of its decision makers, planners, and executors of the events of 1981.

Those events were an attempt by the group, in partnership with the alJihad organization, to seize power. After he was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1981, he participated with others in the first years of his imprisonment in composing the essays and literature of the group, which considered armed action to be an authentic means of achieving its goals. The violent incidents that the country witnessed in the 90s between the group and the Mubarak regime enjoyed his blessing, backing, and support. However, he, along with other leaders of the group, surprised everyone with their 1997 initiative to halt violence. He was one of those who made that decision to abandon his old way of thinking irrevocably. He toured the prisons and detention centers and exerted himself tirelessly to bring thousands of group members around to the idea of peaceful action and not using weapons against the government and the society. He became a theorist of the group's new thinking, about which he authored more than 25 books, dealing with many thorny subjects, especially subjects such as the sovereignty of Islamic law (hakimiyah), the forbidding of vice by means of armed jihad against ruling regimes, and relations with nonMuslims. He also dealt with the thinking and methods of al-Qa'idah, how the Islamic movement should coexist with ruling regimes working to suppress them, and other questions.

He was released after spending 24 years in prison, but he did not slow down. He continued to present the group's new thinking and methods by all available means and methods, leaving no issue without expressing his opinion about it. He remained in communication with a large number of political forces and parties and tried to gain access to all, regardless of their orientations and affiliations. He was a frequent guest on the satellite channels and on the pages of Egyptian, Arab, and international newspapers.

However, immediately after the revolution of January 25, things changed for him. Disagreements emerged between him and some of the group's leaders and members. The group then announced the appointment of Shaykh Usamah Hafiz, a member of the Shura Council, as its official spokesman, replacing Dr Najih. Then he surprised everybody by announcing that he was leaving the group's leadership and would devote himself only to Islamic preaching (da'wah). His decision raised many questions about the real reasons that caused a person like him to leave the group's leadership. This is an attempt on our part to learn the real, hidden, as-yet-unannounced reasons that caused him to make such a decision and to find out whether he might return again to the group's leadership or whether his decision is irrevocable.

[Interviewer] What are the real, as-yet-unannounced reasons for your leaving the leadership of the Islamic Group?

[Najih Ibrahim] To begin with, I want to stress that I shouldered administrative and executive responsibility for the group in the most difficult period it ever passed through in its history. This responsibility gained me experience that I needed, but at the same time it frequently harmed me, inasmuch as people lay in wait for me, my decisions, and my ideas. Never before did I think of resigning from the group's leadership. However, after the January 25 revolution, some people tried to outbid me. Some of them tried to return again to the idea of declaring the ruler an infidel (takfir). I therefore found it more fitting and preferable to leave the leadership completely. I thank these people for doing me good while they wanted to do me harm, because they caused me to make the greatest decision in my life after the decision of the initiative to end the violence: the decision to resign from leadership activities. I decided to devote myself solely to Islamic preaching and thought.

[Interviewer] What about the elections that the group is holding to choose its leaders? What position will you take if you are chosen as a leader of the group?

[Najih Ibrahim] The Islamic Group is now holding fair, transparent elections at all levels from summit to base. If the elections produce a leader other than myself, good! If they choose me as leader of the group, I shall definitely refuse. I will not return to the leadership again. I will remain for the rest of my life devoted to Islamic preaching, public activity, and encouraging some of the Islamic parties that will be established in the coming period.

[Interviewer] Why was Shaykh Usamah Hafiz appointed the group's official spokesman, replacing you, shortly before your decision to resign?

[Najih Ibrahim] I was the one who chose Shaykh Usamah. Many people were trying to outbid me. They were creating confusion between my articles and my being the group's official spokesman. I unburdened myself of this problem and nominated him to be the group's official spokesman, so that people would not confuse my opinions with the official opinion of the group. The group's Shura Council approved.

It is honor enough for me that I shouldered responsibility in the most difficult and critical of times. With the cooperation of my brothers, I guided the Shura Council to safety. Most of its members have come out of prison. All of their problems have been solved. Today nothing is harassing it, no one is blocking its course, or monitoring it and preventing its development. It has nothing to fear now after the January revolution, inasmuch as everybody now is breathing the fragrance of freedom and dignity. So I have left the group not fearing pursuit, persecution, or prohibiting from anyone. I am happy that I had a share in freeing hundreds from prison and made life easier for all the detainees from other movements. I stood surety for the release of many of them, although I did not know them. However, I understand that this time is not the time for me to bear responsibility.

[Interviewer] What particular points were held against you by some of the group's members and made them try to outbid you?

[Najih Ibrahim] Some tried to outbid me because I refused to make the group officially a participant in the demonstrations of the January 25 revolution. I did this out of fear, because the situation wasn't clear beforehand; making the group a participant in such a matter would have been a great risk for the group at a time of recovery after more than 20 years in prisons and detention camps. The group's financial situation was very weak. It had twelve members under death sentences. If the revolution failed, their sentences would have been carried out immediately. Foremost among them was Shaykh Mustafa Hamzah, the person primarily responsible for the attempted assassination of Mubarak in Addis Ababa in 1995. No leader would risk that.

However, anyone who wanted to participate without a directive from the group, did participate. We did not ask anyone not to participate. Thousands from the group therefore participated in the January 25 revolution. They joined the demonstrations, the marches, the guarding of the square, the protection of the demonstrations, and everything, but under no designation.

[Interviewer] If the various Islamic forces had participated in the revolution from its beginning, would the situation have been different somehow?

[Najih Ibrahim] The fact that the Islamic movement did not participate under its own name may have helped to protect the revolution from eradication. Had the revolution assumed an Islamic character and chanted Islamic slogans, it would have been destroyed and done away with in its cradle. However, it took a simple form, and so at first it was dealt with gently and leniently. It was treated more harshly only after the clash with the police, the battle with the camel, and afterward. This also moderated the West's antagonism and made all these international parties sympathetic to it.

[Description of Source: London Al-Quds al-Arabi Online in Arabic -Website of London-based independent Arab nationalist daily with strong anti-US bias. URL: http://www.alquds.co.uk/]

Hani Al-Siba'i Criticizes Muslim Brotherhood Approach

GMP20110414836005 Ansar al-Mujahidin Network in Arabic 13 Apr 11

[Article attributed to Dr Hani al-Siba'i, the director of Al-Maqrizi Center for Historical Studies; place and date not given: "Which of the Two Approaches Deserves To Be Followed?" -- "Al-Gharib al-Ghazzi," user number 22193, posted the article.]

A Comment on the Remark Made by Dr Issam al-Irian

A quiet message to the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood: Which of the two approaches deserves more to be followed? By Dr Hani alSiba'i, the director of the Al-Maqrizi Center for Historical Studies in London.

In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate,

Dr Issam al-Irian (a leader in the Muslim Brotherhood) commented on the statement by Dr Ayman al-Zawahiri dated 6 Dhu al-Hijjah 1426, [corresponding to 6 January 2006] on Al-Jazirah Channel and he said: "We are facing two approaches for work that are competing over

reforming Islamic work for decades. If there is an approach and a school endorsed by the Muslim Brotherhood that will strengthen the ummah and change it from the roots in application of the verse: "Verily never will Allah change the condition of a people until they change it themselves (with their own souls),"[Koranic verse, Al-Ra'd, 13:11], some other Islamists believe that the path to this [change] will be accomplished through power. Thus, they focused on power, governance and governments, and want to remove it from the way. Then they want to change it as they wish, by the authority of the ruler and not through the authority of the people, who want to change their situation.

Al-Irian stressed on the rightness of the approach of the Muslim Brotherhood by saying: "Experiences have proven that the revolutionary approach - contrary to the words of Ayman al-Zawahiri faces a failure after the other because it endorses a very critical tool, which is change from the top. As for the reform approach adopted by the Muslim Brotherhood, it every day proves that it has become more established, powerful and constructive.

Commenting on Al-Irian's Remarks:

First, I would like to make it very clear that I wrote these words independently, and not because I am biased to Zayd or Umar [to anyone], but on the basis of adhering to the truth wherever it may be. I will also stress that what motivated me to write this comment was Dr Issam al-Irian's emphasis on the rightness of the approach of the Muslim Brotherhood and the failure of the approach adopted by Dr Ayman al-Zawahiri and the jihadist groups that is contrary to the approach of the Muslim Brotherhood. According to my humble point of view, Dr Issam al-Irian is not right, because his evaluation of Dr Ayman alZawahiri's approach about [creating] change was a sentimental evaluation filled with bias and vengeance; perhaps because of a temporary feeling of victory in the battle of the major legislative councils.

I believe evaluating any approach of any Muslim group is subject to how they are far or close to the sources of the Islamic law (Koran, Sunnah, consensus, analogy, etc). Thus, the question is raised by the dissenters of the Muslim Brotherhood approach on the legitimacy of their approach since the establishment of the group in 1928 and up to now. What is the criterion that makes us judge the success or failure of the approach of an Islamic group? Also, the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood did not respond to the historical facts and the events mentioned by Dr Ayman al-Zawahiri in his book (Al-Hasad al-Mur) [the bitter harvest] for nearly twenty years.

After this introduction, I hope the leaders and youth of the Muslim Brotherhood will be tolerant and respond to my message, which I will

summarize through several examples from our current history, which we had experienced. Our destiny was to live in the era of continuous defeats. By God, we do not complain about matters that are destined by God. To discover the right path and to know who works according to a disciplined religious approach and who works according to a shaky approach that only yields failure;

First: The Muslim Brotherhood Group joined the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan with the US occupation forces during the Taliban reign. Among the most prominent figures of this trend, who entered Kabul under the protection of the US planes, tanks and armored vehicles were Burhanuddin Rabbani and Abdorrab Rasul Sayyaf, who are members in the International Muslim Brotherhood Organization. Despite this, the Muslim Brotherhood Group did not issue a statement condemning this shameful alliance or renouncing the actions of the two (Rabbani and Sayyaf)! It is noted that as soon as Burhanuddin Rabbani, who was one of the prominent leaders of the mujahidin in the past, attained the presidency of Afghanistan after the departure of the Communist Soviets before its dissolution went to Egypt and willingly announced that he was willing to hand over the Egyptian mujahidin living in Afghanistan; although the events were not so intense at the Egyptian or international level at that time. Of course we did not observe a statement from the leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood condemning this reckless act and repugnant adulation by the former president Burhanuddin Rabbani. Is there any reward for good other than good? What did the Afghan people gain from the participation of the Muslim Brotherhood (Rabbani, [Qasim] Fahim, Sayyaf) in the alliance of the occupation forces other than failure, death, destruction, and the spread of vice?

Second: In Algeria, the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Mahfoud Nahnah, allied with the military junta against the Al-Inqaz [Islamic Salvation] Front, which had accepted the option of the polls following the example of the Western system just as the Muslim Brotherhood did. Instead of joining them he allied with the military ([Muhammad] AlImari, Khalid Nazar) against them. Then, he carried out a campaign to enhance the image of the suppressive military regime in Algeria and his party still follows the same approach. Despite this, the leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood did not issue a statement condemning his alliance with the Francophone [French-speaking countries] that destroyed the land of Barbarossa. Nevertheless, was Algeria ruled by Islamic Shari'ah or were the sources of the religion dried up. Christianization was taking place in full swing during the reign of some ministers affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood! What did the Algerian people gain from joining the Muslim Brotherhood other than failure?

Third and most importantly: The US occupation and its allies of the land of the father of prophets, Ibrahim, and their occupation of the capital of Islam, Baghdad al-Rashid. We see the Islamic Party (the Muslim Brotherhood) allying with the Anglo-American forces of aggression. We see their leaders Dr Muhsin Abd-al-Hamid and Dr Salah al-Din Baha-al-Din, members of the Transitional Ruling Council that is

appointed by the occupation forces, as well as the participation of Hajim al-Hasani, the Godfather of [Paul] Bremer's projects, who was appointed as president of the so-called National Assembly. Tariq alHashimi still continues this silly game and challenges the feelings of Muslims by insisting to participate in the elections legislated by the occupation to enhance his image, to belittle the mujahidin, and to contain and distort their image. In spite of this perpetuated major historical crime, which is still perpetuated by the Islamic Party, the leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt did not issue a comprehensive statement disclaiming the Islamic Party and its leadership and condemning the party's alliance with the forces of aggression against the Land of the Two Rivers. It was more useful to apply the creed of allegiance and disavowal and to dismiss Muhsin Abdal-Hamid and Salah-al-Din Baha-al-Din along with Hajim al-Husayni and Tariq al-Hashimi and all those who participated in the crime of occupying Iraq; no matter his standpoint, justification or sect. Unfortunately, none of that took place. What did the Iraqi people gain from the participation of the Muslim Brotherhood in the alliance with the US-UK occupation other than failure, death and destruction?

Fourth: In Malaysia the Muslim Brotherhood stood by the Finance Minister Anwar Ibrahim, who was involved in corruption cases against Mahathir Muhammad, the former Prime Minister of Malaysia, who quit voluntarily and gave a boost to his country economically, politically and socially. How should we explain this act by the Muslim Brotherhood before Mahathir Muhammad? I think this happened simply because Mahathir Muhammad was not a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, and that was enough for them to stand against him although he was a sincere person, an expert, and a professional! The irony is that the Muslim Brotherhood complains about the ruling regimes for favoring trustworthy people (who are considered to be affiliated and loyal to the regime) over the people of experience (that are independents and do not want the reward or thanks from any party)! At the same time, we see the Muslim Brotherhood and the youth they raise in captivity keep to themselves. We see a young naïve person overnight become the leader of a professional union, for example, or an editor of a newspaper or an official of a bank etc. His only qualification is that he is a member of the [Muslim] Brotherhood; although he doesn't see, hear, or know! What is important is that he does not argue or discuss anything. He only follows the orders of the people of the wisdom in the Guidance Bureau, otherwise he will be subjected to isolation, segregation, and denial of all that is good and the prosperous future he expects!

Fifth: The statements of support and condolences to the unjust systems and dictatorial parties that conspired against the Islamic ummah [the community of Muslims worldwide], just like the condolence message to Massoud Barzani and Jalal Talabani, who are the two largest agents of the US-Zionist alliance in the Arab world! With every armed operation that occurs here or there, the Brotherhood leadership takes the initiative to denounce, condemn, and excessively rebuke those who have conducted this operation against the occupation forces or the forces of injustice and oppression in the Muslim world. Examples of this are numerous, and this has become the habit of the Muslim Brotherhood since the Al-Nuqrashi [an Egyptian politician assassinated

by the Muslim Brotherhood] incident and even until our contemporary era!

Sixth:

The Muslim Brotherhood and the Secularization of Islam:

A. Dr Abd-al-Mun'im Abu-al-Futuh, member of the Guidance Bureau, said to the Nasserite Al-Arabi newspaper on 28 September 2003, issue number 878: I do not mind that a Christian becomes the president of the country and there is no objection to the existence of a Communist Party. In spite of this, the Brotherhood group did not issue a statement denouncing these statements and did not freeze the membership of Dr Abd-al-Mun'im Abu-al-Futuh from the Guidance Bureau at the very least!

B. There is another statement by Ali Sadreddine Bayanouni, the secretary general of the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria, in June 2005 in one of the Arab TV satellite channels funded by the European Union with the consent of the United States to spread US democracy in the Islamic world! In response to the announcer's question on whether he accepts a woman or a Christian becoming the president of Syria, Bayanouni said: What the people decide we accept. If the people chose a Christian or a communist or a woman, we will accept that because the one who chooses democracy will accept its results!

I say: If this speech was issued by a secularist, we would say that this secularist is in harmony with himself, as he does not raise a religious or even a moral slogan! As for a group that is established on the basis of religion and people are affiliated with it on the basis of this religion, which rejects any partner in all aspects of life, foremost being authority and the least being the removal of harm from the path, is what is being conducted by the leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood. They are practicing a political piousness and an outdated Greek fallacy, through which they want to convince the people with something or its contrary, as if you say to a person you are a Buddhist Muslim, a communist Muslim, or a Christian or a Jewish communist! Thus, they continued in this political piousness and their statements were at fault. For example:

C. The Al-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper published on 25 May 2005: Abd-alMun'im Abu-al-Futuh said: "The group's slogan; 'Islam is our Constitution' is an emotional and moral slogan that reflects the group's reference, but it does not reflect its political action approach that respects the positive laws and constitution of the state. He stressed that the group believes in citizenship rights and that the ummah is the source of authority. " Abu-al-Futuh was not satisfied with his previous remarks, but also referred to the Egyptian legislative elections held in 2005. He said in various satellite channels that the Brotherhood's reference is modern Islam. The 'Islam is the solution' slogan is a modern slogan and not an ideological or

religious slogan! I say: What reference is this, which Abu-al-Futuh emphasizes and even cherishes (modern Islam)! We do not know what is meant by modern Islam, unless by God they mean the Islam of museums or of private councils! Abu-al-Futuh speaks about an Islam that is free of creed and religion! A modern Islam not known by our Prophet Muhammad, prayers and peace be upon him! Unfortunately, the Brotherhood did not denounce, albeit timidly, the repeated debacles of Abu-al-Futuh!

D. Another Muslim Brotherhood leader said: He did not call for the application of the Shari'ah! The Shuhud website posted on 22 May 2005: "On the other hand, Khalid al-Za'afarani, the former Muslim Brotherhood member, announced that he had made a formal request to the Parties Affairs Committee to establish the Reform, Justice, and Development Party. Al- Za'farani (53 years old) explained that the new party is emulating the experience of the Turkish Justice and Development Party. He said that he does not call for the application of the Shari'ah because the positive laws in Egypt, sufficient as they are, presumably derived from the Shari'ah. He added that the party encouraged granting women all their political rights and equality with men and that if he came to power would not impose the veil on women.

Conclusion

I wrote this comment in a hurry to uncover some of what was mentioned by Dr Isam al-Irian in commenting on the speech of Dr Ayman alZawahiri to demonstrate the validity of the Muslim Brotherhood's approach and the failure of the approach adopted by Dr Ayman alZawahiri and those who support him among the Islamic groups. In conclusion, there is a lot that needs to be said, but there is no room to narrate it. Anyway, I want the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood, which is the major Islamic group in the Islamic world; to respond to these legitimate questions I had mentioned in my comments to show every Muslim, which of the two approaches rightfully deserves to be followed.

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Egyptian Islamists on Impact of Bin Ladin•s Killing

GMP20110504825011 London Al-Quds al-Arabi Online in Arabic 04 May 11

[Report by Muhammad Nasr Karum, from Cairo: "Najih Ibrahim: Al-Qa'ida Will Not Be Able to Avenge Bin Ladin Because of Its Feebleness and Because Its Leaders Are in Hiding"]

After the killing of Shaykh Usama Bin Ladin, will the organization try to avenge his killing? Will the absence of Al-Qa'ida's first man lead to weakening or perhaps dismantling it, or will it lead to the spread of his ideas and principles for which he abandoned safety, security, and prosperity, was hunted down all his life in the caves and mountains, and for which he died? Is it expected that the US Intelligence will undertake liquidating other leaders of Al-Qa'ida? These are the questions we asked some of the Islamist jihadi leaders.

Dr Tariq al-Zumur, the Islamist jihadi leader who spent 30 years in prison for his involvement in the assassination of late President Anwar al-Sadat, says commenting on the killing of Bin Ladin:

[Al-Zumur] If Al-Qa'ida has committed some violations of international laws and conventions, the United States has committed greater violations than those. The United States has violated the national sovereignty of Pakistan, and assassinated Shaykh Usama rather than arrested him and put him on trial for the accusations leveled at him. The main reason for the intervention of the US forces in Afghanistan and Pakistan has been Bin Ladin; therefore, after his killing, these forces ought to withdraw from those two countries.

[Karum] Is the killing of Bin Ladin tantamount to the beginning of the end of Al-Qa'ida?

[Al-Zumur] The nature of the jihadi organizations is that they are not affected greatly by the absence of the symbols. Any good observer of history will find out that the execution or killing the leaders has not put an end to their ideas and principles. This is what happened with Shaykh Salih Sariyyah, Shaykh Sayyid Qutb, and others; they died but their ideas survived and spread, and the numbers of their followers increased. Moreover, in the light of the blessed popular revolutions that are erupting in our Arab countries, we hope that the awareness of the jihadis will be polarized toward the popular revolutions, and that they will become aware of the importance of these revolutions in resisting tyranny and corruption.

[Karum] Do you expect the US Intelligence to reach Dr Ayman alZawahiri, the second man in Al-Qa'ida, and other leaders soon?

[Al-Zumur] Reaching Bin Ladin at this time seems to be a great success, but I consider it to be one of the greatest manifestations of failure. This is because the United States has failed to reach a civilian for more than 10 years despite its huge abilities and resources. Also I do not exclude the possibility of reaching Dr Ayman al-Zawahiri in the upcoming period; this is possible.

[Karum] Do you expect the organization to carry out revenge operations to reply to the killing of its leader?

[Al-Zumur] I hope that Al-Qa'ida will steer away from that, focus its efforts on the legitimate resistance operations, and avoid random operations that damage the reputation of the resistance, and distort the image of Muslims across the world.

[Karum] You have addressed a number of appeals to Al-Qa'ida from prison, and you addressed Bin Ladin and urged him to steer away from the military operations he was undertaking; why?

[Al-Zumur] This is because we consider that the random character of Al-Qa'ida causes a great deal of harm. It ought to change, and efforts have to be united so that ultimately they benefit the Islamist movement and the Arab peoples. In the recent years, Al-Qa'ida has steered away from the random character, or perhaps its capabilities have not enabled it to carry out random operations. In the light of this course, reaching Usama Bin Ladin was expected. I would like to stress that the peaceful tendency of the Islamist jihadi groups ought to be consolidated.

As for Dr Najih Ibrahim, of the leaders and founders of the Islamic Group, he says:

[Ibrahim] I did not wish Shaykh Usama to be killed by the United States, or to be killed at all. I hoped that he would have lived fully respected and honored, and that he would revise his thinking, and admit his mistakes, especially with regard to the September [ 2001] events. This would have been better for Islam and for him. I respect Usama Bin Ladin as a person, but as an ideology and action I disagree with him, because he has harmed greatly the Islamist movement, and the September events led to the occupation of Afghanistan while it was a newly-born Islamic country. Moreover, Al-Qa'ida targeted the civilians by its operations, which is a major mistake, and prohibited in Islam.

[Karum] Does the killing of Bin Ladin mean that the organization is infiltrated, the United States has complete information about it, and that it is possible to assassinate other leading members?

[Ibrahim] For years the Al-Qa'ida organization has had very weak influence, and it is infiltrated nearly completely. Shaykh Sa'id AbuZayd was killed some months ago by a drone, Midhat Mursi was killed in the same way, and then only months later the leader of the organization is killed; this indicates that the organization is completely infiltrated.

[Karum] Do you expect the organization to carry out revenge operations to avenge Bin Ladin?

[Ibrahim] I do not think so. Al-Qa'ida will not be able to do anything, because there is a state of fragmentation prevailing over its members, they have no weapons, they have no safe places, the leaders are dispersed, and every one of these leaders' only preoccupation is to hide. The capabilities of the organization are very weak, and I do not expect it is capable of carrying out revenge operations.

Mamduh Isma'il, Islamist lawyer, comments on the killing of Bin Ladin by saying:

[Isma'il] I believe that Obama's talk about his victory over Al-Qa'ida is completely untrue, because the one who won was Usama Bin Ladin. This is because Bin Ladin lived according to his principles, and achieved his aims; even his wish to be a martyr has been achieved. Bin Ladin did not lie, but Obama has lied about everything. Obama was not sincere in the claims about freedom, democracy, and human rights; had he been sincere, he would have arrested Bin Ladin, and referred him to a fair trial. On the contrary, Obama violated the sovereignty of a country in a dirty criminal operation, and killed women, children, and innocent people. He has done this in order to achieve a victory in the upcoming elections, because he failed inside the White House. Obama has sent a very bad message to the world by throwing the corpse of Bin Ladin in the sea. This is because despite the fact that the Islamists disagree with Bin Ladin and his organization, a Muslim has his sanctity, and there are rites for burying the dead Muslims. What Obama has done has angered the Muslims across the world. There are many who sympathize with Bin Ladin, because he fought against a criminal enemy who killed Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan. What Obama did will lead to the spread of Bin Ladin's ideas and principles.

[Karum] Do you expect Al-Qa'ida to carry out revenge operations?

[Isma'il] The organization has become very weak. I expect a reaction only in Afghanistan and Pakistan, because they are open to each other, and there is security instability there.

[Karum] Do you expect that the US Intelligence has information about Al-Zawahiri and other leaders of Al-Qa'ida after the killing of Bin Ladin?

[Isma'il] Had this been true, they would have struck at them on the same day so that they do not take precautions. The killing of Bin Ladin is a warning message to Al-Zawahiri and others. They would have taken their precautions, and it would be difficult to reach them in the current stage.

[Description of Source: London Al-Quds al-Arabi Online in Arabic -Website of London-based independent Arab nationalist daily with strong anti-US bias. URL: http://www.alquds.co.uk/]

Egypt: Islamists Say liberals• •Apprehensions• About Their •Rise• Unjustified

GMP20110327825002 London Al-Hayah Online in Arabic 27 Mar 11

[Report from Cairo by Ahmad Rahim: •Egyptian Islamists Say Apprehensions About their Rise Are a Continuation of the Former Policy of Frightening People of the Success of the Revolution in Egypt•]

The political circles in Egypt are currently taking interest in the Islamists' noticeable rise after the downfall of the regime of former President Husni Mubarak. Following the "25 January revolution", Islamic groups of various inclinations featured prominently in the scene, particularly after the endorsement of the constitutional amendments, which the Islamists supported. The Islamists fought a battle against almost all political parties and youth forces for these amendments. Besides, the Muslim Brotherhood [MB] Group has now become

a major player, if not the major player, amid other political parties' weakness and youth movements' lack of organization.

On the other hand, the Islamic Group's popularity rose, as its leaders featured high in the media over the past days, especially after the release of Abbud and Tariq al-Zumar.

Some liberals expressed their apprehensions about this noticeable rise and their concern that Egypt might turn into a religious state within few years. These apprehensions were fueled by some individual incidents, such as an act by youngsters to cut the ear of a Coptic youth who reportedly harbored a girl with bad reputation in his home in the Governorate of Qina in Upper Egypt. The youngsters considered this act a religious punishment.

However, Islamists from various trends asserted to Al-Hayah that these apprehensions are unjustified. They said these apprehensions are a continuation of the former regime's policy of frightening people of the Islamists to ensure the continuation of the regime. They noted that these apprehensions are used as a scarecrow to abort the revolution.

Dr Najih Ibrahim, the Islamic Group's theorist and second man, told Al-Hayah that these apprehensions are absolutely unjustified. He added that most of them are delusive and "produced and directed by secularists" with the aim of aborting the revolution and frightening the people of its results.

Dr Ibrahim said: "These apprehensions are exaggerated by secular and leftist media to make the people turn away from Islam. In the first place, they are afraid that the MB Group might take power, because, if this happens, all their gains will be lost."

However, Ibrahim does not deny that "some Islamists make mistakes, which the secularists use to stir apprehensions about the Islamists."

He said: "The Islamists must make responsible statements and not give anyone an opportunity to attack them. Also, they must distinguish between politicians and preachers." He added: "The ballot box is the arbiter of the people. If they accept it as a decisive criterion, then they must accept its results."

For his part, Isam al-Irayyan, member of the MB Group's Guidance Office and spokesman, told Al-Hayah: "The current apprehensions are

unjustified, because the MB Group has existed in the society for decades now." He referred to "an initiative by the MB Group guide, Dr Muhammad Badi, to meet with Coptic youths to talk to them and present to them the MB Group's thought."

But spokesman for the salafi group Shaykh Abd-al-Mun'im Shahatah told Al-Hayah: "The reason behind these apprehensions is that the former regime used the Islamists as a scarecrow both at home and abroad, because it benefited from the state of expectation and fear to remain as a policeman in the society."

He said: "The apprehensions about the Islamists' rise are lies made by the media. The evidence of this fact is that salafis protected the Copts' homes, shops, and churches during the days of security lawlessness after the outbreak of the revolution." He added: "It seems that the media continue to be loyal to the former regime. Therefore, they seek to frighten the people of the Islamists and the revolution."

Elsewhere, the Islamic Labor Party said that it will hold a news conference tomorrow to announce the nomination of its leading figure M ajdi Husayn Ahmad to contest elections for the presidency of the republic.

In another development, the MB Group's youths opened their first conference yesterday. No leading figures of the MB Group attended the conference. This absence indicates that the MB leadership is not pleased with the youths' move. The youths asserted that they will send the conference results to the group's guidance office for information. They were keen to emphasize that the conference is not considered a split from the group.

[Description of Source: London Al-Hayah Online in Arabic -- Website of influential Saudi-owned London pan-Arab daily. URL: http://www.daralhayat.com]

Egypt: Interview with Dr Najih Ibrahim, a leading member of the Islamic Group

GMP20110324007001 Cairo Al-Jumhuriyah in Arabic 24 Mar 11 p 5

[Interview with Dr Najih Ibrahim, a leading member of the Islamic Group, Conducted by Muhammad Mursi: "We do not Seek Power. Da'wa is our Primary Mission"]

The government-owned Cairo newspaper Al-Jumhuriyah published on 24 March a 3,000-word interview with Najih Ibrahim, a prominent leader in Al-Jama'a al-Islamiyah [Islamic Group] who was recently released from prison, in which he said the group planned to form a political party and was sticking to its declared policy of renouncing violence.

Ibrahim said in the interview with Muhammad Mursi that there was no possibility for return to violence because the revisions it announced in the 1990s were based on conviction and on the teachings of Islamic Shari'a itself.

Ibrahim said that the 25 January revolution has brought many benefits to the Islamic Group and to the Egyptian people in "ending political tyranny, starting alternation on power, application of shura [Islamic consultation with the people] and respecting liberties, the Constitution, and laws. It allowed the group to engage publicly in peaceful da'wa [propagation of Islamic teachings]. Our aspirations are the same as those of the Egyptian people and can be summarized in three words: Freedom, justice, and dignity. I hope that now the problems of lawlessness by thugs, unemployment, and corruption will be remedied."

Ibrahim said there was a debate inside the Islamic group on the formation of a political party and that its program and objectives would be announced once agreement is reached.

"The new element the group will propose in its programs is to differentiate between da'wa and politics. Da'wa relates to the work of preachers and represents the tenets of religion, its doctrine, pillars, and ultimate objectives," Ibrahim said. "We shall establish a civil party with an Islamic civilization background, not a religious party advocating a theocratic State because Islam does not know such a State or its manifestations. It is a State that belongs to the Church only and has never been applied in Islam. Further the Sunni people do not know vilayat al-fagih [rule by men of religion] which is applied and embraced by some Shiites".

Ibrahim said it was premature to decide on whether the group will run in the coming parliamentary elections. "This requires major preparations, and we shall announce our position on this later," he said. He said the group had no branches outside Egypt.

Asked whether the group had specific concepts on applying Shari'a, he replied "many do not know that there are many rules of Shari'a applied in Egypt especially in civilian areas. As for what is missing in the application of Shari'a and is regarded as mandatory, this requires us to wisely and carefully prepare the Egyptian society to accept it".

On demands by some Egyptians, especially the Christian Copts, for amending Article Two of the Constitution identifying Shari'a as the main source of legislation, Ibrahim said that "Article Two expresses the identity of the Egyptian society in which Muslims represent about 95% of the population. It does not undermine Egypt's Copts but actually protects their rights. Islamic Shari'a is the real guarantor for the Coptic identity. It gives them their right to rule among themselves on issues of family laws and to form their own councils. The Egyptian people themselves will not allow tampering with their identity. Amending Article Two was demanded by only a few who have well-known intellectual leanings and who want to impose their agenda on the Egyptian people."

On differences between the group and the Muslim Brotherhood, Najih said: "The Islamic movement including the Islamic Group and the Brotherhood move from a common ground and are linked by the tenets and principles of religion. The difference is in mechanisms and means, and such differences are acceptable and necessary to enrich the Islamic movement and spur political action forward. We differ with our brothers in the Muslim Brotherhood only in some branches, opinions, and m echanisms. We agree with them on the approach, the roots, and tenets. Thank Allah all the Islamic movements in Egypt are Sunnis and there is no one among them which adopt Shiite or other ideologies."

"We have no relationship with Al-Takfir wal Hijra Group which has almost become extinct in Egypt and no longer has any real presence. As for Al-Jihad group we have intimate brotherly relations with many of its leaders. We have lived for long periods in cordiality and amicability but there are differences and varying mental visualizations and also in the method of action and da'wa. Still, what combines us is more than what separates us," Ibrahim added.

On what requirements the group thinks the new President of Egypt should meet, Najih replied "the new president has huge responsibilities. He must lead a campaign against corruption to uproot it. He must entrench the values of freedom and democracy in the country and lead a real revolution to reform education and health which are the two keys for Egypt's advancement and progress. It does

not matter whether the system is presidential or parliamentary, for it has to be democratic and uphold the values of justice, freedom, and dignity. As long as there is room for peaceful alternation on power and specific terms for the presidency there will be no Pharaoh in Egypt because an Egyptian Pharaoh begins to act like one after seven years."

Ibrahim added: "The Egyptian revolution cannot achieve all its objectives overnight but will require time in a continuous process. It will take time to mature, but I think it has made many achievements in displacing Mubarak after 30 years in power, dismantled many institutions of corruption, and aborted hereditary rule. I think the future will see major progress toward achieving the rest of the objectives, Allah willing. But there are three principal problems that face the revolution at present. The first is the weakness of the Egyptian national economy. The second is the spread of crimes by lawless elements and the absence of security. The third is the emergence of the sectarian sedition at this time."

He said the initiative on abandoning violence was "a strategic option based on Shari'a" and that there was no likelihood that the group would change its mind on this and return to violence again. He said the group would adopt persuasion and avoid pressures in urging the people to abide fully by religious teachings and would "assure nonMuslims that they have equal rights and duties".

"We shall not allow return to violence in the Islamic Group. No one in the Islamic Group wants return to violence. Some advocate returning to all or part of the old ideology in takfir [branding with apostasy] the ruler but without resort to violence. We are trying to make them abandon this concept because it might develop in an undesirable way with the youthful generations and lead afterwards to many problems, especially in the atmosphere of freedom we are now living".

Asked whether terrorist incidents or sectarian sedition can happen in the coming period, Ibrahim replied "I think constructive dialogue with the Copts will be a real guarantee against sectarian tensions. The main reason for the incidents of sectarian violence in recent years was the absence of dialogue between the two sides because Mubarak's regime wanted this absence and because of the link some Church leaders had with the ruling regime and the hereditary rule blueprint. But I think targeted dialogue would put an end to these bottlenecks. The atmosphere of freedom prevailing at present will also lead to limiting terrorist incidents to a very great extent, especially as moderate preachers are now allowed to engage in da'wa for Allah's ways".

"Da'wa has specific and renewable ways that differ with time and location. What is more important is the framework within which da'wa will move, namely wisdom, gentlenes s with people, and avoiding

pressures on them," Ibrahim said. "We also believe in choosing the most lenient of theological views rather than the most stringent. This is in application of the hadith [Prophet Muhammad saying] 'any time the Prophet of Allah, prayers and peace upon him, is given a choice between issues he chooses the more lenient unless it involves a sin'. [Thus we believe in] Reforming religious discourse in a way that does not violate Islamic tenets but makes it conform to the tolerance, middle-of-the-road approach, moderation and realism. The other nonMuslims should be assured about all their rights and that they have equal rights and duty. This should construct rather than destroy and combine rather than create splits. The takfir discourse against the ruler or the ruled should be abandoned."

The report said Ibrahim was a member of the Islamic Group's Shura Council. It said he has a Ph.D. in medicine and surgery and also obtained BA degrees in Islamic Studies from Cairo and Al-Minya Universities. He is married and has three sons and two daughters. He was sentenced to life imprisonment in the Sadat assassination case and spent 24 years in prison. He is the author of 25 books on various religious issues. He participated while in prison in the theological revisions which culminated in the announced renunciation of violence in the 1990s. He supervises the Islamic Group's Internet site in Arabic, English, and Urdu.

[Description of Source: Cairo Al-Jumhuriyah in Arabic • Website of state-controlled daily whose editorial line strongly defends regime policy.]

Egypt: Abd-al-Rahman's Family Rejects Call To Raid US Embassy, Seize Envoy

GMP20110723825011 London Al-Hayah Online in Arabic 23 Jul 11

[Report by Ahmad Mustafa in Cairo: "Islamists Act To Release Umar Abdal-Rahman"]

Egyptian Islamists signaled yesterday they would stage a sit-in outside the US Embassy in Cairo and "million-strong demonstrations" to

demand from the United States to release blind Shaykh Umar Abd-alRahman who is serving a life sentence.

Members of Abd-al-Rahman's family disclosed to Al-Hayah that a participant in a demonstration staged yesterday to demand his release "threatened to carry out operations targeting the Israelis in Sinai's resorts as a pressure step" while others talked about breaking into the US Embassy in Cairo and holding the ambassador. But the family members rejected a resort to such steps because they are bound to damage the case. Islamist Lawyer Muntasir al-Zayyat said: "We noticed complications in the past days in the matter of the Egyptian Government taking concrete steps for applying to receive the Islamic Group's amir which indicates that Cairo has fears from Abd-al-Rahman's return."

Hundreds of Islamists staged a demonstration after Friday's prayers which headed toward Al-Tahrir Square in central Cairo before stopping outside the US Embassy in Garden City neighborhood during which they demanded Abd-al-Rahman's release. The demonstrators, whose march started near Umar Maqram Mosque, raised the slogans "the people want Umar Abd-al-Rahman" and "support the supporter of Islam in American jails."

The blind shaykh's son Muhammad Umar Abd-al-Rahman asserted they would continue their efforts until his release and told Al-Hayah: "We will announce the stage-in in front of the US Embassy. We are also about organizing million-strong demonstrations in Al-Tahrir Square." He pointed out that the family received a telephone call from his father before few days telling them his health has worsened and urging them to continue the efforts for his release. The son referred to pressures on the Egyptian Government and Military Council "to submit an immediate and urgent request to the American authorities for Shaykh Abd-al-Rahman's return to Cairo, either by releasing him or letting him serve his remaining jail sentence in Egyptian jails." But Muntasir al-Zayyat told Al-Hayah the "case of Abd-al-Rahman's return to Cairo is now in the hands of a sovereign party", a reference to Egyptian intelligence.

[Description of Source: London Al-Hayah Online in Arabic -- Website of influential Saudi-owned London pan-Arab daily. URL: http://www.daralhayat.com]

Egypt: Islamic Group Figure Affirms 'No Intention To Clash' on 29 July

GMP20110724013004 Cairo Al-Shuruq al-Jadid in Arabic 24 Jul 11 p 1

[Report by Muhammad Khayyal: "Islamic Group: Egypt To Witness Biggest Ever Massive Gathering in History on Friday."]

Asim Abd-al-Majid, a member of the Shura Council of Al-Jama'ah alIslamiyyah [Islamic Group], said that Cairo will witness the largest ever gathering in its history next Friday in Tahrir Square.

He added to Al-Shuruq: "We shall go down [to the Square] without the intention of confrontation with any one. But anybody who thinks of confrontation will bear the consequences."

This follows an agreement by the Religious Body for Rights, Reform, and Salafi Advocacy and Al-Jama'ah on organizing a million-strong demonstration in Tahrir Square on Friday, 29 July, in response to calls for drafting a "supra-Constitutional" document. The Muslim Brotherhood group announced it was studying the matter after its agreement with these forces under the title of "the million-strong demonstration to attain the will of the people".

Shaykh Sayid Faraj, one of the youths of Al-Jama'ah who went against the Al-Jama'ah decision and joined the sit-in in Tahrir Square together with a group of Islamists who called themselves "the free Islamist coalition", commented on Abd-al-Majid's statements that divided the sit-in protestors at Tahrir Square into three camps: Seculars, communists, and remnants of the former regime. "There are in the Square brothers of yours who seek to apply the Shari' [laws] of Allah," he told Abd-al-Majid. "They are there just as the communists and seculars are." He said their presence was necessary to ensure national accord. "If there are in the Square some people who damage the revolution, it still has revolutionaries in it," he said.

On worries that clashes would erupt between the Tahrir sit-in protestors and the demonstrators of the Islamic forces, Hilmi alJazzar, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood Shura Council said "the occurrence of acts of violence is not permitted at all". He stressed that the Muslim Brothers "will not accept this", adding that the large crowd that will assemble is the guarantee against the eruption of acts of violence especially since any hooligans will not dare face such a crowd.

He said that the demonstration's aims do not include vacating the square or evicting the protestors from it. "Every faction has the right to express its opinion in full freedom," he said.

[Description of Source: Cairo Al-Shuruq al-Jadid in Arabic -Independent pro-reform liberal daily, moderately critical of the government.]

Egypt: Islamic Group Spokesman Vows Confrontation with US, Israeli Policies

GMP20110728007004 Cairo Al-Dustur in Arabic 28 Jul 11 p 4

[Interview with Asim Abd-al-Majid, the spokesman of the Islamic Group, Conducted by Abd-al-Rahman Abu-Uf: "The Secularists are Placing Egypt at the Threshold of a Military Coup. Al-Abbasiyyah Events are Part of an American Design To Steal the Revolution. Collision with the Army is the First Step by the Sixth of April Movement to Dismantle State Institutions"]

Engineer Asim Abd-al-Majid, the official spokesman for Al-Jama'a alIslamiyah [Islamic Group], does not hide his fears of the possibility of Egypt veering toward a dark tunnel or getting closer to a military coup in the event of insistence by the secular lobby and the April 6 movement on fostering the atmosphere of confusion and unrest in Egypt. Abd-al-Majid adopts a clear stand toward the April 6 movement. He does not hesitate to describe it as a non-Egyptian movement that is adopting a purely American course seeking continuation of hegemony over Egypt and subjecting it to American influence as was the case throughout the Mubarak era. Abd-al-Majid excludes any clash with the demonstrators of Tahrir [Square] and affirms that Al-Jama'a will not move to break up the sit-in or to promote disturbances but will work to unify ranks and support the just demands of the revolution. He strongly denied that Al-Jama'a adopts any approach of exclusion of others. He accused the secularists who met with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of working to marginalize the Islamists and prevent

them from playing a principal role during the coming stage. The interview with Engineer Abd-al-Majid dealt with a number of issues that we present in detail in the following lines:

[Abu-Uf] Many have criticized your sharp tone toward the protestors at Tahrir Square and the prevailing line in your statements of holding others as traitors?

[Abd-al-Majid] I did not brand anyone as a traitor and my sharp tone, as you call it, is due to the dangerous crisis that Egypt is facing as a result of information that has reached me about the existence of a plot by the April 6 movement to move to spread confusion and unrest on the fifty-ninth anniversary of the revolution of July 23, which is what did take place. Prior to that talk started about sit-ins, civil disobedience, closure of the Tahrir Complex, threatening the same fate to the underground metro and jeopardizing traffic in the Suez Canal and imposing a siege on the Ahmad Hamdi tunnel as a first stage. Then the second stage followed by harassment of the Armed Forces and storming their headquarters and the attempts to enter the security department premises in Alexandria and Suez and elsewhere, till we reached the Abbasiya incidents. Therefore silence toward the conspiracy was unacceptable in part and parcel especially as this plot came within a chain aimed at spreading anarchy in Egypt. This is a political, economic and social anarchy whose strings are being pulled by several forces including firstly the tail-ends of the National Democratic Party and the orphans of the former regime, supported in an indirect manner by the secular lobby which spares no effort to tamper with the security and stability of the country in executing its agenda.

[Abu-Uf] This is concerning political anarchy. Who was involved in creating economic and social anarchy?

[Abd-al-Majid] The economic anarchy has the objective of spreading confusion and disturbances, and working forcefully to foil the designs of the government of Isam Sharaf to invigorate the economy and attract investments. The thugs and the tail-ends are playing an important role in this. Entering with them on the crisis line is the April 6 movement which is executing a diabolical plot to spread the atmospheres of confusion and unrest. This plot was brought to light by General Hasan al-Ruwayni, commander of the Central Military Zone, when he described the movement as being non-Egyptian and adopting a foreign agenda to tamper with the security of Egypt. So no one should claim that we are the only ones accusing it.

[Abu-Uf] The accusations leveled at you did not stop at your holding of others to be traitors or even heretics but extended to claims that Al-Jama'a adopts a course of exclusion of others?

[Abd-al-Majid] With respect to takfir [branding others as apostates], I have not declared anyone heretic and I have not uttered that wor d at all. It is not part of my literature and I challenge anyone of the secularist symbols who says that I held him to be a heretic. We have not declared anyone to be heretic and we did not try to exclude anyone, for Al-Jama'a is the faction in Egypt that suffered exclusion and marginalization and faced liquidation and blows to the heart, as happened with former Interior Minister Zaki Badr. Therefore we cannot adopt such a course at all but others are the ones who seek to exclude us and to marginalize us the same way adopted by the criminal Mubarak regime against us over 30 years.

[Abu-Uf] What is the identity of those who want to exclude you?

[Abd-al-Majid] First, it must be stressed that we have been calling for a long time for holding of parliamentary elections within the framework of our respect for democracy and the will of the Egyptian people. We also stressed the necessity of forming a government of national unity with the participation of all the political forces out of our faith that the building of Egypt demands the solidarity of all the national forces, especially since any faction no matter how strong cannot undertake this task alone.

[Abu-Uf] Have you determined the identity of those who wish to exclude you?

[Abd-al-Majid] The secular lobby in Egypt which has intervened with Washington to pressure the Egyptian Supreme Council of the Armed Forces [SCAF] to marginalize the Islamists and to postpone the parliamentary elections. In addition, some of its symbols have met the American State Secretary Hillary Clinton to urge her to intervene with SCAF to prevent the Islamists from playing an important role in Egypt in the post-revolution era. They do not believe in democracy unless it achieves their agenda alone, but if it were an implement for others to reach power, they can go to hell.

[Abu-Uf] But on the other hand, the liberals accuse the Islamist currents of adopting a course that is supportive all along of the line of the military establishment?

[Abd-al-Majid] Who said so? We support the neutral and logical stands that emerge from SCAF as long as they serve to achieve the objectives of the revolution and to uproot the tail-ends of the former regime from their establishments. But during the past days we have announced stern stands opposing a number of SCAF's decisions, including our rejection of the supra-constitutional principles. We also strongly

opposed any trend to postpone the parliamentary elections considering that to be a circumvention of the will of the people and the results of the referendum on the constitutional amendments. Therefore there is no basis of truth to accusations that we are favoring the army, especially since we demand of it every day that it should deal fast with the just demands of the revolution.

[Abu-Uf] But some have interpreted these supportive stands of the soldiers to be a desire to save the necks of more than 15 Al-Jama'a leaders sentenced to death and to secure the release of hundreds of your cadres?

[Abd-al-Majid] This talk flows within the context of a campaign of strong defamation that targets all the Islamists. We place the interests of the homeland in the forefront of our priorities and we do not offer favors to anyone. We move according to what is right without favoritism or courteousness. Our cadres that are present in the jails are people who struggled to topple the dictatorial regime, so it is their right to be released. It is unacceptable in part or parcel that they should remain in jail together with the tail-ends of Mubarak.

[Abu-Uf] Under these conditions, a large number of Egyptians are talking about the likelihood of a clash between the Islamists and the Tahrir protestors?

[Abd-al-Majid] Accusations, claims and attempts at defamation aside, I affirm to you that Al-Jama'a will remain the safety valve and the balancing factor within the Egyptian arena and will never enter into a confrontation w ith anyone even if it be with people who received training in Serbia [accusations made against the Six of April movement] that used to combat the Muslims and to rape their women in Bosnia and Herzegovina. We shall not try to clash with them but will seek to unify the ranks of all Egyptians behind the just principles of the revolution. We shall not raise slogans that divide unity but will seek to affirm the necessity of changing these demands while safeguarding the basic slogans "the revolution first, the elections first, stability first" and stressing the identity of Egypt and noninfringement on Article 2 of the constitution.

[Abu-Uf] But the last demand [on Article 2] appears non-conciliatory and has no consensus from all the hues of the political spectrum?

[Abd-al-Majid] Egypt's Islamic identity is considered a red line that must not be approached or infringed upon under any circumstances. This should not annoy anyone as long as the majority has supported that and will support it through a democratic, free poll that all should abide by and there should be no exercising of the dictatorship of the

minority considering that that does not serve the interests of Egypt but drags it to a dark tunnel.

[Abu-Uf] But your statements and their tone in attacking the protestors has not gained the support of several factions of Islamists. There are reports circulating that the Islamic factions have apologized for your statements?

[Abd-al-Majid] No one has apologized for my statements and I defy anyone to produce a statement issued from Al-Jama'a apologizing for what I raised. What happened was mere clarification and placing the statements in their correct context, away from any distortion especially as the distortion campaign of these statement is what prompted some of the Islamists to have reservations about them even though they had not seen them but only heard about them.

[Abu-Uf] I see you are insisting on the same course despite its dangers for the unity of ranks?

[Abd-al-Majid] We are not the ones who tamper with the security and stability of Egypt but the secular and liberal clique with its calls to circumvent the people's choice and to postpone the elections. They are the ones leading the country to the dark tunnel. I reveal no secret when I affirm that these atmospheres, if they continue, will expose Egypt to a military coup by some of those who fear for the security and stability of the country and are desirous of putting an end to the atmospheres of disturbances and confusion.

[Abu-Uf] In light of the state of uncertainty that shrouds the conditions in Egypt, how do you assess the danger of what is happening?

[Abd-al-Majid] It is regrettable that there are different currents within Egypt trying to hijack the revolution and to work on spreading atmospheres of disturbances and enter into confrontation with SCAF, especially since it is the strong force that is defending Egypt and its revolution. These currents consider dismantling the State institutions as the most important means of spreading creative anarchy.

[Abu-Uf] But it seems that there is foreign interference pushing in the direction of this confusion?

[Abd-al-Majid] I expose no secret when I openly accuse Washington of supporting this anarchy and extending hundreds of millions of dollars to impose a specific scenario in Egypt by which the liberal and secular current controls power in quest of mortgaging the Egyptian sovereign decision to the desire of Washington and Tel Aviv to guarantee continuation of the same course that the criminal Mubarak regime was pursuing with the Americans and the Zionists. Therefore the Islamists will not stand silent toward that scenario and will sacrifice whatever they hold most precious along with their lives for the sake of safeguarding the sovereignty of Egypt and the deterrence of any attempts to make it spin again in the American orbit.

[Description of Source: Cairo Al-Dustur in Arabic -- Independent daily opposed to the regime and specifically the Mubarak family.]

Egypt: Senior Islamists on Closing-Ranks Friday Demonstrations

GMP20110731001012 London Al-Hayah Online in Arabic 31 Jul 11

[Report by Ahmad Rahim, from Cairo: "The Islamists Reassure the Liberals After the 'Closing the Ranks' Friday"]

Hundreds of demonstrators continued yesterday their sit-in in AlTahrir Square in the heart of Cairo after the "closing-the-ranks" Friday on which the Islamists imposed their control through masses that exceeded hundreds of thousands, and raised slogans that completely opposed the tendencies of the liberals, who had continued their sit-in in the square for three weeks.

At the same time, Justice Al-Sayyid Abd-al-Aziz Umar, chairman of Cairo Court of Appeal, has announced that it is decided conclusively that the trial of former President Husni Mubarak, his two sons Jamal and Ala, the businessman on the run Husayn Salim, former Interior Minister Habib al-Adili, and six of his senior aides, which is scheduled for 3 August, will be held in the headquarters of the Police Academy in Al-Qahirah al-Jadidah suburb rather than the previously selected headquarters of the Public Authority for Investments and Free Zones in the Exhibitions Center in Nasr City.

Yesterday it was noticed that the numbers of those continuing with the sit-in Al-Tahrir Square were small, and that dozens of the tents, which were erected in the square along the past three weeks, were dismantled; also the popular committees eased the procedures of searching the passersby and ascertaining the identities of those who wanted to enter the square. It seemed that those staging the sit-in were moving toward ending their action, an issue that was discussed by the political powers calling for the sit-in in a meeting that was held yesterday.

Sources of these coalitions told Al-Hayah before convening the meeting: "The prevailing tendency now is to lift the sit-in because of the beginning of the month of Ramadan, and the difficulty of continuing the sit-in in the light of the high temperature." It was reported that the decision to end the sit-in would depend on the result of a meeting between the political powers and the families of the martyrs, who conferred yesterday with Deputy Prime Minister Dr Ali al-Salmi, and Minister of Health and Population Dr Amr Hilmi with the attendance of a number of the revolution youths, those staging the sit-in in Al-Tahrir square, and those on hunger strike.

Muhammad Adil, general coordinator of 6 April Movement, has told AlHayah that the behavior of the Islamists on "closing-the-ranks" Friday has intensified the atmosphere of mistrust among the various sides. Adil considers that what took place at the demonstrations was "betrayal of previous agreements." He rejects the claim that the mobilization of the Islamists is proof that they are a considerable bloc in Egypt, and he considers that "the Islamists mobilize their organized members, while the youths' movements mobilize the forces of the people."

The square witnessed on Friday evening a major attack against the Islamists after they departed from it following the end of their demonstrations. A number of youths condemned the control of the Islamists over all the rostrums of the square in the morning, also their brandishing of "contentious" slogans; the youths staged a demonstration that toured the entire square raising the slogan "Civil [State]; Civil."

The Popular Committee for the Egyptian Constitution has warned against the dangers of the religious tendency resorting to a show of force to silence the powers demanding a new constitution for the country, or controlling constitutional articles and rules to regulate the selection of those drafting the constitution in order to guarantee that no faction will monopolize the decision of Egypt's future, or that the freedoms and foundations for the building of the democratic civil state of law and citizenship will not be squandered.

The committee has issued a statement in which it considers that the control of the Islamist groups over Al-Tahrir Square in closing-theranks Friday by means of their slogans and their incitements against the civil state and the powers opposing them "is a confirmation of their desire to marginalize the rest of the sons of the country, a nd the beginning of their turning against the democracy that allowed them to exist and operate in the political street legitimately." The committee calls on the Supreme Council of the Egyptian Armed Forces to shoulder its responsibility and stop the threat to the civil state as the council pledged - and to rein in the extremist ideas.

Muslim Brotherhood Deputy Guide Dr Rashad Bayyumi replies to this by stressing the Muslim Brotherhood Group has been keen not to brandish any slogan that might arouse any sensitivities to the liberals. Bayyumi says: "We have to distinguish between the principal rostrum and the individual groups. The principal rostrum did not brandish any contentious slogans." Bayyumi adds: "There are several schools of Salafis. The principal group that was on the principal rostrum adhered to this; however, some of the people raised Islamist slogans, and I consider this to be some kind of openness after the severe oppression to which the Salafis were exposed, as they have suffered severe harm during the era of the previous regime."

Bayyumi explains that Islam "does not include a religious state that the secular should fear. We do not have Velayat-e Faqih. The religious state does not have any base in Islam."

With regard to raising the slogan "The People Want to Implement the Shari'ah," Bayyumi says: "No one should argue about the issue of the Shari'ah, because the Shari'ah protects the Muslims and the nonMuslims. The people who benefit most from implementing the Shari'ah are the Copts. As for those who call themselves seculars, they do not know at all what Shari'ah is or what Islam is; they talk about the Shari'ah punishments, while they do not know that these are the last thing to be implemented in Islam, and are subject to extremely strict conditions. They are extremely hostile to Islam without any justification."

Dr Najih Ibrahim, member of the Islamic Group Shura Council, has said to Al-Hayah: "Mobilizing the Islamists on closing-the-ranks Friday was a reaction, and not an action. It was a reaction to the provocations committed by the Al-Tahrir youths, such as closing the Al-Tahrir complex [Building that includes several government departments] and the main roads, and demanding the appointment of a prime minister they nominate on their own without any consultations. Moreover, they dragged us into the maelstrom of 'the constitution first,' then 'the presidential council,' and finally that attack on the military institution, the attempt to trigger a clash with the army in its barracks, and the provocation of the Supreme Military Council of the Egyptian Armed Forces and calling for its downfall. All these practices are attempts to hijack the revolution." Ibrahim adds: "We

wanted to convey a message to them, namely that there is a silent bloc that has opinions that are different from yours, a bloc that does not want clashes between the revolution and the army, does not want your presidential council, does not want your controlling articles, and that will not allow the revolution to be hijacked."

Ibrahim stresses that the principal rostrums in Al-Tahrir Square adhered to the agreement not to raise contentious slogans.

Dr Abd-al-Mun'im al-Shahhat, spokesman of the Salafi Trend, has told Al-Hayah: "The closing-the-ranks Friday wanted to convey a message saying that the Islamists, who want the Shari'ah rule, demand the restoration of the people's right; we do not demand a personal right, but we demand the people's right to self-determination. If there were 5,000 people who took to the street saying the constitution first, and a larger number took to the street the day before yesterday to say yes to the people's will, we demand the restoration of the democratic course to its natural path, and the arbitration of the people through the polling box."

Al-Shahhat points out that the Salafi call demands the implementation of Shari'ah before and after the referendum. He stresses that the Salafi call "has never been a party to any agreement with any side about the slogans raised on the closing-the-ranks Friday. We have told the sides that prepared the consensus statements that we have demands that are not stipulated in these statements that are devoid of any prohibitions."

Al-Shahhat adds: "I say that the liberal trend with all its symbols does not oppose the implementation of the Islamic Shari'ah, and the preservation of Article 2 of the Constitution. As for the forces that say that they withdrew from the square, we did not feel their withdrawal, because they did not leave any vacuum; these forces received us in the Square with slander and hostile chanting."

[Description of Source: London Al-Hayah Online in Arabic -- Website of influential Saudi-owned London pan-Arab daily. URL: http://www.daralhayat.com]

Egypt: Authorities Release All Islamic Group Detainees Not Under Death Sentence

GMP20110809825001 London Al-Hayah Online in Arabic 09 Aug 11

[Article by Ahmad Rahim: "Egypt: Release of All Islamic Group Detainees Except Those Sentenced to Death"]

Najih Ibrahim, a leader of the Islamic Group in Egypt and a member of its Shura Council, said: "The authorities have released all of the group's detainees in prison, except those sentenced to death and one prisoner named Abu-al-Ala, who is under a 50-year prison sentence ."

Ibrahim stated that a few days ago the authorities had released forty persons under sentence from the Islamic Group, Al-Jihad , Al-Wa'd , and other Islamic movements, noting that among those released were 23 members of the Islamic Group.

He added: "All members of the Islamic group sentenced to prison have been released, except the brothers under death sentence."

Ibrahim noted that twelve members of the Islamic Group have been sentenced to death and that the group wishes to resolve their cases.

Islamic sources have told Al-Hayat that "the latest group released includes elements from Egyptian Hizballah and from Al-Wa'd and suspects in the case of The Returnees From Afghanistan." The sources noted that among those released was Ahmad al-Sayyid, who in 1992 was charged with plotting the attempted assassination of the now dissolved National Democratic Party's former secretary general Safwat al-Sharif, currently in prison. Some of the members of the cell that plotted the attempt were executed. Also released were Hasan Muhammad al-Sayyid and Abd-al-Salam Shawqi Abd-al-Salam, charged in the same case.

The sources indicated that a number of leaders and members of Egyptian Hizballah, which came into being in the seventies in Alexandria, but disappeared from sight in the eighties, were also released.

The sources stated that among the party members released -- the party espouses takfiri ideas -- were Sayyid Muhammad Muhammad Ibrahim and Qasim Ibrahim Qasim. They added that also released were detainees in the 2000 Al-Wa'd case, including the Chechnyan Umar Hujayev Mahdi and

Majdi Hasan Idris. The releases also included important leaders in the Egyptian Al-Jihad Movement, including Ahmad Husayn Ajizah, one of AlJihad's most import leaders ; Tamir Abd-al-Salam Fahmi; Yusuf alJundi, one of the leaders of Al-Jihad in Afghanistan; Tariq Isma'il; and Jamal Shuhdi Abd-al-Wakil. The sources noted the release of Sha'ban Rajab, charged in the 1992 case of The Returnees From Afghanistan, the most important detainee among the members of the Islamic Group after those under death sentence, as well as Khalid Ahmad Amin, a leader in the group. Also released was Abdallah Husayn Abu-al-Ala, who was charged in the case of the takfiri organization Those Saved From the Fire (Al-Najun Min al-Nar).

Regarding the members of the Islamic Group under death sentence, Dr Najih Ibrahim said: "Their situation has not been settled yet. They have not been released, but the death sentence has not been carried out."

Meanwhile, Al-Hayat has learned that the wife of the Islamic Group leader Shaykh Tal'at Fu'ad visited Egypt a few days ago from Denmark and returned there without any security difficulties. In past years, family members of jihadist leaders were not allowed to visit the country without security approvals.

Tal'at Fu'ad was one of the most prominent members of the Islamic Group's Shura Council at the time of its alliance with the Al-Jihad Group. He played a prominent role in persuading Dr Umar Abd-al-Rahman to lead the group. Charged in the major Al-Jihad case, he spent seven years in prison. He traveled to Afghanistan and founded the magazine Al-Murabitun.

He obtained political asylum in Denmark and took over the job of media promotion for the Islamic Group. He was kidnapped in September 1995 during his presence in Croatia, and his fate remains unknown.

[Description of Source: London Al-Hayah Online in Arabic -- Website of influential Saudi-owned London pan-Arab daily. URL: http://www.daralhayat.com]

Egyptian Islamist Hardliner Yasir Al-Sirri on Inadmissibility of Violence, US

GMP20110516001007 London Al-Hayah Online in Arabic 15 May 11

[Interview with Egyptian Islamist Yasir al-Sirri, director of the London-based Islamic Observation Center, by Kamil al-Tawil, from Cairo: "Yasir Al-Sirri to Al-Hayah: After the Revolution It Is No Longer Admissible to Establish Armed Cells that Use Violence in Egypt"]

An Egyptian Islamist leader, who has been living in exile in Britain since the beginning of the nineties, has revealed that he is preparing to return to his country. Islamic Observation Center Director Yasir al-Sirri says that he indeed has contacted the Egyptian Embassy in London, which told him that it received the approval to give him "travel documents for one journey to return" to Egypt.

Al-Sirri expresses his extreme happiness with the fall of President Husni Mubarak's regime, which exerted severe pressure on London in the nineties to extradite him on charges of involvement in terrorism and belonging to Al-Jihad Organization. Al-Sirri fled to Britain asking for asylum after he was sentenced to death in Egypt in 1994 on charges of involvement in an attempt to assassinate former Prime Minister Atif Sidqi. Al-Sirri rejects the Egyptian charges, and says that they were issued by military courts.

Al-Sirri says in an interview with Al-Hayah that now it is no longer admissible to undertake secret or armed action or to establish sleeper cells, or cells that use violence. However, he criticizes the "revisions" undertaken by Egyptian Islamist groups, and considers them "retreats."

Al-Sirri warns that the United States will pay the price for its killing of Al-Qa'ida Leader Usama Bin Ladin, and throwing his corpse in the sea.

The following is the text of the interview:

[Al-Tawil] What was your feeling when you heard Umar Sulayman announcing that President Husni Mubarak has stepped down?

[Al-Sirri] Overwhelming joy. I prostrated myself before God in gratitude. After that I was unable to follow up any news, because of the large number of telephone calls conveying congratulations for the event. It is a real joy to live the joy of the victory of the Egyptian people over injustice and corruption. The tone of voice of the people in Egypt has changed after their voices were no longer suppressed.

[Al-Tawil] Do you long now to return to your country after this long estrangement in exile? Have you taken any steps to facilitate this return, if you actually have decided to return?

[Al-Sirri] I long and aspire to return to beloved Egypt as soon as possible, because living away from God-protected Egypt is not a life. I need to return to my country, and my country needs me. My country has not wronged me, but I was wronged by the previous regime that has departed never to return. I have met the Egyptian consul in London, and I was surprised by a very warm welcome, which indicates the true mettle of the Egyptians, that the previous regime was the cause of the crisis, and that Egypt is still well. Therefore, we, as a people, ought to stand in solidarity and cooperate with all the state institution, be they Armed Forces, Interior Ministry, or Foreign Ministry institutions. We are of the same fabric, and it is inevitable that we stand together for the sake of the good of Egypt, and its return to be the leader and vanguard.

I was told by the Egyptian Consulate that a cable from Egypt said that there is no objection to giving me travel documents for one journey to return to Egypt, but not a passport. I thank them anyway.

[Al-Tawil] Do you now agree with the opinion that the popular revolution has proved the error of the jihadis - or some of them - who were arguing strongly that only armed force can topple the regimes you describe as apostate?

[Al-Sirri] I always have insisted out of conviction that the random operations are not beneficial. In fact the random operations distort the image of the Islamic action, and hinder the process of change. I have been calling for educating the people and making them aware in order to stage a popular revolution, or for instigating the Egyptian Armed Forces to change the regime. Previously, I have addressed several appeals to the Egyptian Army about this issue. We ought to work to promote the tolerant teachings of Islam, to get the people out of worshiping human beings to worshiping the Lord of All Creation, and to promote the principles of justice, freedom, and equality among the people.

The beloved Egypt needs the arms of its sons for construction and development; anyone who does not believe in this has no place among

us, and ought to look for another planet. Egypt, God willing, and by virtue of the solidarity of our efforts does not need the US aid, nor the international aid that encroaches upon sovereignty. Let construction, development, and freedom be the motto of the stage.

[Al-Tawil] Do you see any justification for the jihadis to continue the armed action after the Egyptian authorities have responded to most of the demands of the people, particularly opening the door to free pluralistic democratic elections?

[Al-Sirri] After the revolution, all the justifications for the existence of secret organizations in beloved Egypt have ended. Every Egyptian ought to perform the duty of development jihad, and Islamic call jihad through wisdom and good example, because Egypt needs the solidarity of the efforts of all in order to rehabilitate it, advance it, and provide the means of dignified living for all the sons of the Egyptian people so that Egypt restores its status, and its leadership of the nation.

All the sons of the nation, individuals and group, ought to unite in order to make Egypt progress, restore the society to the orthodox path, and combat ignorance, poverty, and disease, because now is the time for work, and there is no scope for secret or armed action.

Perhaps it is useful to point out that the revolution in Egypt is not a revolution in the sense of comprehensive change, but it is a popular uprising, because the revolution has not been completed; the proof is that some of faces of the old regime still are there, the military courts for the civilians have not been abolished, the political prisoners still are in prison, and the same state security officers still are there, but under another name. There ought to have been an immediate operation to arrest all the members of the state security apparatus, and to put them all on trial, all of them from all ranks from the commander of the apparatus to the most junior informer, on charges of high treason. Any talk about rehabilitating them is tantamount to a patch up process; Egypt does not need patching up, but it needs the uprooting of evil, and replacing it by the good through purging and rebuilding on correct foundation for the sake of freedom, dignity, and justice.

[Al-Tawil] There are people who are afraid that the fall of the Egyptian regime - and other regimes in the Arab world - might open the door for the hard-line Islamists to exploit the situation, and try to rebuild jihadi cells that use violence. Do you think that such fears have any justification?

[Al-Sirri] The Islamists should not be used as a scarecrow to instill fear, and there are no justifications whatsoever for these fears. Let

the United States together with its allies know that it is supporting the dictatorial regimes against the peoples. The Islamists should not be used to instill fear in God-protected Egypt, because the Islamists are the fortress of security for Egypt and the Egyptians. Also there is no scope at all for sleeper cells or cells that use violence. There is no justification for this, and we will be the first to stand against this if it happens.

In fact, currently no one uses this scarecrow in Egypt except a few of the left-wing political minorities or sectarian minorities, which are afraid for their personal interests, and do not consider the public interests. All ought to assimilate the spirit of the revolution, the principles of not excluding the other, and work for establishing understanding, harmony, and cooperation for Egypt's sake.

[Al-Tawil] In the past years, jihadists have undertaken revisions according to which they abandoned the use of violence to topple the regimes. What is your stance toward these revisions, especially the Islamic Group revisions, and Dr Fadl's revisions? Do you consider that those who undertook these revisions were wrong or right in the sense that their reconciliation with Mubarak's regime might harm them after that regime collapsed?

[Al-Sirri] To begin with, I am not a member of the Islamic Group, and I have not pledged allegiance to any organization in Egypt, This is the truth that not many people know, all the claims to the contrary of this are lies by the toppled regime of Mubarak, which were supported by US-British stupidity and arrogance. Personally I call these retreats and not revisions. If you do not have the ability, it is no shame to stop, step down, or resign, and leave the field for the youths from the group to carry the banner, rather than turning against the intellectual and ideological constants. I believe that these leaders have made a mistake, and if they continue and persevere with this after they get out of prison, they have already fallen with the fall of Mubarak and his regime.

As for Dr Fadl, as far as I know these have been his convictions even before he went to prison. This is written in the book "Al-Jami fi Talab al-Ilm al-Sharif."

[Al-Tawil] Have you ever imagined that at any time Mubarak personally together with most of the pillars of his regime would stand before the courts on charges of corruption?

[Al-Sirri] "Think not that Allah doth not heed the deeds of those who do wrong. He but giveth them respite against a Day when the eyes will fixedly stare in horror [Sura Ibarhim, Verse 42]." It is God's power,

He saith to it: 'Be' and it is [Sura Al-Baqarah, from Verse 117]." What happened is a lesson and an example.

[Al-Tawil] Also I would like to ask you about what is taking place in Libya: Do you support the revolutionaries' seeking the help of NATO to topple the regime of Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi? What is your stance toward what currently is taking place?

[Al-Sirri] I reject the interference of NATO in Libya or in any other country. There is no scope for occupation or for hirelings. It is better that the Libyan people would change the Al-Qadhafi regime by themselves, and to draw up their future by themselves. The west does not want to protect the Libyan people and help them to topple AlQadhafi and his devils, but the west wants first of all to destroy the abilities of Libya, and hence to topple Al-Qadhafi, in order to benefit from the project to reconstruct Libya, and to rebuild its military capabilities with what these projects will bring of contracts for tens of billions of dollars for the western companies. My stance is that the other peoples, especially the neighboring countries ought to support and consolidate the Libyan popular revolution with all possible means.

[Al-Tawil] What was your feeling when you first heard of the success of the United States in killing Usama Bin Ladin? What do you expect to happen now after his departure?

[Al-Sirri] It is enough honor and pride for Bin Ladin that he was killed in a confrontation, and not running away, he was not arrested, and he won the best of the two best things [the two best things are winning and martyrdom, and the best of the two is martyrdom]. The United States will pay the price for its reckless behavior in the way of burying Shaykh Usama, God have mercy on his soul. The United States should not blame anyone other than itself when the people deal with it in the same way. The way of burial was according to the US jungle law and not according to Shari'ah as the United States claims.

[Al-Tawil] There are fears that the disputes that take place every now-and-then between Muslims and Copts might develop into sectarian strife in Egypt. What is your opinion of the confrontations that currently are taking place?

[Al-Sirri] Law has to be applied to anyone who carries arms, or tries to attack a church or a mosque. Also anyone who detains a citizen in a house of worship - whether Islamic or Christian - has to be confronted firmly, and law should be applied to him. The houses of worship should not be turned into depot for weapons. This is the only way to bury the sectarian sedition, and to prevent the slipping into a dark tunnel.

Islamic Shari'ah preserves the right of Copts. The Copts have lived under the Muslims in security and safety they never enjoyed before Islam entered Egypt. There ought to be no fear of Islam, which protects the rights of non-Muslims. The Copts will not enjoy security under the protection of the United States or the west. The protection of the Copts is the duty of the Muslims, which is one of the rights according to Shari'ah. The rights stipulated by Islam are not mere ink on paper, but they are sacred rights stipulated by God's Shari'ah, and no one can rescind them. Ka'b Bin-Malik al-Ansari said: I heard the Prophet, God's prayer and peace be upon him, say, "If you conquer Egypt, be good to the Copts, they are linked by blood and birth." Here, the Prophet grants the Copts more rights than others. They have the covenant of God, the covenant of the Prophet, and the covenant of the collective Muslims, and it is a covenant that is worthy of observation and protection. They are linked by blood and birth more than others, because one of them was Hajar [Abraham's slave], mother of Isma'il, father of the Arabs.

[Description of Source: London Al-Hayah Online in Arabic -- Website of influential Saudi-owned London pan-Arab daily. URL: http://www.daralhayat.com]

Abd-al-Rahman al-Rashid 'Unlikely' War Will Break Out Between Egypt, Israel

GMP20110516825007 London Al-Sharq al-Awsat Online in Arabic 16 May 11

[Commentary by Abd-al-Rahman al-Rashid: "Egypt, Israel and the Prospects of War"]

Two days ago the Egyptian armed forces stopped demonstrators demanding the liberation of Jerusalem and trying to cross the Sinai desert from continuing their advance to the border with Israel and Egyptian security forces prevented demonstrators from advancing toward the Israeli Embassy in Cairo. Despite the failure of the demonstrators, we witnessed the first test of new Egypt's foreign policy toward Israel. The Syrian authorities, on the other hand, opened the Golan to demonstrators against the Israeli occupation in the hope of winning over Syrian and Arab public opinion, The Egyptian leadership, however, ignored public opinion. Perhaps it is worried that the price would be

higher than political propaganda. We should keep in mind that Egypt had made many concessions, such as the detention of former President Mubarak, his two sons, his spouse, and senior members of his regime. However, the unsuccessful attempts will not put an end to the demands of some Egyptians who wish to repeal all the agreements that the Mubarak and Al-Sadat regimes signed with Israel over the past four decades. Popular pressure on the government and the military council will increase to make more concessions. Otherwise, the people will descend on the Al-Tahrir Square to change the regime once again.

Can the current temporary Egyptian leadership or the future one repeal the Camp David Accords and risk war with Israel? Legally, Egypt cannot do so unless it decides to fight militarily to hold on to the gains of the agreement without its obligations. If Israel remained silent at the closure of its embassy in Cairo, it will not allow the advance of Egyptian troops to the Sinai and that will inevitably lead to war between the two countries. I do not envision this to happen even if an Islamic group, such as the Muslim Brotherhood, wins the presidency and the majority of the parliament seats. I mean that it is unlikely that any future leadership in Egypt, regardless of its color and slogans, would be prepared to wage war on Israel. For another 10 years, Egypt's economy would not be strong enough to bear the cost of an open-ended military front. In the past, the world was divided into two camps and Egypt was the most prominent ally of the Soviet Union that was ready to finance any confrontation against the enemy camp. Egypt's domestic economic burdens were also lighter in the early 1970s when the population of Egypt was half what it is at present. Successive Mubarak governments failed to rein in the population explosion lest they anger the street, and so the population grew. It has become the biggest danger threatening the country's national security.

There are no prospects for war between Cairo and Tel Aviv unless a new situation generated by the new revolutionary conditions arises, such as if the elections divide the Egyptian street acutely and turn the opposition into a key player that would drive the ruling regime to adopt popular decisions at the expense of the supreme interests. It is certain that the pressures and propaganda against the Camp David Accords will continue. However, the Egyptian opposition is aware that it will not able to persuade its people to open a front with Israel at a time when the Palestinians, the rightful owners of the issue, have closed the fronts with Israel. This is particularly true since the balance of forces is not in Egypt's favor.

[Description of Source: London Al-Sharq al-Awsat Online in Arabic -Website of influential London-based pan-Arab Saudi daily; editorial line reflects Saudi official stance. URL: http://www.asharqalawsat.com/]

One on one with Salafi leader Abdel Moneim Al-Shahat (Part 1)

GMP20110519966053 Cairo Daily News Egypt Online in English 0845 GMT 19 May 11

[Collected by webscraper and Auto selected and released without editorial intervention.] PAGE: http://www.thedailynewsegypt.com/index.php?option=com_content&vi ew=article&id=129877&catid=1&Itemid=183

TITLE: One on one with Salafi leader Abdel Moneim Al-Shahat (Part 1) SECTION: Society AUTHOR: Tamim Elyan / Daily News Egypt PUBDATE:

(DAILY NEWS EGYPT) -

ALEXANDRIA: Following the January 25 Revolution, Salafi groups became the subject of social and political debates as some accused them of taking advantage of the newfound freedom to voice their aspirations for a religious state.

They are often accused of inciting sectarian tension and their increased activity stirred controversy especially among liberal political streams.

Abdel Moneim Al-Shahat, a prominent Salafi scholar and the spokesperson for the Salafi movement in Egypt, sat with Daily News Egypt to explain the movement's vision of its political and social role after the revolution and its views on a number of controversial issues.

DNE: How were Salafis treated by the ousted regime? And how was State Security involved in cracking down on the Salafi movement?

Al-Shahat: Egyptian security put a plan for every Islamic group; for Salafis, a group that is based on preaching and education, we were subject to regular and intermittent crackdowns. Every Salafi was subject to a surprise visit to State Security more than once every year just for growing his beard.

Those who were active members were subject to detention for weeks and sometimes years, while those who were involved in activities, no matter how peaceful they are, that State Security was unfamiliar with were subject to torture until all the information is gathered.

What is the difference between Salafis and other Islamic movements?

Salafi ideology is built on reforming society from its base by educating its members on faith and then integrating them in activities serving the society. We had differences with other Islamic movements since our establishment in the 1970s because we are strict in our commitment to pure practice.

We opposed the Takfeer Wa Al-Hijra [an extremist religious group] because they swerved from the authentic beliefs because they adopted changing the wrong by force ... we are different from the Muslim Brotherhood in our views of the legitimacy of political participation.

Salafi movement stayed away from politics since their establishment and even refused to participate at demonstrations but now they are reconsidering the issue, what changed after the January 25 Revolution?

We considered that political participation within the old political scene involves validating an invalid situation and compromising; we want to apply complete Islamic ideologies although we would be satisfied with any positive developments in this matter not necessarily complete application.

We accepted participation in student unions and syndicate elections but we gave it up in favor of the MB for their political experience. However, we refused to participate in legislative elections because we refused to join a council that gives itself the right to issue legislations not based on Islamic Sharia, we would not compromise and we saw it ineffective.

We also saw that demonstrations are useless; they are either too peaceful or too confrontational and in both cases they lead to no results and sometimes un-Islamic slogans were imposed on us.

During the revolution, we found that the situation has changed after a large number of youth from different streams came together in peaceful demonstrations which didn't adopt any slogans at all.

Now there is a great motivation for political participation since it is a phase of drafting a new constitution and there is a stream that wants it a liberal constitution while we want it a constitution that preserves the Islamic identity of the country.

We saw that all the reasons for refusing to participate are now nonexistent, since parliament cannot issue legislations that contradict with Islamic Sharia according to the second article of the constitution. There is also a certain level of freedom in the media that [encouraged our participation] although we were attacked severely … so we decided to participate in the political life but will keep the preaching nature of the movement.

Will you form political parties?

We expect those who carry the Salafi ideology with a political vision but aren't involved in preaching activities to launch a political party or more and we will support them within our support to the Islamic stream in general whether the MB or independent candidates who adopt the Islamic ideology.

Al-Noor Party, whose founder is Emad Abdel Ghafour, a former member of the Salafi movement, is the closest to this vision.

Will you field candidates in the legislative elections?

We want to distance ourselves from managing the political process but we will give our members the freedom to support the best candidate.

What about the presidential elections?

We put three criteria that we require in the next president; to be a supporter of the idea of preserving the Islamic identity of the country, competency and fairness. All candidates now are possible candidates, we will wait until the candidacy door is closed and will

decide whether to support a certain candidate or leave it up to the group members to decide who they will vote for based on our criteria.

[Description of Source: Cairo Daily News Egypt Online in English -Independent, privately owned newspaper providing news and analysis, Egypt's only independent English-language daily. The paper is distributed in Egypt with the International Herald Tribune (IHT); URL: http://www.thedailynewsegypt.com/]

US-Jailed Egyptian Cleric•s Family Asks Authorities To Intervene for His Release

GMP20110603825006 London Al-Sharq al-Awsat Online in Arabic 03 Jun 11

[Report from Cairo by Muhammad Abd-al-Ra•uf: •The Family of Umar Abdal-Rahman Asks the Egyptian Prime Minister to Intervene for His Release•]

The family of Shaykh Umar Abd-al-Rahman, spiritual father of the Islamic Group, held a protest outside the headquarters of the Council of Ministers in central Cairo yesterday, calling for the Egyptian authorities' intervention to secure the release of the blind shaykh who has been serving a life sentence in US jails since 1993 after he was convicted in the case of the bombing of the World Trade Center in New York in 1993.

Dr Abdallah, son of Umar Abd-al-Rahman, told Al-Sharq al-Awsat: "An official at the US Embassy told me that the Egyptian Government has not sent any request to Washington for the release of the shaykh. When we asked for an explanation from the public prosecution office, we learned that no official request has been made to date."

He added: "Therefore, we decided to organize a protest outside the headquarters of the Council of Ministers to call on Dr Isam Sharaf, the prime minister, to intervene to secure the release of the shaykh."

Dr Abdallah said: "We met with an official at the prime ministry yesterday and handed him a memorandum asking the Egyptian Government to intervene with the US Administration for the release of my father."

He noted that the family of the shaykh previously met with officials of the (ruling) Supreme Council of the Armed Forces in Egypt and submitted to them an application for the release of the shaykh. He added that they also met with US Embassy officials in Cairo for the same purpose and that the grand Imam Dr Ahmad al-Tayyib, rector of AlAzhar, launched an initiative for the release of Umar Abd-al-Rahman.

Abdallah Umar Abd-al-Rahman said that these moves helped resume the monthly telephone calls that his father places to his family after these calls stopped for 45 days after the "25 January revolution." He added that these calls are now made every 15 days.

He said the shaykh has been in hunger strike for three days now and refused to take medicine to show support for his family's protests in Egypt and to express his rejection of the US Administration's harsh practices against him, including keeping him in solitary confinement for 18 years and leaving him to wash his clothes by himself, even though he is crippled and uses a wheelchair.

Abd-al-Rahman is currently serving a life sentence in the Colorado Prison in North Carolina after he was convicted of involvement in the 1993 New York bombings. The Egyptian judiciary acquitted him of the charge of involvement in the assassination of Al-Sadat in 1981 after holding him in custody for three years at the time. From his prison, he announced his support for the Islamic Group's initiative to halt violence in Egypt in 1997.

[Description of Source: London Al-Sharq al-Awsat Online in Arabic -Website of influential London-based pan-Arab Saudi daily; editorial line reflects Saudi official stance. URL: http://www.asharqalawsat.com/]

Egypt: Islamic Group To Implement 'New Look,' Plan Enter Twitter, Facebook

GMP20110606013002 Cairo Nahdat Misr in Arabic 06 Jun 11 p 1

[Report by Taha al-Isawi: "Leading Figure Reveals to Nahdat Misr the Group's 'New Look' and Future Plan of Movement. The Group To Penetrate Universities without Jalabiyahs and Beards. The Instructions: 'Go out of Mosques and Wear Modern Clothes. Exploit the Internet and Beware of the Fangs of the Liberals'"]

In an attempt exploit the fluid state the Egyptian society suffers after the revolution, the leaders of Al-Jama'ah al-Islamiyah [Islamic Group] have approved a plan to give a "new look" to the group's members. This relies on abandoning the jalabiyah [traditional flowing Arab robe worn by Salafis] and the beards, wearing modern clothes, coming out with their da'wah [advocacy] from mosques to cafes, universities, schools, and public places and penetrating social networking sites.

A leading figure who requested anonymity said the group's leaders have asked members to set up personal accounts on the Facebook and Twitter and to post promotional films about the group's leaders on the YouTube.

The source said the group's leaders asked the members to "move freely everywhere" with their advocacy in all places, as they put it, taking advantage of the unstable conditions society suffers from since the revolution. They were urged to use easy-to-understand programs and simplified books that are devoid of extremism.

They were warned against following the approach of some hard-line Salafis. The leaders proposed that an institute be set up to groom the group's leaders on the pattern of some other Islamic movements so that the advocates would be well-versed in the approach to advocacy and means of conveying it and dealing with others.

The source said the leaders asked the group's youths in universities to evolve and imitate the youths of the Muslim Brotherhood by distributing booklets and gifts to the students and providing services to them through the setting up of small libraries inside universities. They were asked to organize seminars to which they would invite the group's leaders and other Islamists and politicians in general in order to attract the largest number of students. Universities were identified the as the principal bulwark and the real beginning, with

emphasis placed on targeting the best and most excellent students and winning their favor.

"Our leaders stressed that the group's members should not participate in any sectarian incidents and should not intervene in them at all no matter what happens, even if some of the sides are right," he said. "There are quarters lurking for us and waiting to exploit any stands, especially the sectarian sedition incidents which will ruin the future of the group if they slip into them and will hit them fatally as they have hit the Salafis. Even though the State does not have strong fangs now, the fangs of the liberal, secular, and Communist forces are sharper and more devastating than the State's fangs despite the tools, influence, foreign relations, and media outlets it has."

The source said the group's leaders warned against activities undertaken clandestinely or in any way that raises suspicions. Members were urged to stick to public and peaceful methods.

[Description of Source: Cairo Nahdat Misr in Arabic -- Independent pro-reform daily newspaper with an editorial line moderately critical of the government; focuses on domestic affairs.]

Report on Views, Ambitions of Egypt's First Salafi Political Party 'Al-Nur'

GMP20110616007002 Cairo Al-Wafd in Arabic 16 Jun 11 p 4

[Article by Husam al-Suwayfi: "Al-Nur Party: Coming Out of the Underground, Salafis Say Goodbye to Secret Activity"]

Last Sunday's approval by the Committee on Party Affairs of the founding of the Salafi Al-Nur Party was nothing other than an announcement from the party's founders and leaders of an intellectual revolution against the ideas of the Salafi call, which had followed a

path of secrecy since the foundation of the Salafi preaching school in Alexandria early in the seventies of the last century. For the space of four decades, the school had forbidden participation in political or party activity or rebelling against the ruler even if he were unjust. What happened at the beginning of the January 25 revolution -the Salafi call's lack of participation in it -- only confirmed the method of the movement, which supported any ruling regime that came to power in Egypt.

The emergence of the Salafis from underground, their farewell to the secrecy that they practiced for a period of 40 years, and their founding of the Salafi Al-Nur Party, which the Committee on Party Affairs has approved have given the impression in the mind of many who follow the Salafi movement that the well-known Machiavellian principle of the end's justifying the means is what forced them to abandon political secrecy and announce that they would engage in public politics in an attempt to reap political gains in the wake of the revolution by obtaining a number of parliamentary seats for the first time in the Salafis' history.

Since the party's founding this March in Alexandria, the Al-Nur Party, which is headed by Dr Imad-al-Din Abd-al-Ghafur [as printed in source], the Salafi leader and agent for the party's founders, has not been averse to including a number of Copts among its membership -- 40 thus far -- and a number of women. The latter form half of the members who have joined the party to date. This in fact is the message that the party's founder wanted to send to those who criticized and attacked them upon the announcement of party's formation. The message was that they would not be hostile to the Copts or to any religious denomination in Egyptian society. It was a message meant to bring feelings of reassurance to a large number of people fearful of political activity by the Salafis.

The platform of the Al-Nur Party, which was proposed at the beginning of this week, has filled some people with amazement because of its middle-of-the-road, moderate ideas, far from religious bigotry and from hostility or exclusion of Copts. It did not put forward ideas of the extreme cast that one finds in many members of the Salafi current, such as the founders of the Coalition to Support New Muslims, who have come out with ideas marked by a pattern of hostility to Copts as well as to their political antagonists.

The Al-Nur Party sprang from the womb of Alexandria's Salafi Preaching School, led and headed by Dr Yasir Burhami, Shaykh Muhammad Abd-alFattah Abu-Idris, and Shaykh Isma'il al-Muqaddam. Most of the party's members therefore are youths of the Salafi School in Alexandria. Nevertheless, the party's membership lacks the leading figures of the Salafi current in Alexandria: Burhami and the shaykhs of the Salafi call have refused to become involved in political party activity, preferring to continue their religious call activity without the restriction of joining a political party.

The political ambitions of the leaders of the Al-Nur Party increased in the wake of the announcement by the Committee on Party Affairs that it had approved the party's establishment. A few hours after the party's approval , Dr Imad-al-Din Abd-al-Ghaffar announced that he would enter the parliamentary elections scheduled to be held this September. He stated that his party would nominate an as-yet-undefined number of candidates to compete for a number of parliamentary seats, doing so in coordination with all existing political forces, whether these be liberal, communist, or any political forces present on the political scene.

Party leader Abd-al-Ghaffar's ambitions don't stop there. He announced to Al-Wafd al-Usbu'i [Al-Wafd Weekly] that his party w ould enter the presidential election after the next and would compete for the office of president. In the minds of some people this caused increased fears of the rise of Salafi influence in the wake of the revolution and the growth of their dream to come closer to political power in Egypt.

Thus far, more than 7,000 members have joined the Al-Nur Party. Some 3,000 of them are women, in addition to 40 Copts. This has caused some people to think it likely that the Salafis are making use of the idea of "prudent dissimulation" (takiyah) and of the Machiavellian idea of the end's justifying the means, particularly after the party's abandonment of the open hostility to Copts and the constant attacks on them on the official web site of the Salafi Call in Alexandria, Sawt al-Salaf, which frequently launched attacks on Copts and on certain leaders of the church.

The Al-Nur Party's success in reaching and penetrating most of Egypt's cities and governorates only three months since the announcement of its establishment is confirmation that the party will not rely only on young people from the Salafi Call in Alexandria.

The attack that the agent of the founders of the Salafi Al-Fadilah party launched on the Salafi Al-Nur Party met with a counterattack by Dr Muhammad Yusri Salamah, the Al-Nur Party's media spokesman. He indicated that the Al-Nur Party would not begin its journey by maligning any Salafi figures. He stated that Khalid Sa'id's accusation was not correct, and he supported this by the fact that the party included members from all of Egypt's governorates, not only young Salafis from Alexandria, as Khalid Sa'id charged.

Yusri indicated that the Al-Nur Party had been unable to include such Salafi shaykhs as Shaykh Muhammad Hassan or Muhammad Husayn Ya'qub. This, he said, was because the Al-Nur Party was not a religious elementary school or a school for memorizing the Koran, but a political party. He said that anyone who wanted to join the Al-Nur

Party should join it for its platform and ideas, not because a famous preacher had joined the party.

The presence of Copts and women as members of the Al-Nur Party has caused some people to ask how willing the party is to allow them to run for high offices such as president of the republic. The surprise that Dr Imad-al-Din Abd-al-Ghaffar unleashed to Al-Wafd al-Usbu'i is that Copts and women would be allowed to run for any office, even the presidency. He pointed out that the Egyptian constitution treated women and men, Muslims and Copts, as equal in rights and duties, and so they had the right to run for the presidency.

The riddles and coded messages that the party has issued since its establishment and the heavy-gauge surprises it has fired off about allowing women and Copts to run for the presidency have been the subject of decoding attempts by Dr Nabil Abd-al-Fattah, an expert at the Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies. He noted that the Salafis have been spreading in the vacuums arising from the agreements that their leaders had made with the security apparatus during the rule of now deposed President Husni Mubarak, who made the Salafis part of alliances and agreements with the security agencies in order to use them in confronting and halting the radical Islamic groups who were involved in a bloody conflict with the regime -- such as Al-Jama'ah al-Islamiyah [the Islamic Group] and Tanzim al-Jihad [the Jihad Organization]. He indicated that the Salafis had supported the regime's legitimacy on the basis of being loyal to the ruler even if he is unjust. This tendency, he stated, continued until the fall of the regime. Some Salafis have therefore tried to dominate the street quickly, so as not to be negatively affected by a revolution in which they had not participated.

Abd-al-Fattah stated that the separation of some Salafis from call activity and their engaging in soft extension by forming political parties was an attempt to harvest political gains and an attempt to get the greatest portion of th ese gains after the revolution. This could be done by getting into the makeup of the coming parliament in exchange for their backing the presidential candidate supported by the authorities.

As for Copts joining the Salafi Al-Nur Party, Abd-al-Fattah expressed the view that a few marginal Copts had joined the party either to find out what was taking place inside it or in their capacity as a minority. Their joining the party would lead to their taking possession of designated positions inside it. He indicated that the presence of women as half the members of the party was quite natural, given that women wearing the niqab [a full veil] were part of the Salafi movement; they would exploit their presence in the party to call on other women and persuade them to put on the niqab and join the party.

Abd-al-Fattah criticized the platform of the Al-Nur Party and description by some people as middle-of-the-road and moderate. He indicated that the problem did not have to do with the platform, its language, or its interpretation; the standard for measuring such religious groups was actual performance.

Abd-al-Fattah was afraid that the founding of the Al-Nur Party would lead to an Islamic duo's dominating in attracting the public. The Muslim Brotherhood, with its Freedom and Justice Party, and the Salafis with their two parties, Al-Nur and Al-Fadilah, would seek to enroll a large number of Egyptians. That, he indicated, would lead to the liberal forces' coalescing with each other in order to confront the dual Islamic forces, the Brotherhood and the Salafis.

Abd-al-Fattah stated that the Al-Nur Party would demand changes in certain provisions of international agreements against discrimination and international agreements on children's rights. They would argue that Mubarak had approved of them and that they countenance fornication and homosexuality. He indicated that although Egypt had not approved of these provisions, the Salafis would try to stir up controversies about the agreements as a way to rein in women's freedom in the coming period, despite the fact that their own Salafi women had joined the Al-Nur Party.

[Description of Source: Cairo Al-Wafd in Arabic -- Opposition New Wafd Party's daily newspaper; usually highlights statements of the party's leader and criticizes the government.]

Egypt: Salafi Trend Spokesman Welcomes Decision to Establish Political Party

GMP20110613825012 London Al-Sharq al-Awsat Online in Arabic 13 Jun 11

[Report by Walid Abd-al-Rahman, from Cairo: "'Al-Nur' the First Salafi Party Established in Egypt that Includes Christians"]

Nearly four months after the fall of the regime of Egypt's former President Husni Mubarak, which was known for its hard-line attitude toward the Islamists, the Salafi Trend has established an official political party under the name of Al-Nur [The Light] Party. This is considered by Shaykh Abd-al-Mun'im al-Shahhat, official spokesman of the Salafi Trend in Egypt, as a historic turning point in the relations between the Salafis and the society, and the real beginning of the Salafi Trend.

Al-Shahhat has said to Al-Sharq al-Awsat that the Political Parties Affairs Commission by approving the party has proved that it is not the heir to the previous regime.

An official statement by the Political Parties Affairs Commission, chaired by Justice Kamal Nafi, has said that the notice, which was submitted on 24 May of the establishment of the Al-Nur Party as the first Salafi party to be established in Egypt by Imad-al-Din Abd-alGhafur, representative of the founders of the party, has been accepted. The statement points out that the Al-Nur Party, in the light of the acceptance of the notice of its founding, has become a legal entity, and has the right to practice its political activities as from the day following the issuing of the decision on 13 June 2011.

Samih al-Jazzar, official in charge of Al-Nur Party in Cairo, has expressed his happiness with the ratification of the Party. Al-Jazzar has said to Al-Sharq al-Awsat that the Al-Nur Party will convene a press conference to present its steps in the upcoming stage with regard to the parliamentary and presidential elections.

This is not the first time that a tendency affiliated to the Islamists has applied for a license for a party for political action. Former members of the Muslim Brotherhood have acquired an official party under the name of Al-Wasat Party, and the Muslim Brotherhood officially acquired the license for the Freedom and Justice Party. This has aroused apprehensions about the Islamists ascending to power, which is the scarecrow used frequently by the previous regime, whether with the international powers abroad or with some of the constituents of the Egyptian society at home, especially the Christians and some secular and left-wing powers. This has motivated the Islamists to declare in many of their stances the form of the state they aspire for in Egypt of the future, and their real stance toward the hegemony over the decision-making in the country.

It is worth noting that in Egypt there are some 24 small parties none of which represents any threat worth mentioning to the former ruling National Democratic Party, which the authorities decided to dissolve

about a month ago, and which was chaired by Mubarak for some 30 years until his regime was toppled on 11 February 2011.

In their turn, the members of the Salafi trend always stress that the state they aspire for is "a democratic civil state with Islamic authority," and that they do not aspire to assume power, they do not want either the presidency or posts, and they do not pursue achieving a majority in parliament, but they aspire for comprehensive reform in the political, economic, social, scientific, educational, and media fields, and in all aspects of life.

The Salafi trend has participated in the continuation of the protests in the country, and Islamist groups, such as the Muslim Brotherhood. Jihad, and the Islamic Group in addition to the Salafis, have acquired a scope for working in the street that was not available under Mubarak's rule. Also, many of these tendencies have announced their intention to establish parties with religious authority, a matter that has worried a wide sector of the Christian Egyptians, especially after this took place simultaneously with calls for applying the Islamic Shari'ah and with attacks against churches.

These worries are rejected by Imad Abd-al-Ghafur, representative of the founders of the Salafi Al-Nur Party, who stresses the need to guarantee the religious freedom of the Christians, and t heir right to arbitrate to their religion in the issues of creed and in the issues in which there is a difference in rulings between their religion and the Islamic Shari'ah, and also he stresses the need to establish a modern state on modern bases, and to reject the model of the religious state.

Within this context, Shaykh Al-Shahhat has said to Al-Sharq al-Awsat: "Despite the fact that Al-Nur Party has a Salafi background, the representative of the founders of the party does not like this description, and leans toward presenting Al-Nur Party as an Egyptian party for all the Egyptians, and considers the party as another turning point in the relations between the Salafis and the society, and in the society's feeling that the Salafis offer comprehensive social solutions through a group of experts, each in his field, while adhering to the Islamic identity." Al-Shahhat stresses that yesterday [the day of approving the application] represents a real beginning.

With regard to the transformation in the policy of the Salafi Trend toward approving the formation of political parties, the spokesman of the Salafi Trend in Egypt comments by saying: "Previously we announced that we would not establish political parties, but we invited those concerned with politics, who are convinced of the Salafi ideology, to establish parties. We have learned that a very large number have been thinking of establishing parties, with Al-Nur Party at their forefront. We still are waiting to see whether the rest of the groups

will join it, or will establish other parties. This is an issue on which we restrict ourselves to watching."

Al-Shahhat adds: "Before addressing the invitation to form parties, we have said that the reality on the ground has changed, and the fatwa now is to participate. Otherwise, we would not have addressed the invitation to form parties."

With regard to the participation of the Salafi Trend in the parliamentary and the presidential elections, Al-Shahhat points out that the basic fact of the existence of a party means that it participates in the elections process; however, whether it will or will not have a candidate, this is another issue. He points out that there is a commitment by the Islamist tendency, at least the major currents, not to present a presidential candidate; "as for the parliamentary elections, we will participate in them."

With regard to Christians joining the Salafi Al-Nur Party, Al-Shahhat says: "The presence of some Christians, who respect their covenant with the Muslims, and who consider that the Muslims have the right to have their Shari'ah as the ruling one, and their identity as the prevalent one, is something that undoubtedly calls for being happy with them and for welcoming them, and not otherwise." Al-Shahhat points out that Christians joining an Islamist party is some kind of this recognition.

[Description of Source: London Al-Sharq al-Awsat Online in Arabic -Website of influential London-based pan-Arab Saudi daily; editorial line reflects Saudi official stance. URL: http://www.asharqalawsat.com/]

TV Channel To Be Established To Promote US-Jailed Egyptian Cleric•s Case

GMP20110624825002 London Al-Quds al-Arabi Online in Arabic 24 Jun 11

[Report from Cairo by Muhammad Nasr Karrum: ••A Word of Truth• Is the Name of a Satellite Television Channel Intended to Pressure the United States to Release the Spiritual Father of the Egyptian Islamic Group•]

The family of Dr Umar Abd-al-Rahman, professor of exegesis [of the Koran] -- who is serving a life sentence in the United States after he was charged with involvement in the bombing of the World Trade Center's Northern Tower in 1993 -- announced the establishment of a satellite television channel titled "A Word of Truth." It is the title of Dr Umar Abd-al-Rahman's most famous book. Dr Umar uttered this phrase during his trial before the Higher State Security -- Emergency- Court back in 1981 in connection with the "major jihad" case following the assassination of the late President Anwar al-Sadat.

Ammar, Dr Umar Abd-al-Rahman's youngest son, told Al-Quds al-Arabi that the channel will work to support and activate Dr Umar's cause at the local, regional, and international level. He said the channel will present his case in detail from all its aspects and will respond to all suspicions about him, such as the charge that he is a terrorist, that he advocates terrorism, and that he supports violence and killing of innocent people, and the other charges that were leveled at him.

He added that the channel will work to provide information on him, highlight the humanitarian aspects of his personality, present all his recordings of the Koran, recordings of the prophet's tradition as narrated by Al-Bukhari and Muslim, his speeches, lessons, conferences, seminars, television, radio, and press interviews, all his books and writings, and his meetings with his students in Egypt and world states.

Ammar said the channel will also speak in detail about the Islamic Group, adopt the causes of all wronged people everywhere, activate and discuss their cases, and try to end the injustices done to them. He added that it will be an Islamic-political-social and also entertainment channel. He noted that preparations for the channel are currently in progress through the completion of the legal and technical procedures, choosing the working crew, and preparing programs and other material.

Commenting on the channel's sources of funding, Ammar said it will be funded by the family of Dr Umar and a number of investors and businessmen, some of whom are donors and others are investing their money in the channel. Most of them are of Islamic inclinations, he noted.

Ammar refused to disclose these financers' names until all the work has been completed. He said he will open the door to the funding of Dr Umar's channel because he is one of the symbols of Islam and must be

supported in his ordeal. He added that efforts must be made for his release and return to his country. He noted that anyone who wants to support the channel and back his father will be welcome.

On a related issue, Ammar said his father staged a hunger strike for three days after the US authorities prevented him from calling his family in the set dates because the family held protests outside the US Embassy in Cairo. He added that, after the three-day hunger strike, the US authorities responded and allowed him to call his family.

During his phone call, Dr Umar said he is very happy with the situation in Egypt and that he hopes for the best, but complained of bad treatment in US jails, Ammar said.

Ammar Umar Abd-al-Rahman said the US Embassy in Cairo announced that it is in the process of taking legal measures for the release of his father. On the other hand, he added, the interior minister, Major General Mansur al-Isawi, announced that he would welcome Dr Umar's return to Egypt, that they have no objection to his return, and that no one will be excluded at all, given the new situation in the country after the 25 January revolution.

Ammar said the Islamic Group put Shaykh Abbud al-Zumar in charge of the security file and that he is the person who talks to security officials on several cases, including his father's. He added that AlZumar spoke with a number of officials, including the interior ministe r, on this issue.

Ammar said they have great hope that the military council and the council of ministers will put an end to his father's ordeal and work for his return to his country because they will not accept any more injustice to him for he is an old and sick man.

[Description of Source: London Al-Quds al-Arabi Online in Arabic -Website of London-based independent Arab nationalist daily with strong anti-US bias. URL: http://www.alquds.co.uk/]

Egyptian Al-Jama'ah al-Islamiyah Leader Praises Interior Ministry's Efforts

GMP20110617825005 London Al-Sharq al-Awsat Online in Arabic 17 Jun 11

[Report by Muhammad Abd-al-Ra'uf: "Abbud al-Zumar Meets With Interior Minister, Calls To Give Time to Army, Sharaf's Government; Umar Abdal-Rahman's Family Signals Staging of Sit-In Outside US Embassy, Denies His Association With Al-Zawahiri"]

In an unprecedented step, Shaykh Abbud al-Zumar, a prominent member of the Al-Jama'ah al-Islamiyah's [Islamic Group] leadership, met with Egyptian Interior Minister General Mansur al-Isawi for the first time since his [Al-Zumar's] release in March. This was after spending 30 years in Egyptian prisons against the background of his conviction for planning the assassination of late President Anwar al-Sadat. Following the meeting, which took place two days ago, Al-Zumar praised General Al-Isawi's patriotism, keenness for reform, careful listening to demands, and objectivity in addressing problems. He pointed out to Al-Sharq al-Awsat that: "the meeting touched on the need to pursue all means to achieve a bright future for Egypt in view of the participation of all the political forces in building Egypt without the exclusion of any political faction." He added: "The slogan 'Egypt First' prevailed over the meeting, which stressed that the role of the Interior Ministry in the future will be to protect Egypt and the will of the masses in choosing whoever and whatever they want. The meeting also emphasized the need to confront the real threats that Egypt is facing, such as sectarian sedition, corruption, thuggery, drugs, and espionage." The Al-Jama'ah al-Islamiyah's leading figure called on all the shades of the Egyptian society's spectrum to give Dr Isam Sharaf's government the opportunity to work for the sake of Egypt, and to create the suitable atmosphere for the Supreme Council of the Egyptian Armed Forces to run the affairs of the country. He said that: "this is in order for us to make it through this critical stage. We ask God to grant our Egypt safety, progress, and advancement during this stage." He stressed that the Interior Ministry has good intentions when it comes to lifting oppression from all those oppressed during the past stage and finalizing the issue of prisoners one after the other as soon as possible. He also asked him to intervene to ensure the return of Dr Umar Abd-al-Rahman, Al-Jama'ah al-Islamiyah's spiritual leader, who is serving a life sentence in a US prison after he was convicted of involvement in the bombing of the World Trade Center in New York in 1993. In a related issue, the family of Dr Umar Abd-al-Rahman yesterday organized a new protest outside the US Embassy in Cairo that was attended by scores of Al-Jama'ah al-Islamiyah members in the absence of a number of Al-Jama'ah al-Islamiyah's leading figures who have been accustomed to participate in such protests, such as Abbud al-Zumar, Isam Dirbalah, Usamah Hafiz, and Asim Abd-al-Majid. Dr Umar's son, Dr Abdallah Abd-al-Rahman told Al-Sharq al-Awsat: "We met with the US Embassy envoy and sensed a change in the US position. The envoy conveyed to us Washington's appreciation of our sentiment

and its understanding of our demands. He promised to convey our demand for the release of Shaykh [Umar] to the US Administration." Dr Abdallah revealed that the US envoy expressed concern that new AlQa'ida leader Dr Ayman al-Zawahiri's call on the United States to release Umar Abd-al-Rahman will lead to acts of terrorism in US territory so as to exert pressure toward the release of Al-Jama'ah alIslamiyah's spiritual leader. He said: "We stressed to the US official that despite the fact that Al-Zawahiri values Shaykh Umar's knowledge and status, we disagree with him ideologically." Umar Abd-al-Rahman's son noted that his father renounced violence and appeared on US television channels after the bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993 to condemn the incident. He added: "The shaykh condemned every act of violence committed by Muslims in the countries where they reside. He said that anyone who uses an entry visa to enter a country is considered to have signed with that country a peace pledge that cannot be broken." He stated: "We decided to give the embassy two weeks to respond. If we fail to receive a resp onse, we will organize a new protest on 30 June outside the embassy and we might resort to staging a sit-in." Currently, Umar Abd-al-Rahman is serving a life sentence in a Colorado prison in North Carolina after being convicted on charges of involvement in the New York bombing in 1993. The Egyptian judiciary found him innocent of the charge of being an accomplice to the assassination of Al-Sadat in 1981 after being arrested for more than three years at that time. Moreover, he announced from his prison his support for the initiative to end violence launched by the Al-Jama'ah al-Islamiyah in Egypt in 1997 which led to ending the wave of terrorism that swept through Egypt at that time.

[Description of Source: London Al-Sharq al-Awsat Online in Arabic -Website of influential London-based pan-Arab Saudi daily; editorial line reflects Saudi official stance. URL: http://www.asharqalawsat.com/]

Cairo Editor: Religious Extremism Might Assassinate Dreams of Civil Democracy

GMP20110314013003 Cairo Nahdat Misr in Arabic 14 Mar 11 p 12

[Article by Chief Editor Muhammad al-Shabbah: "Terrorism Resurrects its Reputation"]

I do not understand the hearty welcome in the official media and among political and government circles for the release of Abbud and Tariq al-Zumar from jail even though they were not prisoners of opinion but were convicted in the assassination of former President Anwar alSadat, the operation which inaugurated in Egypt the most dangerous periods of terrorism and claimed tens of politicians and innocent children in addition to the terrorists themselves.

I also did not understand the state of sudden kindness which overcame the Egyptian television while heralding to viewers its efforts to secure a telephone contact with Abbud al-Zumar as soon as he emerged from prison, or the questions of the announcer which varied between finding out the feelings of Abbud when the revolution was launched or when he learned that Habib al-Adli was occupying the cell next to his, or of his dream some years back that he will leave prison "at the hour in which millions of Egyptians will be going out to the streets"!

How great, by God! We see this on the television screens of the "civil" State that is living the most dangerous moments of its history on the edge of falling into the grips of extremism and Jahiliya [preIslamic era of backwardness]. How great, by God, as we see the hypocrites whose limbs are shaking these days as they see an offensive of sectarianism, whether by Islamists who seek revenge or Christians who demand vengeance. Both the Muslims and Christians have a long history of despicable relations with the former regime. Now we see different hues, foggy vision, and mounting fears over a shift by religious extremism from the era of assassinating persons to assassinating the dreams of the Egyptians in a democratic civil society.

Perhaps the most important statement which was made by Abbud al-Zumar after he came out from prison was that "the revisions" [published renunciations of violence by groups such as Al-Jam'a al-Islamiyah] that were made while in prison were not "retreats" and that they are still sticking to "the principles" on which Al-Jam'a al-Islamiyah was founded. He said that "Allah willing" they would return in the coming period to political life with a party entity that will express their ideologies. Then the State TV had to pose an important question to the [Egyptian] Nelson Mandela who had just emerged from prison on his opinion about the recent constitutional amendments, and hear him replying that he agreed to them and calling on the Egyptians to vote 'yes' for them!

Those who fear nowadays the remnants of the National Democratic Party, Habib al-Adli's gangs, and the mafia which monopolized the power and riches and terrified and plundered Egypt, also fear the remnants of the old terrorism that have returned in force to resurrect its reputation!

[Description of Source: Cairo Nahdat Misr in Arabic -- Independent pro-reform daily newspaper with an editorial line moderately critical of the government; focuses on domestic affairs.]

Al-Siba'i Publishes Names of Batch of Released Political Detainees in Egypt

GMP20110305836006 Ansar Dawlat al-Iraq al-Islamiyah in Arabic 04 Mar 11

[Statement attributed to Dr Hani al-Siba'i; dated 4 March: "Urgent: The Release of a New Batch of Those Charged with Military Verdicts" -"Al-Muslim," user number 521, posted the statement.]

Statement No 19 in 1432 Hegira, corresponding to 2011

Urgent news:

The Release of a New Batch of those Charged with Military Verdicts

By:

Dr Hani al-Siba'i

[Email address of Dr Al-Siba'i is posted here]

Director of the Al-Maqrizi Center for Historical Studies

The Al-Maqrizi Center has learned, from a trusted source, about a decision to release a new batch of Islamists against whom military courts' verdicts had been issued. Shaykh Yahya Khalaf has informed us that the decision was issued following Friday prayers on 29 Rabi alAwwal 1432, corresponding to 4 March 2011.

The Al-Maqrizi Center has learned that the release decision covers two groups; the first group consists of those who revised their stance [toward jihad], and they are all from the Layman Turah prison. Whereas the other group, which consists of those whose stance remains unchanged by the grace of God, they are among those who rejected the revisions; they are three from the Istiqbal [Reception] Turah prison, praise be to God.

Names of the released detainees from the Layman Turah prison:

1. Nabil Na'im Abd-al-Fattah, a prominent leader who fiercely defended the revisions

2. Isam Nasr-al-Din Ghazlani

3. Muhammad Nasr-al-Din Ghazlani; the brother of the aforementioned

4. Yusuf Riyad

5. Abd-al-Ghafur Shumays

6. Ali al-Fiqi

7. Sa'id Salamah

Names of the released detainees from the Istiqbal [Reception] Turah prison:

8. Muhammad Sa'id Faraj

9. Usamah Ibrahim Kari

10. Atif al-Shahhat al-Jindi

Based on the above, the Al-Maqrizi Center rejoices for lifting the injustice off those innocent Muslims, some among whom have spent half of their lives in the prisons of the ousted tyrant. It was the same criminal regime that practiced favoritism with the detainees, made distinctions among them, and triggered blind sedition that almost annihilated those who have solid faith; imposing siege, starvation, displacement, torture, oppression, and murder while they are holding on with patience, praise be to God alone.

So, we advise the brothers, who have revised their stance toward jihad because of their fear of the state security, saying: God has taken fear away from you, and He has freed you. So return to your God and sincerely repent to Him. Do not think that revising your stance and concluding a truce with the tyrant's subordinates are what got you out of prison. If this was the case, some of those whose faith remains solid and who reject your revisions would not have gotten out. As a matter of fact, following the Egyptian people's revolution, many detainees were released before those who revised their stance toward jihad. It was God alone who has bestowed His blessings upon you and has lifted the sorrow, depression, and sadness off you; He has relieved you of your agony.

We also call upon all human rights organizations and the merciful people to apply pressure on the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces to release all detainees, against which verdicts from military courts are issued. Topping the list are Shaykh Nabil Abd-al-Majid al-Maghrabi, Shaykh Abbud al-Zumur, Dr Tariq al-Zumur, Shaykh Majdi Salim, Shaykh Muhammad al-Zawahiri, Shaykh Murjan Salim, and others.

Al-Maqrizi Center for Historical Studies

29 Rabi al-Awwal 1432, [Corresponding to] 4 March 2011

[URL to the Al-Maqrizi website is posted here.]

[To view the vernacular, click here.]

[Description of Source: Ansar Dawlat al-Iraq al-Islamiyah in Arabic -A minor Salafi-jihadist forum that re-posts Al-Qa'ida and affiliate media productions; first observed online in June 2010, the site features productions and discussion focused on the Al-Qa'idaaffiliated Islamic State of Iraq, as well as global jihad in general; URL: www.ansar-dawlat-aliraq-alislamiyah.net/vb]

Egypt: Tariq al-Zumur Interviewed on Elections, Future Plans of Islamist Groups

GMP20110315013002 Cairo Al-Jumhuriyah in Arabic 15 Mar 11 p 5

[Interview with Tariq al-Zumur conducted in Manayli and Ra'fat Hassuna: "Tariq al-Zumur his Release: 'The Constitutional Amendments the Present Stage. The Parliamentary System does not allow a Dictatorial President'"]

Cairo by Muhammad alTells Al-Jumhuriyah after are the best Solution for Supports Democracy and

Dr Tariq al-Zumur is one of the oldest political prisoners in Egypt. He was incarcerated following the assassination of former president Anwar al-Sadat in 1981 when he was 22 years old and a student of the Faculty of Agriculture at Cairo University. He had to change his studies to join a theoretical college, the Law Faculty, and was able to pursue his studies till he acquired a Ph.D. in Constitutional Law, also marrying and fathering two children.

Al-Jumhuriyah interviewed Dr Tariq al-Zumur to get to know from him his vision for the future and how he saw what lies ahead.

[Interviewers] What is your program for the coming period?

[Al-Zumur] After 30 years of imprisonment there must be a period of convalescence and rest. This will be followed by studying the situation properly and the new developments, and what happened in Egypt after the January 25 revolution, especially as the political arena has opened an unprecedented area for political and da'wa [religious advocacy] work.

[Interviewers] Is it possible to form alliances with any political force?

[Al-Zumur] Yes, it is possible on condition that our objectives concur, whether they are Muslim or non-Muslim objectives. Of course if that be the Muslim Brotherhood, then they have the priority.

[Interviewers] Do you intend to establish a party?

[Al-Zumur] The idea is relevant, but as of now we have not decided on that. We shall wait to see how dealings with the Islamic forces will be like following the restrictions and the oppression of the Mubarak era.

[Interviewers] Abbud al-Zumur submitted his papers in 2005 as candidate for presidency of the republic. Are you still of the same mind?

[Al-Zumur] Abbud al-Zumur's nomination was for purposes of confrontation with the regime of former president Husni Mubarak, as an affirmation of the political participation, whereas today the matter is different from the former times. So the idea is on the table for assessment.

[Interviewers] Do you approve of the referendum on the constitutional amendments?

[Al-Zumur] Yes I approve, given that I am a holder of a Ph.D. in Constitutional Law and especially as it is a transitional phase. This is the best solution at present following the partial amendment of the Constitution. I welcome the change of the Constitution in its entirety after matters become stable. But seeking a new Constitution now would lead to anarchy for a long period, something which Egypt cannot endure, especially as those who made the amendment proposals are known for experience and efficiency.

[Interviewers] Dr ElBaradei also is calling for change of the Constitution and for the formulation of a new Constitution. What is your opinion?

[Al-Zumur] I differ with him in his opinion. If he wishes to run for the presidency, he has to wait for the coming round after changing of the Constitution because those measures are not enough at this stage.

Arrangements

[Interviewers] What is your visualization for the role of the Islamic groups in the coming period?

[Al-Zumur] First there has to be a realignment of ranks following the attrition of the previous period, then on this basis we can build a structure for [Islamic] propagations that takes charge of the [Islamic] grouping's tasks including cultural, social and educational issues, with the political part to be postponed until decision has been taken on the issue of forming an independent party.

The parliamentary system is better

[Interviewers] Which do you prefer, the presidential or the parliamentary system?

[Al-Zumur] I prefer the parliamentary system, at least for the coming 20 years, so as to provide the widest area of freedoms and political rivalry, especially as we have lived 60 years of total containment.

[ Interviewers] Which is better, to conduct elections for the People's Assembly first or for the presidency?

[Al-Zumur] I see that holding elections for the People's Assembly first would be better, so that no dictatorial president emerges again under a Constitution that accords him many prerogatives.

[Interviewers] Were there any attempts for your release under the former regime?

[Al-Zumur] Yes, in fact there were several attempts in 2003, but we refused because this was tied to bargaining with the regime. When we refused, they told us there are two sentences that you have to serve. We do not know what they are. This problem was not solved until the Supreme Military Council acted.

Special elections

[Interviewers] Do you see that the last People's Assembly elections were a reason for the collapse of the regime, or were there other accumulations?

[Al-Zumur] There were accumulations. But the elections were the straw that broke the camel's back and Ahmad Iz was the last nail in the coffin of the former regime.

[Interviewers] What is your view of the role of the State Security Investigations [SSI] apparatus in the coming period?

[Al-Zumur] I think that the apparatus should join Habib al-Adli, the former interior minister, in prison because it corrupted all aspects of life whether political or social to keep Husni Mubarak in power, without any concern for the homeland's interests. I do not only call for its dissolution but for a trial for its men. It is possible that a new body could be established to defend the country against terrorism, whether internal or external.

Energetic action

[Interviewers] In your view, how can sedition between the Muslims and the Copts be extinguished?

[Al-Zumur] There should be energetic, quick and flexible action by all the Muslim movements so that they control the situation. I urge that the paper of sedition should be abandoned and that it must not be adopted in political action.

[Interviewers] Do you agree to amending Article Two of the Constitution?

[Al-Zumur] Article Two cannot be changed. But if there is another opinion, then the referendum ballot box is the referee.

[Interviewers] You entered jail at a young age and were not yet married. When did the marriage take place?

[Al-Zumur] I did not think of marriage till after 13 years passed in jail. But when change and improvement took place in prisons in 1993 I decided on marriage, and I fathered a girl, who is now in the second year of Preparatory school, and a boy who is two and a half years of age. His name is Abbud. I devoted myself to studies after acquiring a Bachelor's degree in law, and then I acquired a Diploma in Islamic Shari'a [jurisprudence] and another in Public Law, along with a diploma in International Law and another in International Relations, then a Ph.D. in Constitutional Law.

[Description of Source: Cairo Al-Jumhuriyah in Arabic • Website of state-controlled daily whose editorial line strongly defends regime policy.]

Freed Islamist says 25 Jan revolution opened 'doors of freedoms' in Egypt

GMP20110315950058 Cairo Dream 2 Satellite Television Channel in Arabic 2000 GMT 15 Mar 11

Egyptian Islamist Abbud al-Zumur has said that his "release is one of the outcomes of the glorified 25 January revolution that opened the doors of freedoms in front of the Egyptian people".

Al-Zumur, who was recently released after spending 30 years in prison in the case of assassinating former President Anawr al-Sadat, told Egyptian private Dream 2 TV channel's programme "10 pm" on 14 March

that he "should have been released 10 years ago, but the regime refused to release him after serving his time in jail".

Asked "if his decision to participate in the planning to assassinate Al-Sadat was due to religious or political reasons", he said: "Both", adding that "our scholars at that time gave us the reasons to assassinate Al-Sadat".

"At the time, resorting to violence seemed the logical option for us," he said, adding that "we wanted to relieve the Egyptian people from an oppressive ruler".

He urged the Egyptian society to "secure the existence of a legal and constitutional mechanism to hold any coming president or any official accountable for their actions".

He reaffirmed his "adherence to the no-violence that "violence never succeeded in achieving any it was used as a way to attack Islam". Asked if violence is a tactic change, rather than a real believe in what I am saying, and I believe that counter violence".

initiative", noting goals in the 90's and his "rejection of change", he said: "I violence leads to

Al-Zumur also said that the "inhumane treatment, torture and injustice inflicted upon Islamists by the regime is beyond anyone's imagination".

Al-Sahab Releases Ayman Al-Zawahiri Video Message to People in Egypt, Part 5

GMP20110415836002 Ansar al-Mujahidin Network in Arabic 15 Apr 11

[Corrected version: removing extra space from the text; video statement attributed to Ayman al-Zawahiri, produced by the Al-Sahab Establishment for Media Production and disseminated by the Al-Fajr Media Center; place and date not given: "The Fifth Episode: Message of Hope and Glad Tidings to Our People in Egypt" -- "Mufakkirat Ansar alMujahidin," user number 24, posted the message with links to download

the one-hour 10-minute 12-second video; for a copy of the video, contact [email protected] or the OSC Customer Center at (800) 205-8615. Selected video also available at OpenSource.gov]

In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate,

The Al-Sahab Establishment for Media Production,

Presents:

The Fifth Episode,

"Message of Hope and Glad Tidings to Our People in Egypt"

By Jihadist Shaykh Ayman al-Zawahiri, May God Protect Him

To download the video statement, use the following links:

The password to the video file follows:

[A password is provided here.]

[Links to download the video are provided here.]

Remark: video.

We apologize for the minor malfunction at the end of the

Supplicate to God for your mujahidin brothers.

Your brothers at:

Al-Sahab Establishment for Media Production,

Source: Al-Fajr Media Center.

[A translation/description of the video follows:]

[The video starts with an onscreen text that reads: "In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate. Warning: No Music Is Permitted in Our Productions. The Al-Sahab Establishment for Media Production, 1432 (corresponding to 2011)"]

[The Al-Sahab Establishment for Media Production logo appears onscreen, accompanied by jihadist chants in the background, followed by an onscreen text that reads: "Message of hope and Glad Tidings to Our people in Egypt by Shaykh Ayman al-Zawahiri, may God protect him, Rabi al-Thani 1432 (corresponding to March/April 2011)"]

[Another onscreen text appears and reads:

"The Fifth Episode"]

[Video begins]

[ 00:00:48 to 00:08:56:

Footage of Al-Zawahiri speaking]

In the name of God, praise be to God. May the prayers and peace of God be upon the Messenger of God, his household, his companions, and those who supported him.

O Muslim brothers everywhere,

May the peace, mercy, and blessings of God be upon you,

Hereafter;

This is the fifth episode of "Message of Hope and Glad Tidings to Our People in Egypt."

In the third and fourth episodes, I dealt with the valiant and honorable popular uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia; I saluted the honorable peoples in Tunisia and Egypt who got rid of the two corrupt tyrants Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali and Husni Mubarak; and I asked the freeborn and honorable Egyptians to make victorious their creed and their ummah [the community of Muslims worldwide], with awareness of the attempts to derail their march or to steal its fruit, and to continue the fight, struggle, jihad, and determination upon the elimination of corruption and the establishment of a just regime governed by Shari'ah, spreading justice, instituting the shura [consultative concept of governance], and achieving the independence of the land, political freedom, and social justice. I continue my speech today, and I say the following:

To begin with, I hereby direct greetings to the honorable and freeborn people, who have been zealous about their religion, sanctities, lands, and pride among the sons of our ummah, those who have risen up against oppression, subjugation, tyranny, and subordination to the arrogant infidel foreigner, who has launched the modern Crusader war against our ummah and our Islam, in the name of "War on Terror." It is a greeting to these freeborn honorable ones who brought about the fall of two regimes from among the most corrupt regimes ruling over our lands: The regime of Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali in Tunisia and the regime of Husni Mubarak in Egypt. They are trying today to bring about the fall of the regime of the corrupt and corruptive tyrant AlQadhafi in the patient and proud jihadist Libya. I ask God to have mercy on their martyrs, to heal their wounded, to hasten the release of their prisoners, and to grant them the best of rewards for what they have offered of sacrifices in the cause of support of their religion, their ummah, and the restoration of their honor and their glory. I ask God to grant them victory and empowerment, until our lands are liberated and the flags of Islam, glory, and pride wave over our territories.

I would also like, before undertaking the issue of this noble, honorable, proud, and glorious uprising that is sweeping our ummah, to congratulate the Muslim ummah for the beginning of the US withdrawal from the steadfast Afghanistan, for the US forces have begun to turn over various provinces to the miserable Afghan Army. Likewise, the US Secretary of Defense stated in Kabul in the first week of March that circumstances would become ready for the beginning of the withdrawal of the US forces from Afghanistan next July. After him, General Petraeus affirmed his commitment to the beginning of the withdrawal of forces next July. This is a disguised admittance of defeat from the United States, for the United States began to withdraw as the forces of the mujahidin of the Islamic Emirate [of Afghanistan], under the leadership of the Amir of the Believers, Mullah Muhammad Omar, may God

protect him, have advanced from victory to victory, and have widened the regions of their influence day after day.

The breaking of the United States in Afghanistan and Iraq is assistance and support to our peoples, who have risen up against the corrupt and corruptive tyrants. Indeed, our ummah is engaged in a single battle against the invaders of the modern Crusader campaign and against their proxies, our corrupt and corruptive rulers, and US abandonment of her allies one after the other is among the signs of its retreat from conceit and arrogance since it received the strikes in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania [the September 11 attacks]. The mujahidin pledge to their dear ummah that they will continue to launch strikes against the United States and its allies in the modern Crusader war until our ummah attains its freedom, achieves its sovereignty, and unites under the banner of the caliphate, by the grace of God and with His aid and support.

My Muslim brothers,

I seek your permission today to speak extensively, for the events are fast-paced and constantly renewed. Likewise, I hope that our Muslim brothers realize that our words might be slightly delayed or far between, due to the fierce war in which the mujahidin are engaged with the United States. I hope that our dear ummah realizes that our words reach them soaked in blood, punctured by wounds, and burdened with the chains of our prisoners, for in the cause of conveying the words of the mujahidin to their dear ummah, some mujahidin may fall martyrs, become wounded, or become captured. However, the mujahidin offer these sacrifices with pleasure and good spirit, so that the truth reach their ummah, the lies are exposed, deception is revealed, facts are clarified, and evidence becomes manifest.

I would like to divide my speech today into sections as follows:

The First Section:

The Second Section:

The Third Section:

The Fourth Section:

The events in the steadfast jihadist Libya.

The events in the uprising Egypt.

The events in the pioneering Tunisia.

Some messages.

The First Section; the events in the steadfast jihadist Libya:

To begin with, I would like to salute our people in beloved, steadfast, and patient Libya, who had been patient under subjugation, torture, oppression, lies, and repression for over forty years.

May God keep the descendants of Umar al-Mukhtar, God rest his soul, who defied with their bare chests the arrogance and tyranny of the tyrant Al-Qadhafi and his crimes. I ask God to have mercy on their martyrs; to heal their wounded; to hasten the release of their prisoners, and to grant them success in supporting their religion and their ummah. I ask god to support them in preserving their sanctities and honor; and to bless them with His glorious victory and His near relief.

The blood of hundreds of martyrs, who were killed by Qadhafi in your blessed uprising, will not have been the grace of God, and before them, the blood of the killed and the suffering of thousands imprisoned and

the regime of Allost in vain, by hundreds who were tortured.

[Start of poetic verses:]

"You refused to give in as the sword rose above the head and gave generously of your soul, the giving of a freeborn man under oppression.

"O Umar al-Mukhtar, God has His wisdom for you to have met what you met unjustly.

"Thus, we promise you, and our words are our bond that we will stand by the brave and the valiant.

"From the beginning they were patient, and tasted the hated taste of death and wounds.

"And made tired the rest with pain and took the souls of those who were spared.

"They have transgressed against you, and how many examples have fallen of innocents and pure ones.

"Leave as honorable friends, for you are compensated. for Al-Khattab if you wish.

Be a dear guest

"You have walked in the path of goodness attaining the hope imagined by inspiration.

"There is no ruler without the approval of your consciences. watch, but you do not care for the governed.

You

"Your bones are destroyed without your approval, but ye do not grow weak; the will refuses to be broken."

[End of the poetic verses.]

Here I would like to incite my brothers among the people of Egypt, especially the tribes of the western desert, to aid and assist their brothers in Libya with money, medicine, food, and weapons, and to treat their wounded and fight with them against this tyrant, who corrupted the religion and this world.

[ 00:08:57 to 00:09:55: Footage from Al-Jazirah interview between a correspondent and a man identified by an onscreen text as "the jihadist Shaykh Hafiz Salamah, commander of the people's resistance in Suez against the Israeli forces in 1973." The correspondent asks if the rebels in Libya are in need for assistance, and if so, what kind. Salamah responds: "Very much so," noting the need for food and medical supplies. The correspondent asks if Egyptians are advised to offer this assistance, and Salamah responds that it is their duty to do so.]

[ 00:09:56 to 00:10:05:

Al-Zawahiri:]

It is upon our people in Egypt and the tribes of the Western desert to save their brothers in Libya, for the Arab governments have forsaken them, and the Arab League has become satisfied with requesting the interference of the Security Council to impose a no-fly zone over Libya. Why did the Arabs faltered to intervene to save the Libyan people? Where are the Arab armies? Is their role limited only to the subjugation of the peoples? Or did they delegate the matter of intervention in Libya to foreign powers?

We must meet the needs our brothers in Libya so that the West will not use their tragedies as a justification for intervention in Libya and occupation and hegemony upon its affairs.

[ 00:10:06 to 00:10:58: Footage of Al-Jazirah of interview between a correspondent and Shaykh Hafiz Salamah. The correspondent asks if Salamah advised the rebels in Libya. Salamah responds that he warned them against an intervention by foreign forces, saying that foreign forces had betrayed them in Iraq and would conspire against them in Libya.]

[ 00:10:59 to 00:21:22:

Al-Zawahiri:]

Likewise, I would like to alert my Muslim brothers in Libya, Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia, and the rest of the lands of Islam that if the United States and the NATO forces interfere in Libya, it will be necessary for their neighbors in Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, and the rest of the Muslims to go forth to fight all the mercenaries of Al-Qadhafi and the Crusaders of NATO.

Al-Qadhafi has stated repeatedly that the continuation of his regime is a guarantee to the stability of the West, including his statement on the ninth of March that the stability of Libya - and by this he means the stability of his regime in Libya - is a guarantee to the stability of the West, Europe, and the so-called Israel, as he put it.

Likewise, I call upon our people in Libya to be patient and to take up their fight, until their goal is achieved by establishing a Muslim state in Libya that is governed by the Shari'ah, instituting the shura, spreading justice, supporting the oppressed, and striving to liberate Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, and every occupied inch of the lands of Islam.

O freeborn and honorable people of Libya,

Your descendants fought in the cause of God to achieve the following: "There prevail justice and faith in Allah altogether," [partial Koranic verse, Al-Anfal, 8:39]. Thus, march upon their path, follow in their footsteps, and be the best descendants to the best ancestors.

I warn our people in Libya, Egypt, Tunisia, and everywhere against the crocodile tears that the United States sheds today for the tragedies of the Libyans, for the United States is the last with the right to

talk about freedom, human rights, justice, and protection of civilians.

Why did the United States not move against Al-Qadhafi before the uprising of the Libyan people?

Was it not the United States that turned over detainees to Al-Qadhafi in its war against Islam in the name of a War on Terror, so that they could be tortured, maltreated, and killed? Among them was the martyr, as we consider him to be, the Shaykh Ibn-al-Shaykh al-Libi, and among them were the leaders of the Libyan [Islamic] Fighting Group.

Why were the United States and the West silent about the Abu Salim Prison massacre, wherein over 1,200 people were martyred? Why were the accounts and investments of Al-Qadhafi and his family not frozen before?

The United States that accuses Al-Qadhafi of killing civilians has killed civilians everywhere, from Hiroshima and Nagasaki to Iraq and Afghanistan. Among its latest incidents was the killing of sixty civilians, including women and children in February in the village of Ghaziabad, Kunar Province. And even uglier than their killing is the statement of the spokesperson of [Us General] Petraeus that the people of the village were the ones who burned the corpses and severed their limbs. Then, after this incident by around a week, US planes killed nine children in Kunar as well, and Petraeus and Obama offered apologies to Karzai, an absurd farce by foxes and wolves.

The United States, which accuses Al-Qadhafi of using mercenaries, has employed tens of thousands of mercenaries of the likes of Blackwater and its sisters in Iraq, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.

The United States, which accuses Al-Qadhafi of torturing his people, has tortured thousands of detainees in Abu-Ghurayb, and continues to torture them in Guantanamo, Bagram, and its secret prisons.

The Second Section; the events in the uprising Egypt:

I repeat my salute to the people's uprising in Egypt, who rose up against oppression and the oppressors, and I congratulate the Egyptian people and all the Arab and Muslim peoples, indeed, all the freeborn peoples of the world for the departure of the arrogant and haughty tyrant Husni Mubarak. I ask God to reward well the honorable and freeborn people, who have been zealous about their religion, their

ummah, and their sanctities in the beloved land of the quiver [Egypt]; to have mercy on their martyrs; to heal their wounded; and to hasten the release of their prisoners.

The Egyptian people's revolution has succeeded in overthrowing the tyrant. Then what? This is the critical question and the great challenge.

O our people and our brothers in Egypt,

There are many peoples, who have revolted throughout history, but many of their revolutions have also ended not in accordance with the desires of those peoples, and sometimes in the opposite ways of what they wanted.

Revolutions are often stolen and transformed into brutal and despotic regimes. Napoleon transformed the French revolution into an empire, and the Russian revolution was appropriated by the Bolsheviks after the German Government arranged the entrance of Lenin to Russia on a German train so that he might seize control of the country in return for withdrawing from World War I. Then Russia, Central Asia, and Eastern Europe were deceived at his hands and at the hands of his allies for a period among the worst periods of oppression in the history of humanity.

The coup of 1952, in which the Muslim Brotherhood participated and the people supported it and rejoiced about it, was transformed into a despotic and oppressive regime that humiliated the people for a period of sixty years.

Likewise, we must not look at the conditions in Egypt with a narrowminded view. Rather, we must look at them with a wide view that encompasses the regional and international reality. Egypt, in its critical location, cannot be separated from what is happening around it in the world. Thus, we cannot understand the events happening in Egypt as far from the position of the West and the United States toward the Islamic world, for there is a modern Crusader war launched against our ummah, and the term Crusader war was not invented by AlQa'ida but rather confirmed by many analysts, writers, and philosophers. Sa'd al-Din al-Shadhili, for example, called the war on Iraq - before Al-Qa'ida - the 8th Crusader War, and Sa'd al-Din alShadhili was not for a day a member of Al-Qa'ida, nor did he have any connection with it whatsoever.

The United States, the leader of the modern Crusader war, has directed, until today, a controlled change in Egypt attempting to

absorb the uprising of the honorable Egyptian people against oppression, to bring about gradually the concessions of the demands of the people, and to protect the US interests and the Israeli security at the same time.

The United States, as it is known, does not care about the form or nature of the regime in Egypt or elsewhere. The United States does not care if the regime in Egypt is democratic or despotic, a monarchy or a republic, governed by an individual or a group, presidential or parliamentary. Indeed, the United States has no objection if the regime is Islamic in its claim, if in the way of Al Sa'ud or the Amir of the Believers in Morocco or the kingdom descended from the prophet (may the prayers and peace of God be upon him) in Jordan, as long as it achieves its interests. One of the funny things in this regards, or you can call them things that make you laugh and cry at the same time is what is told about General Schwarzkopf when he was at a news conference during the Gulf War. He was sitting next to Khalid BinSultan when one of the journalists asked him about the military operations during Ramadan, Schwarzkopf pointed to Khalid Bin-Sultan and said [in English]: "We shall get a fatwa," [to justify waging war in the holy month of Ramadan].

What the United States cannot possibly accept is for Egypt, or any others like it to have a regime that is described as extremist, and the translation of this US label very briefly is: Any Islamic shurabased regime where the leaders gain their powers form the ummah and are held accountable by it, or that rejects the invasion of Muslim homes or the blunder of their wealth, and is in opposition to the Israeli ambitions.

Thus, the United States wants a regime that only gives the people some rights, and I stress the word some, but one that does not threaten its interests nor Israel's safety.

What has happened in Egypt until today can simply be described as a people's revolution that ended up as a military coup. The tyrant Husni Mubarak has handed over the power to his men in the armed forces.

We have to see the truths as they are, and not be led by emotions. The current ruling military council [the Supreme Council of the Egyptian Armed Forces, which is currently ruling Egypt] is not worthy of trust, because of its history as well as its behavior.

Muhammad Husayn Tantawi is 76 years old, which means he has passed the age of retirement by 16 years. Regardless of this fact, Mubarak kept him in his position for close to 20 years, because he is his man, whom he trusts to control the armed forces. Thus, what is the quality that

Muhammad Husain Tantawi has, and that no one else within the Egyptian Armed Forces had, which made Husni Mubarak keep him and not allow anyone else from among the other military leaders to be promoted into the same position for 20 years?

The first thing that the council was careful to announce was its intention to remain committed to all international and regional agreements, which includes the peace treaty with Israel and the [Gaza] crossings agreement, by which the Gaza strip is under siege. No one in Egypt asked him to do this, and he could have used the excuse that this is the job of the upcoming people's parliament. However he was careful to hurry and announce his allegiance to the world order, which is chaired by the United States. The United States gives Egypt financial assistance in the amount of 3 billion dollars a year, including 1.3 billion dollars goes to the Egyptian Army. This assistance was called by the United States the price for peace with Israel. Thus, it is the price for selling Palestine and besieging Gaza.

This is why Obama and Mike Mullen, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have decided to support the leadership of the Egyptian Army.

With the council's commitment to honor the international and regional agreements, it did not mention one word about the siege of Gaza or about the selling of gas to Israel, which the Egyptian Judicial system has decided to revoke it.

[ 00:21:23 to 00:21:47: Footage of Al-Jazirah News Network in Arabic for an interview with Shaykh Hafiz Salamah talking about how Egypt is selling its gas to Israel at very cheap prices, much less than what the gas is worth saying: "we have sold the barrel for 75 cents, when it is worth 12 dollars"]

[ 00:21:48 to 00:32:03: Al-Zawahiri:]

BOTh I and the freeborn and honest people ask the following:

What is the military council's position on the Egyptian Army's participation with the Crusader coalition forces that occupy Afghanistan?

And what is the military council's position on the passage of Crusader coalition's naval armadas, which occupy Afghanistan and Iraq, through the Suez Canal?

And what is the military council's position on the military and intelligence cooperation with the United States?

And what is the military council's position on opening Egypt as an international torture station for the United States in its war against Islam under the guise of War on Terror?

And what is the military council's position on the siege of Gaza, which members of its government have personally requested from Muhammad Husayn Tantawi [Field Marshal Tantawi, the head of the military junta in Egypt] to lift the siege?

And what is the military council's position on the prohibition of the niqab [full head cover for women] in universities and university campuses?

And what is its position on the existence of university [government] security guards? Such guards were prohibited by the judicial system from entering university grounds, as they had disrespected female and male students by beating and cursing them.

And what is the military council's position on the thousands of prisoners, who are the victims of the military courts, and others who are victims of the emergency laws, and the exceptional courts? What is its position on all those imprisoned and have served their sentences that were given by the military and exceptional courts and yet they are still held in prison based on the emergency law? This law was used by the regime as a tool against those imprisoned to change their principles. It had a clear message, all those who would not abandon their principles and agree to Mubarak's law and regime would not leave the jail, and the majority of those who did abandon their principles had served much more prison time than their original prison sentences. They are the victims of the tyranny, oppression, and abuse by Mubarak and the emergency law. This tyranny and oppression was celebrated by Mubarak's media under the name of retractions, which is a US policy that was implemented by Mubarak's regime, and were both welcomed by the United Nations.

The leadership of the Egyptian Armed Forces, during Mubarak's rule, is directly accountable for the pain that many of the political prisoners experienced. They were sentenced to prison and to death by the military courts. It is now also accountable for the pain of the entire political prisoners in the post-Mubarak era.

The few victims of the military and exceptional courts, who were released by the military council, are not enough by any means. They only represent a few among thousands of unjustly imprisoned people in the prisons of the regime. These must be released immediately, because the continuation of this is only a continuation of Mubarak's tyranny and oppression against the Egyptian people.

It is not enough that the military political prisoners, but it is the forgiveness from them for whatever committed against these people and

council issues a pardon for the military council that must seek crimes the military courts had their families.

In this regard, I do congratulate my brethren, who were imprisoned and recently released, and I ask God to accept their sacrifices. I ask God to benefit them so that their release is a benefit for Islam and a support for the Muslims and all the others downtrodden and oppressed people. A special congratulation goes to the noble and virtuous brothers, the virtuous Shaykh Abbud al-Zumur, the virtuous Shaykh Tariq al-Zumur, and the virtuous Shaykh Muhammad al-Zawahiri. I ask God to be with them and for their release to be a beginning of a campaign of da'wah and provocation to awaken the ummah and mobilize it behind the demand for Islamic Shari'ah so that it will be the ruling body of law and not subject to other laws. I also ask them not to forget their brethren, who are still in jail, and not to stop working toward their release. I ask them to be always, by God's help, as each of them wishes, leaders and pioneers in the defense of the rights of the Islamic ummah in Egypt and in all the Muslim homelands, to help all those who are oppressed, both Muslims and others.

The leadership of the armed forces is not only responsible for the pain of the thousand imprisoned in Egypt, but they are also responsible for the pain experienced by the thousands of Egyptians, who fled Egypt due to Mubarak's tyranny and oppression. These people have the right to return to their homeland, and for injustice against them to cease.

It is their right to return to their families, friends and homes, and for the unjust prison sentences set against them by the military and exceptional courts to be dropped. Also the Egyptian regime must stop playing the role of a policeman that chases them on behalf of the United States.

The military council must demand from the US Government the return of the patient Scholar and jihadist Shaykh Umar Abd-al-Rahman to his homeland after all these persecutions that he faced, and all these difficulties that he experienced. The regime of Husni Mubarak was in collusion with the US Government to persecute the virtuous Shaykh Umar Abd-al-Rahman, and the military council is responsible today to work

on returning him to his homeland, family, friends, loved ones, and students.

The military council must also clearly and honestly announce that the Egyptian security apparatus will cease to assist the United States in its war against Islam under the guise of War on Terror, and to cease immediately the use of Egypt as an international torture station. They must also immediately reveal the US use of Egyptian prisons as a part of a chain of prisons used for torture for the sake of the United States.

Unfortunately the military council has not yet released the majority of those imprisoned, the victims of the military and exceptional courts, but actually they have extended the state of emergency law for six more months, so that the United States can organize the current situation and the council can imprison whomever they wish without a charge or a trial.

The military council has not made any move until now, except under pressure from people's rage, and this colossal rage must continue until Egypt is cleansed form any signs of the defunct regime.

I hereby must give a special greeting to the honorable freemen, who destroyed the idol of the State Security Agency and invaded its headquarters, as well as forced the military council to declare it frozen, sending many of its officials to be interrogated, and placing its leadership under house arrest. This victory, like many of the victories of the Egyptian revolution, did not happen except under the pressure of the people's rage, which must continue until Egypt is cleansed from the corruption of Mubarak's era. Such rage must establish a regime that is righteous and good to return Egypt, as it was once before, a leader of the Arab and Islamic world, and a supporter of those who are oppressed and downtrodden.

The assault on the headquarters of the State Security Agency is a heroic act, and will be remembered with pride in Egypt's history. This heroism must continue until the oppressed political prisoners are released. It is the responsibility of all the families of those imprisoned and those released to move these demonstrations to the AlTahrir [Liberation] Square and in front of the Armed Forces Headquarters as well as in front of the prisons to release the political prisoners held in them.

We must pursue the executioners in Egypt, those officers from the State Security Agency and their leadership whether they are still in leadership positions or retired like [General] Fu'ad Allam, or those who participated in the parliament like Muhammad Abd al-Fatah Umar, or

those who were transferred to other security positions like Muhsin Hifzi and their ilk.

I call upon every honest and free lawyer, journalist, and all those who have any details regarding the corruption of the security agencies to publish them and use them to pursue those criminals.

The establishing a National Security Sector within the ministry of interior is not enough, the people must be informed on who is in charge of it, and whether any of the previous executioners are part of it, from among those who worked in the leadership positions of the [former] State Security Agency.

What is meant by the saying that this sector is responsible for counter terrorism? What is this terrorism? Is it terrorism according to the US-Israeli definition, which was the prevailing definition during the defunct era, and thus the participation in the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq was regarded as counter terrorism? Is the creation of secret prisons in Egypt and turning them into international torture stations regarded as counter terrorism? Is chasing the mujahidin in Gaza and torturing them to extract information on the whereabouts of their leaders, their posts, and their supply tunnels, reporting it all to Israel regarded as counter terrorism? Is being committed to all the security agreements with the United States regarded as counter terrorism? Was the protection of the business of Israeli lewdness in Sinai, whose profits went directly to the leaders of the defunct [Egyptian] regime, regarded as counter terrorism? Was punishing the people of Sinai to protect Israel and to stop them from aiding their brothers in Gaza, regarded as counter terrorism? Was the arrest of whoever tried to participate in the jihad in Afghanistan, Iraq, or Gaza; or those who provided them with financial backing, regarded as counter terrorism? What is this terrorism? Let us know so this deception can stop, and the executioners cannot return in different forms.

My free and honorable brothers in the revolting Egypt, many of the past regime's institutions still exist as follows:

The presidential institution, which is the strongest institution in the previous regime, is still the same as it was. Umar Sulayman [former Egyptian Vice President appointed by Mubarak during the uprising] and Zakaria Azmi are still controlling it from the presidential headquarters.

Husni Mubarak and his aides are plotting their conspiracies form their location in Sharm al-Shaykh.

[ 00:32:04 to 00:35:08: the video cuts to Al-Jazirah news network in Arabic for a continuation of the interview with Shaykh Hafiz Salamah, in which he says that the revolution in Egypt didn't accomplish any real change, and that Husni Mubarak has not yet answered for his crimes. He later continues to say that the people want to feel that there was a change and that there is a government that works for their interest]

[ 00:35:09 to 00:36:49: Al-Zawahiri:]

The governors [of governorates] and their security directors are still as they were before.

The regime's media and newspapers are still run by the same individuals, who had been praising the previous regime.

The military institution is still as it was before. This institution was the main pillar of the defunct regime. Its leaders were handpicked by Mubarak and it is now running the country.

The attorney general office remains as it is. Attorney General Abdul Magid Mahmud was a member of the defunct ruling gang. He is part of the school of Raga al-Arabi, the attorney general of the state security office, who became the former deputy attorney general. This is the gang that used to collaborate with the investigative body of the State Security Agency by leaking investigations to it in order to repeat the torture of those arrested until they confess to what the government wants to hear.

Attorney General Abdel Magid Mahmud did not attempt to investigate the ministers of interior, tourism, and housing, as well as Ahmad Izz, until Hosni Mubarak had sacrificed them in a last ditch effort to save himself. Otherwise, what has that attorney general been doing about their corruption over the past thirty years?

Who should prosecute who? Who should investigate who? gang member investigate his colleagues?

Should the

As to the cabinet of Isam Sharaf:

He was a minister in the cabinet of Amad Nazif [Nazif means clean in Arabic] for more than a year between 2004 and 2005. It is known that

a ministry is responsible in a collaborative manner. Isam Sharaf is considered responsible for everything the government has committed in the year he spent working at that ministry.

[ 00:36:50 to 00:37:45: Al-Zawahiri video cuts to an interview with the jihadist Shaykh Hafez Salamah on Al-Jazirah, who says: As to the Ministry of Ahmad Nazif - and he was not clean - everybody who was part of that ministry and those around them stole the wealth of Egypt. As a result, we now see such and such a person had stolen millions. They took thousands of acres without any right and at no cost to them. Where we are in the Gulf of Suez, some of those people had taken millions of meters of land for token prices, five Egyptian pounds per one meter, which is already being sold for thousands of pounds for foreign companies.]

[ 00:37:46 to 00:54:15: Al-Zawahiri:]

Was Hosni Mubarak a righteous saint at that time and suddenly he became a cursed devil in 2011? As to the Minister of Foreign Affairs Nabil al-Arabi, he became polluted in the swamp of Camp David. He was among the delegates involved in the negotiations with Anwar al-Sadat. Then, this man is a member of the Camp David school. This is not just a secular school that has surrendered to the United States and is subordinate to Israel. This is also a school that holds contempt for the rights, feelings, emotions, and hopes of the Arab and Muslim people. It signed the Camp David Accords and then the peace treaty with Israel betraying the Islamic ummah and Palestine. It passed that treaty in an openly rigged referendum.

I remind the kind viewer that Minister of Foreign Affairs Ismail Fahmi and Muhammad Riyad [as published, he was Mahmud Riyad], the minister of state for foreign affairs had resigned from their positions due to the Sadat declaration to visit the Knesset. Muhammad Ibrahim Kamil followed suit after he had traveled with Sadat to Camp David. He could not bear that situation and resigned from his position at Camp David. The only remaining Egyptian official with Sadat then was Butrus Ghali, the minister of state for foreign affairs, who was described by Muhammad Hasanain Haykal as a person who had nothing to lose. The remaining leftover team accompanied Sadat in his fall. Among that team was Nabil al-Arabi. As a member of that Camp David school, Al-Arabi lately told Al-Shuruq newspaper that the peace treaty with Israel should continue. As a result, that man is in agreement with the policy of the military council, which has gained the approval of Obama and Mullen.

Thus, is this the man who would run Egyptian political affairs in the mindset of Camp David, the peace treaty, and normalization of relations with Israel?

I wonder and every about the stand of That agreement was which dictated its

free and honorable person also wonders with me that man towards the Common Arab Defense agreement? literally killed by the peace treaty with Israel, priority over other agreements.

That man was the Egyptian Ambassador to the United Nations. In other words, he represented the foreign policy of Mubarak, which includes the participation of Egypt in the war against Islam in the name of a War on Terror, and the policy of normalization of relations with Israel. That policy even acknowledges the seizing of Palestine by Israel and suspends the right of return to the Palestinian refugees, as per the Arab initiative. That policy even commits Egypt to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, to which Israel is not committed.

His statements on the illegality of the Gaza blockade based on its violation of international law will go through a tough test. He participated in a government that actually besieges Gaza, despite pleas from the government of Hamas to Husayn Tantawi to lift up the siege.

Three years ago, that man was one of the leading consultants in the law office of Zaki Hashim, who was a minister during the reign of Sadat. That office had mutual relations as a subsidiary affiliate with a US company called Patton Boggs, which practiced law and legal counsel in New York and Washington. That company represented Mubarak and his family in arms, investment deals, and in any subsequent problems that resulted from them.

As for Minister of Justice Muhammad Abd-al-Aziz al-Gindi, he was attorney general in the early nineties. That time was characterized by intense abuses by the State Security Agency against prisoners in general and particularly against the Islamists. However, he kept his ears deaf to complaints by lawyers and families of those prisoners as they poured like a stream down on his office.

It is known among the majority that the Mubarak's regime had politicized a huge part of the legal system, making the attorney general office a legal front for the State Security Agency as it hunted down opposition groups and then repressed them.

As a result, the military council has formed a ministry comprised of members who belonged to the old employees club of Hosni Mubarak.

We are now witnessing a public revolution transformed into a military coup against the old regime with encouragement from the United States. The United States succeeded to transfer the reign of Egypt from one agent to another in order to guarantee a controlled change in Egypt that does not pose threats such as an Islamic rule, an annulment of the peace treaty or relations with Israel, and a challenge to the subservient intelligence, military and economic relations with the United States.

The United States does not care about who should rule Egypt after Mubarak, whether it is a military or civilian government, a democratic or oppressive regime. All it cares about is the proper transfer of authority in a controlled manner by a government that follows the same path of Mubarak of fighting Islamic forces, protecting Israel, besieging Gaza, and serving US interests. The US interests are intertwined with the interests of Mubarak and his military establishment.

The special envoy of the US President Frank Wisner used to work for two years as a consultant for legal affairs at Patton Boggs in New York and Washington. That company, which I mentioned negatively earlier when I spoke about Nabil al-Arabi, is the same company representing Mubarak and his family in arms and investment deals and their subsequent legal issues. In other words, Obama sent Wisner, the agent of his company, to arrange matters in a way that does not conflict with the common interests.

The relation of Wisner with Patton Bogs is not a secret, but rather well-known. Patton Bogs admitted publicly that it "represents some of the financially powerful Egyptian families and their companies," and that it "was representing them in oil, gas and communications infrastructure projects." One of the partners of Patton Boggs was the chairman of the Egyptian US Chamber of Commerce. Additionally, that company used to settle conflicts among dealers of arms, which the Egyptian Army receives in the form of a military aid reaching $1.3 billion annually.

Moreover, Patton Boggs has declared openly that it consulted with the Egyptian Army, the Egyptian Economic Development Agency, and the three branches of the Egyptian Government, on legal conflicts between Egypt and the United States.

As a result, we are facing a web of intertwined interests that continues in power in Egypt until today.

Therefore, we should never overlook the dimensions of the real conflict, and not imagine that our problems would go away with the

change of Mubarak or his regime. There is another enemy that is more dangerous, lurking for us and still interfering in our business.

I call on every Muslim and every free and honorable person in Egypt to demand and try to change completely the situation in Egypt. We are now witnessing a regime that is falling apart. We should replace it with a good regime. This is a rare historic opportunity that we should not let get away.

The aspired total change has three aspects: and social reform.

Legislative, political

The legislative reform should affirm the domination of the Shari'ah, i.e. it should be the ruling regime not subject to other laws. Therefore the laws branching out of that principle should affirm the right of the Islamic ummah to choose its leaders and to hold them accountable.

Islamic scholars and supporters of Islam in Egypt should call for a popular campaign demanding that the Shari'ah be the source of all laws, and that the Shari'ah should rule without becoming subject to other laws. They should not be fooled by article two of the constitution, which states that the Shari'ah laws are the principle source for other laws.

Every free and honorable worker for Islam should seek that. I call on all those Islamic workers to augment their efforts in order to raise awareness among the people and to entice them to demand this. They should rise above their organizational affiliations, unite, cooperate, and support each other for the sake of this noble objective. They should lead a wide campaign to pressure the ruling military regime, which does not listen to any demands unless pressured to implement them.

I warn those who seek or try to erase the Islamic identity of Egypt. Those are trying to harvest in the sea. They are trying to spark a blind sedition. When Gamal Abdel Nasser tried to do that, he ended with the biggest defeat in the contemporary history of Egypt. Then, Sadat tried to do that and he was killed. Hosni Mubarak repeated the same attempt in various ugly methods and now he has ended up in the trash bin of history.

Egypt Egypt Musa, Egypt

was never and will never be of the military rule of Bonaparte. will never be the Egypt of Mu'alim Ya'kub, the Egypt of Salamah the Egypt of Farag Fudah, or the Egypt of Faruq Hosni. Instead, was and will always remain - by the will and support of God -

the Egypt of Amr Bin-al-As [early Muslim commander who invaded Egypt] - may God bless him - and the Egypt of Imam Al-Shafi'i [an early Muslim scholar], the Egypt of Salah al-Din al-Ayyubi, the Egypt of AlIzz bin-Abdul Salam, the Egypt of Sayf-al-Din Qutuz, the Egypt of Rukn-al-Din Baybars, the Egypt of Ibn-Taymiyah [an early Muslim scholar], the Egypt of Umar Makram, the Egypt of Sulayman al-Halabi, the Egypt of Shaykh Ulaysh, Shaykh Hassan al-Adawi, Hassan al-Banna, Izz-al-Din al-Qassam, Abd-al-Qader Udah, Sayyid Qutb, Abdallah Azzam, the Egypt of Khalid al-Islambulli, Isam al-Qimri, Sulayman Khatir, the Egypt of Ali Abd-al-Fattah, Abi-Ubaydah al-Banshiri, Abi-Hafs alMasri, and Muhammad Ata - may God bless them all.

Those who are trying to cover up Egypt's Islamic affiliation, and the distinguished role of Egypt amongst Muslims, as well as the leadership of Egypt in the Islamic world for centuries, have not only given up the principles of Islamic belief and the fundamentals of ruling in Islam, but have also ignored in gross blindness the facts of history, geography and sociology.

I am warning those who are trying to establish in Egypt a regime of authority, which is alien to its religion. I warn that they are sparking a never-ending sedition for which they cannot blame anybody but themselves. You have to know that some biased sides will try to put my words in the context of posing threats with some bombs and clashes. However, any rational and wise person knows and agrees with me that I am talking about a pervasive long-term historic, political, and social disequilibrium that breeds extreme anger, if any of the dwarfs try to cover up the truth about the Islamic affiliation of Egypt.

I beg those people not to try to mix up issues claiming that ruling Egypt by the Shari'ah, and restoring the leadership of Egypt to the Islamic and Arabic worlds and for the defense of injustices imposed on its ummah against its enemies led by the United States and Israel, is in opposition with forgiveness and peaceful coexistence with Christians and non-Muslims who are still part of Egypt. Such mix up of issues is unacceptable, biased and made up. We have lived with non-Muslims in the Abode of Islam. We still live with them and will continue to do so until the time that God desires. Any problem that they face can still be resolved with wisdom, kindness and fairness, as long as the relationship is based on mutual peacefulness and loyalty. God says: "Allah forbids you not, with regard to those who fight you not for (your) Faith nor drive you out of your homes, from dealing kindly and justly with them: for Allah loveth those who are just," [Koranic verse, Al-Mumtahinah, 60:8].

My Muslim brothers in Cairo, Baghdad, Mecca, Medina, Algeria, Istanbul and the rest of the great centers of Islam, the Western scheme, which brought down the caliphate, has been trying to divide us into fifty torn pieces. Each of those pieces is preoccupied with itself, calling for nationalism that separates it further from its sisters. They [the

West] then attempts to further divide the torn pieces. Therefore, the call for secularism, national state, and pushing Shari'ah out of the scene is dangerous. It has massive negative political, economic, and military effects. It is a call to divide us into fragile and weakened entities that can be taken advantage of by the United States and its allies.

This is a call to push Islam away from influencing its societies and ummah until the Muslims lose the strength of their vigorous faith that has transformed them from lost tribes in the desert of its peninsula to world leaders, scholars of monotheism, values and morals. Rab'i Bin-Amir - may God bless him - summed up the issue to Rustum, the commander of the Persians when he said: "God sent us to deliver those He wished from the worship of man to the worship of God, and from the narrowness of the world to its expanses, and from the tyranny of religions to the justice of Islam."

This references the legislative reform aspect. As for implementing political reform, most importantly it has an international requirement of Egypt to return to its leading role within its Islamic ummah, its Arab world, and throughout the Third World. This can be done by annulling the peace treaty with Israel and its subsequent secret and stated commitments, as well as by severing diplomatic ties with Israel and kicking the Israeli ambassador out of Cairo, besides immediately lifting up the siege of Gaza and supporting all the issues of the Islamic ummah, as well as the downtrodden and the oppressed people in this life.

One of the most important domestic requirements for the ummah is to liberate it from the chains of oppression and fear, so that the ummah can practice its role in propagating virtue and preventing vice. That demands the lifting up of the state of emergency, stopping military courts for civilians and annulling all their judgments, as well as eliminating the state security agencies that are established on oppressing the people, crushing them, humiliating them, and treating them like insects. It is not enough to eliminate the State Security Agency. Other security services still practice the same policies. Therefore, it is important to establish a new agency for the security apparatus based on respecting the legal rights of the people. Those rights were emphasized by the Caliph Umar Bin-al-Khattab - God bless him - when he said: "How could you enslave the people when they were born free by their mothers."

The State Security Agency fell at the hands of the free heroic sons of Egypt. Now we have to tear down the fear from that agency and the government's oppression from our hearts. Therefore, I call upon my brothers, who were victims of retraction by the State Security Agency through means of blackmail, compromise, threats, and rewards, to realize that the State Security Agency idol has already fallen apart. They have to rise to serve their faith. The criminals, who arrested them, haggled with them, tortured them, and raped their sanctities and

bodies, have now been defeated. They must return to their role which every dedicated person has been anticipating - in order for them to serve Islam, grant it victory, warn the ummah, and galvanize it around the issues of reforming the regime, primarily judicial reform by making the Shari'ah the supreme law so that it becomes above all laws and not subject to any positive laws.

As for the social reform, its most important aspect is to stop the corruption, relieve the burdens imposed on the poor people, fairly distribute the wealth, and subsidize the commodities and services offered to the people such as education, health, and housing. Most Egyptians suffer from serious problems, like multiple families living in one apartment, most rural residents not having access to plumbing, the spread of slum areas, children living on the streets, the problem of old unmarried women, and drug addiction. In Egypt today there are seven million hashish addicts.

[ 00:54:16 to 00:54:33: Video cuts to speaker indentified by onscreen text as "Dr Husam Aql, education professor in Ayn Shams University, who says: [Dr] Ahmad Ukashah cited statistics. He says we have in Egypt today seven million Hashish addicts, and there are 20,000 more drug addicts in Egypt every year. There are 20,000 more drug addicts in Egypt every year.]

[ 00:54:34 to 00:54:45: Al-Zawahiri:]

Social reform requires a government that is good in both its conduct and performance, one that upholds morals and values and ends the propagation of vice and decadence.

[ 00:54:46 to 00:56:04: Video cuts to Dr Husam Aql, who cites a study by a Cairo University professor that says that "Forty-six percent of Egyptians do not watch satellite channels at all." The study, he said, added that "there are more than 112 Arabic-language satellite channels that air sexual material." These channels, he said, have harmed the "morals of the youth."]

[ 00:56:05 to 01:01:44: Al-Zawahiri:]

O people of Egypt,

Those who want to keep the Shari'ah out of power in order to please the United States will propagate among you usury, sin, alcohol consumption, moral decay, the breakup of families, and all manner and

forms of crime that the positive law has only served to increase and further propagate. I have experienced the prisons, and I have lived in them. I know the evils they wreak on the human soul and human nature. The positive laws turn the people in prison into monsters that fight over three things: Homosexuality, drugs, and gambling. These are the fruits of the positive law.

O people of Egypt, those who seek to keep the Shari'ah out of power in order to please the United States have deceived themselves before they even try to deceive others.

The same United States that bombarded the offices of Al-Jazirah in Kabul and Baghdad is the one that is feigning concern for the wellbeing of journalists in Egypt. The same United States whose forces fire live ammunition on demonstrators in Afghanistan and Iraq is the one that is feigning concern for demonstrators in Egypt.

The same United States signed anti-torture agreements is the one that practices torture in Guantanamo, Bagram, and Abu-Ghurayb; inside its secret prisons in Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, and Poland; and on its ships and airplanes; all while feigning tears over the victims of torture in Egypt.

The United States, which signed the Geneva Convention treaty for the treatment of prisoners, is not applying these accords on the Al-Qa'ida and Taliban prisoners.

The United States, which pressures Umar al-Bashir and Al-Qadhafi and threatens them with the International Criminal Court, refuses to apply that treaty on its citizens abroad.

The United States, which declares [Israeli] settlements illegal, vetoed in the Security Council the resolution presented by the Arab countries to condemn the settlements in the land of occupied Palestine.

What is more, the United States, which takes pride in the fact that its President Wilson established the concept of self-determination for the people, is now acting as if it forgot that completely when it comes to the Palestinian people, who were expelled from their land to have it occupied by a people from a faraway lands, and it rejects that the Palestinian owners of the land should return to it.

This is the truth of international law, which the army leadership rushed to recognize, along with its resolutions and treaties. It is the law of the arrogant great powers' dominion over the downtrodden.

The United States, which feigns tears for democracy, does not recognize HAMAS government in Gaza or the West Bank.

The United States is the last one that can talk about democracy and human rights.

This is the truth of democracy: It permits everything, no matter how sordid or contradicting, so long as it garners the support of the majority.

In reality, democracy is a vote-counting game, with no moral or religious framework. This is a fundamental difference between the shura that relies on the Shari'ah framework, and democracy, which has no framework.

It is not possible in shura, for instance, for a Muslim country to adhere to prisoner treatment or anti-torture treaties, and then violate those treaties because the majority of the shura saw it fit to do so.

In shura, for example, the poor cannot be deprived their defined rights, such as their share of alms and spoils or their rights to public assistance, because the shura saw fit to do so.

I hereby call on the people of Egypt who are in need of and deserve charity to call on the Egyptian Government to rule by the Shari'ah, which grants them the right to charity. The companions, may God be pleased with them, fought under the leadership of [Abu-Bakr] alSiddiq, may God be pleased with him, against the apostates to protect the pillar of alms-giving. Fight then, O people of Egypt, for your rights if your calls get no response.

In shura, for instance, license cannot be granted to alcohol factories, places of sin and immorality, and dissolute and depraved media outlets, which together constitute a state of corruption, even if the majority in the Shura Council approve of it.

In shura, for example, Israel's appropriation of Palestine could not be approved, and the international resolutions, peace treaties, and Arab initiatives that approve of and recognize this cannot be given recognition, even if the shura council approved it.

Shura is the practice of freedom, participation in political decisionmaking, and holding the government and ruler accountable in the framework of Shari'ah and its sovereignty [Al-Hakimiyah].

The Third Section; the events in the pioneering Tunisia:

I implore our dear ummah in Tunisia to continue its fight and jihad until it achieves victory, for the path remains long, and the calls for reform must continue until Tunisia is once again a citadel of Islam, encampment, and jihad, and a beacon in the Maghreb of Islam.

The Fourth Section; I will address several messages as follows:

The first message is an appeal to the Muslim ummah in the Arabian Peninsula, in Yemen and in the Land of the Two Holy Mosques [Saudi Arabia], to rise up against the unjust tyrants who turned the cradle of Islam and its source of support into bases for the Crusader campaign on Islam and Muslims.

[ 01:01:45 to 01:07:50: Excerpts from Anwar al-Awlaki video statement titled "To make it known and clear to mankind, and not to hide it," processed by OSC as GMP20101108208006: These guardians, from kings, to Amirs, to presidents, are not fit to guide the nation. They are not fit to guide a herd of sheep, let alone a billion Muslims. They are not qualified to chair a company, let alone be entrusted with the resources of a nation. They are not capable of managing contracting company, let alone managing the affairs of a kingdom that spreads from China to Morocco, a kingdom that controls strategic lines, global trade, and the most vital straits in the world. O scholars of the ummah, Islam says to obey the leaders for the sake of preserving Islam. How can that be if the leader is the one who fights Islam? Is it conceivable that Islam says to obey the one who diligently seeks to fight religion? Islam says to obey the leader in order to protect and defend Muslims, and preserve their selves, honor, and riches. How can that be if the leader is the one who fights his people for the interests of the enemy? Islam says to obey the leader and to conceal the secrets of Muslims that the enemy is diligently striving to view. How can that be if the leader is the one who spies on the Muslims for the benefit of the enemy? How can that be if the leader is the one who works as spy for the United States? What kind of leaders are these, who stole billions from Muslims under the pretext of building the army? Then, when the army is mobilized to perform its duty to defend the country, the leader says that the army is incapable of doing so,

and that it is necessary to seek the help of the United States. If this leader is incapable of defending Muslims, he should abandon his position so that the country may be ruled by people who are more capable than he is. Those who are more able to guard, protect, and revive the nation after decades of Western extortion and collaborating governance are the mujahidin, who have become experienced through war and groomed through battle. Our brothers in the Mujahidin Youth Movement in Somalia have proven their competence in managing the affairs of the country according to Islamic Shari'ah. The Taliban in Afghanistan are teaching the strongest army in the world, upon which the rulers depend for their defense, about resistance and maneuvers. Every time the United States comes up with a plan, the men of Taliban foil it. Muslims today are passing through a critical point and a fateful phase of history, and only the people endowed with trustworthiness, bravery, self-sacrifice, political cunning, and military experience are fit to lead it. These attributes do not exist in those who are in power today. These leaders who are untrustworthy, cowardly towards the West, brave against their own people, who are the last to sacrifice, and whose political cunning does not exceed the arts of treachery and collaboration. They do not have any military experience and are not qualified to fight. They are a people who belong to palaces and pleasures. Certain things must be done. First: Demonstrate the true juridical description of the leaders of the Islamic world. Their treason regarding the confidence that has been entrusted to them must be revealed. It must be demonstrated that they are leading the nation to the abyss, that they are not upholding the interest of anybody except their own and that of their US masters, and that they are dragging us into the swamp of US control. None but the mujahidin remain. They are the hope and the last rope for salvation. If it is severed, the US-Zionist plan to completely occupy the Muslim nation will be accomplished. In this campaign of theirs, they are not attacking a country, but the entire ummah. Either we support the mujahidin and gain everything, or we forsake them and lose everything. The rulers fell a long time ago. They never stood on the side of the ummah to begin with fo r us to say that they have fallen. They were agents ever since their attainment of power and are still up to this day. Many of the scholars, to whom people turn during crisis, seem to have chosen the safe approach. But the mujahidin are seek out the sound approach, and not the approach of safety. They raised the slogan: "Either Shari'ah or martyrdom." In conclusion, the role of a fatwa is to protect Islam, not the United States. The role of the fatwa is to protect Shari'ah rulings, not government rulings. The role of a scholar is to declare the truth, not to cover for the rulers and search for a way out for them whenever they fall into disaster. If a scholar is incapable of declaring the truth under the pretext of duress, we call on Muslims to follow scholars who do not fear the reproaches of anyone. As for those scholars who consider the ruler to be correct in everything and the mujahidin wrong in everything: They are the scholars of the sultan, so be wary of them.]

[ 01:07:50 to 01:10:12: Al-Zawahiri:]

And I affirm to our people and brothers, the dear Yemeni people that we are with them in their uprising against injustice, tyranny, corruption, and dependency. We are with them in their rejection of

the regime that is subservient to the United States, which turned Yemen into a colony for the US Crusader forces that kill there whomever they please, arrest whomever they please, interrogate whomever they please, and take for their own whatever they please. The pure blood that was shed in Change Square and elsewhere will not go to waste, God willing. This blood was shed on orders from the United States, which is striving to preserve the corrupt regime that is beholden to it out of fear of the Islamic transformation in a Yemen of belief and wisdom that has been liberated from the great criminals. Be steadfast, O people of Yemen, O people of support, pride, honor, sacrifice, and experience, for you are engaged in the battle of the ummah on one of its most important fronts. We are with you in the same battle, so be steadfast and patient, for the support of God is near, by His will and aid.

The second message is to the Muslim ummah in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Algeria, and Jordan: The mujahidin are with you, and they support you in your rage and uprisings and intifadahs. They are fighting with you in the same battle against the United States in its Crusader campaign and against its proxies. Every victory for the mujahidin gives strength and support to you for reform and change toward the victory of the ummah over dependency, tyranny, and corruption.

The third message is for the Muslim ummah everywhere: The United States is staggering, thanks be to God, under the strikes of the mujahidin. Act, rise up, and resist the United States and its supporters with your tongues, your hands, and your money. Shatter the bonds of fear and concern for the worldly life. Do not fear the enemies of Islam. Listen to the words of God Almighty: "Do ye fear them? Nay, it is Allah Whom ye should more justly fear, if ye believe!" [partial Koranic verse, Al-Tawbah, 9:13]

Our final supplication is praise be to God, the Lord of all creation. Prayers and peace be upon our master Muhammad, his household, and his companions. May the prayers, mercy, and blessings of God be upon you.

[The audio ends with a caption of a saying by Caliph Umar Bin-alKhattab that reads: "We are a people, whom God honored with Islam, and thus we will never seek honor with anything other than Islam." Another caption at the bottom of the screen reads: "Al-Sahab Establishment for Media Production - 1432, (corresponding to 2011)"]

[To view the vernacular, click here.]

[Description of Source: Ansar al-Mujahidin Network in Arabic -Relatively new Salafi-jihadist web forum with a focus on global jihad, online since 2008; site correspondents reliably post Al-Qa'ida and affiliate messaging; URL: www.as-ansar.com/vb]

Egypt: Report Discloses Telephone Bugging Operations By Former Inteior Minister

GMP20110404035004 Egyptwindow in Arabic 04 Apr 11 - 05 Apr 11

[Unattributed report: "al-Adili bugs the telephones of leading figures of the MB Group, his collegues, ministers, governors, the prosecutor general and opposition figures."]

The al-Ahram website quoted sources which it did not disclose as saying that former Interior Minister, Maj Gen Habib al-Adili, had instructed that telephone bugging should be under his immediate supervision and that he used to request the communications sector to provide him with the names of cabinet ministers, politicians, governors, and businessmen, to determine their activities without the knowledge of any official at the security services.

Modern devises were used in the bugging operations costing well over EGYP 50 million in the absence of the law and under the pretext of protection of national security.

The sources said that among the figures who were bugged were former MB General Guide Muhammad Mahdi Akif, incumbent MB General Guide Muhammad Badi, Dr Isam al-Uryan, Dr Muhammad Mursi, and Dr Sa'd al-Katatni of the MB Group.

They also included Prosecutor General Abd-al-Majid Mahmud, former Justice Minister Mamduh Mar'I, Arab League Secretary General Amr Musa, Dr Muhammad ElBaradei, Hamadayn Sibahi, and Ayman Nur.

The figures whose telephones were bugged also included a number of former ministers such as Faruq Husni, Anas al-Fiqqi, Ahmad alMughrabi, Zuhayr Jaranah, Ahmad Abu-al-Ghayt, Muhammad Ibrahim

Sulayman, former Interior Minister Maj Gen Hasan al-Alfi, and several former and incumbent officials of the interior ministry.

The figures bugged also included Karam Zuhdi, Najih Ibrahim, Isam Darbalah, Hamdi Abd-al-Rahman, Safwat Abd-al-Ghani and a long list of businessmen, movie actors and actresses, political activists, opposition and political party figures, presenters of satellite channel programs, jurists, lawyers, and former and incumbent judges.

The figures whose telephones were bugged also included a number of governors, including Alexandria Governor Maj Gen Adil Labib, former Kafr al-Shaykh Governor Maj Gen Salah Salamah, and Asyut Governor Maj Gen Nabil al-Arabi.

The competent authorities are currently destroying all the recordings because they violated the law and because they involved personal matters. Moreover, there was no need to keep them. Another reason for destroying these recordings was to forestall the leak of any of these recordings to someone else. However, all recordings pertaining to the issues of terrorism and national security were kept.

[Description of Source: Cairo Egyptwindow in Arabic-- One of the oldest Muslim Brotherhood (MB) sites, it provides information on the latest MB-related developments in Egypt and the biographies of MB leaders; covers Islamic international affairs and other religious topics; publishes some original material, including news reports, analytical pieces, and religious articles by prominent MB members; also carries news items from various mainstream sources like AlJazirah, Al-Arabiyah, Al-Misriyun, Masrawy, Al-Wafd, IslamOnline, and Agence France Press; URL: http://www.egyptwindow.net]

Shari'ah Committee Member on 'Role' of Muslims in Post-Mubarak Egypt

GMP20110224405002 Minbar al-Tawhid wal-Jihad in Arabic 23 Feb 11

[Q and A with Shaykh Abu-al-Walid al-Maqdisi, Shari'ah Committee Member: "What is our role now as Muslims in Egypt after the

resignation of its tyrant?"-- posted directly to the Minbar al-Tawhid wal-Jihad website.]

Peace be upon you. What is our role now as Muslims in Egypt after the resignation of its tyrant?

Questioner: Amma Al-Jabbar Responder: The Minbar Shari'ah Committee

May the peace, mercy and blessings of God be upon you. In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate...Positive outcomes are only for the devout. Transgression is only against the tyrants and the arrogant. There is no power or strength without God, the Great, the Highest. May the prayers of God be upon His messenger, who was sent as a mercy to the world, and upon his family, friends, companions and followers.

There is no doubt that the pharaonic tyrant who suffocated the people of Egypt for thirty years, wasted the country's resources and its generations, trashed its values and morals, and ruined its faith and honor, also spread injustice. He pushed away any attempts by the people to reform the system, which has yielded rampant corruption, destruction, immorality and rottenness. For decades, his shortsightedness only evidenced his great oversight and negligence. This tyrant represents a long chain of dictators who have suffocated this ummah ever since the time of Muhammad Ali and his children. His shortsightedness proved the extent of his corrupt regime, which is impossible to radically reform in the direction desired by God or by the people who seek to be lifted from injustice. That is because injustice cannot be eliminated without the dominance of shari'ah and people's prayers to God, Lord of the Worlds. Therefore, one cannot blame the people revolting against the tyrants of the age. They seek to have an honorable life, quench their thirst, save themselves from loss and hunger, limit the extreme corruption permeating the institutions of the state, and free themselves from the constraints of injustice.

But the true blame, which is not really being addressed by the majority of people, lies in not seeking radical change at the roots of the system. Such radical change guarantees people true security and peace. It restores their lost honor and pride. It offers opportunities in life and and possibilities to accumulate wealth without humiliation and dishonor. God said: "Let them adore the Lord of this house, who provides them with food against hunger, and with security against fear (of danger)," [Koranic verse, Quraysh, 106:3-4]. He also said: "If the people of the towns had but believed and feared Allah, we should indeed have opened out to them (all kinds of) blessings from heaven

and earth," [partial Koranic verse, Al-A'raf, 7:96]. He further said: "If only they had stood fast by the Law, the Gospel, and all the revelation that was sent to them from their Lord, they would have enjoyed happiness from every side," [partial Koranic verse, AlMa'idah, 5:66]. God also said: "Such is the admonition given to him who believes in Allah and the Last Day. And for those who fear Allah, He (ever) prepares a way out," [partial Koranic verse, Al-Talaq, 65:2]. He also said: "(It teacheth) that ye should worship none but Allah. (Say): Verily I am (sent) unto you from Him to warn and to bring glad tidings (and to preach thus). Seek ye the forgiveness of your Lord, and turn to Him in repentance, that He may grant you enjoyment, good (and true), for a term appointed, and bestow His abounding grace on all who abound in merit! But if ye turn away, then I fear for you the penalty of a great day," [Koranic verse, Hud, 11:23]. In addition to that, God said: "Ask forgiveness from your Lord, for He is Oft-Forgiving. He will send rain to you in abundance, give you increase in wealth and sons, and bestow on you gardens and bestow on you rivers (of flowing water)," [partial Koranic verse, Nuh, 71:1012]. God also said: "And O my people! Ask forgiveness of your Lord, and turn to Him (in repentance). He will send you the skies pouring abundant rain, and add strength to your strength, so turn ye not back in sin!" [Koranic verse, Hud, 71:52]

Abu-Hurayrah reported that the prophet, peace be upon him, said: "Establishing the laws of God on earth is better for people than thirty or forty days of rain." This was also reported by Ahmad, AlNisa'i, and Ibn-Majah. Abu-Hurayrah also reported that the prophet, peace be upon him, said: "Your esteemed Lord says: If my worshipers obey me, I will send rain to them at night, shine the sun on them in the day, and I wouldn't let them hear the sound of thunder," ([Hadith] reported by Ahmad). Fear, security, blessings and wealth, then, are all in the hands of God the Great. Achieving the desired peace and asking for decent earnings cannot come to pass without worshiping God the Great and making others do the same for God, Lord of the Worlds. Worshiping God the Great is the only means to find safety from hunger and honest ways to make a decent living. Making people worship God and establishing the shari'ah is the only way to spread peace and security and dissipate fear over religion, self, money and honor. Controlling evil, limiting corruption, weakening tyrants, and strengthening the weak and those who are fearful is a desired demand for every person who is sane and wise. It is a divine quest to eradicate evil, cleanse the earth from corruption, force the arrogant tyrants to relinquish power, lift humiliation from the Muslims, push people to launch jihad against the aggressors, and spread justice and religion. Such a divine quest is also rooted in faith, and therefore should be called for with force while pushing people toward it with wisdom and kind preaching. God said: "And (we also saved) Abraham. Behold, he said to his people, serve Allah and fear Him. That will be best for you, if ye understand! For ye do worship idols besides Allah, and ye invent falsehood. The things that ye worship besides Allah have no power to give you sustenance. Then seek ye sustenance from Allah. Serve Him and be grateful to Him. To Him will be your return," [Koranic verse, AlAnkabut, 29: 16-17].

It is disappointing to witness the absence of true monotheists in the situations that define the destiny of peoples. There is a huge and obvious absence of proper Islamic action in these ongoing events due to the suppression practiced by tyrants, past and present. Therefore, our duty is to initiate participation in these current events. This is a rare and unparalleled opportunity that will not happen again. The path requires the unification of monotheists so they can lead and direct their groups, instead of the other way around. It is important that they seize this opportunity before it is too late, instead of waiting to see events unfolding before their eyes as spectators. This cannot be done without an organized group effort. This may be too hard to accomplish on a large scale, but there are small numbers of students and the youths who can make it happen. They can lead hundreds of people in the near future. For that to happen, however, they should properly prepare themselves and coordinate well with each other. This can also happen in line with the efforts of dedicated Muslims in regions like the Sinai and Upper Egypt. Those groups can be so wellorganized militarily that in the future they could be capable of shaking up a tyrant regime in its entirety, particularly if they seized rare opportunities such as loose security, which can allow for these operations to take hold.

I call on Egyptian shaykhs who are dedicated and jealous [of their religion] to wake up from their deep sleep and lead the youths into action. They should take advantage of their uprising and public revolt so that both movements can coalesce into a wide public revolution, instead of being a sectarian uprising. It is not in the favor of monotheist brothers to continue to follow and watch TV and the internet without having any significant role to play in the course of events. This is not what is hoped from them, since they represent the hope of the coming ummah. People need to feel their presence, expect their good deeds, and anticipate and watch their actions. So do not disappoint the hopes of the ummah in you. Indeed, this mission might be hard to initiate in the beginning, but God, the Almighty, can make it happen if one is working hard to support His religion. God can pave the way and dissolve all obstacles, but you must first overcome this obstacle. And what is that obstacle? It involves your intention to initiate action, take the first step, and seize a convenient opportunity. After that, God will reward you with his conquests. I ask God to prepare for our people in Egypt a good outcome that supports those who obey God and humiliates those who do not-- an outcome that allows them to propagate virtue and prevent vice. May God be there to support his weakened worshipers. May God bring His anger and hate on them. May God unleash His wrath on the non-believers and tyrants and never enable them to have power over monotheist worshipers. May the prayers and peace of God be upon His worshiper and messenger, and upon his family and companions. Our last supplication is thanks be to God, Lord of the Worlds. --Shaykh Abu-al-Walid al-Maqdisi, Shari'ah Committee Member

[To view the vernacular, click here.]

[Description of Source: Minbar al-Tawhid wal-Jihad in Arabic -- Large repository of radical Salafi religious material; serves as official website for Jordanian Salafi cleric Abu-Muhammad al-Maqdisi, who was once the religious mentor to deceased Al-Qa'ida in Iraq leader AbuMus'ab al-Zarqawi; URL: www.tawhed.ws]

Hani Al-Siba'i Claims 'Detained Islamists on Hunger Strike in Egyptian Prisons'

GMP20110308103004 Shumukh al-Islam Network in Arabic 04 Mar 11

[Statement attributed to Dr Hani al-Siba'i, the Director of Al-Maqrizi Center for Historical Studies; dated 3 March: "More Than 60 Islamist Detainees Went on a Hunger Strike in Al-Aqrab Prison" -- "Murasil Markaz al-Maqrizi," user number 8344, posted the statement.]

Statement Number 18 in 1432, Corresponding to 2011

Save Them;

More Than 60 Islamist Detainees Went on a Hunger Strike in Al-Aqrab Prison

Written by Dr Hani al-Siba'i

[Al-Siba'i's e-mail address is posted here.]

The Director of Al-Maqrizi Center for Historical Studies

Al-Maqrizi Center has received a statement on 28 Rabi al-Awwal, corresponding to 3 March 2011. The statement confirms that more than 60 Islamists, in Al-Aqrab Prison in Turah area, have gone on a hunger strike until they are released. Al-Maqrizi Center has learned that all those who have gone on a hunger strike are detained according to the infamous emergency law. They are not accused of any charges, and

most of them have got several release decisions from the Egyptian courts of appeal. However, the abhorred emergency law granted the State Security Service the rights not to execute the judicial verdicts and circumvent them. Revoking the emergency law has been the main demand of the Egyptian revolution that toppled the head of the regime, the ousted tyrant Husni Mubarak.

Al-Maqrizi Center has learned that many of the detainees, who have gone on a hunger strike, suffer from chronic diseases and their health and psychological conditions are in constant deterioration because of the deliberate carelessness by the prison's administration.

These are the names of the brothers; next to each name you will find the name of the governorate and the date of admission, if known:

The Names of Detainees on a Hunger Strike at the Al-Aqrab MaximumSecurity Prison, in Turah:

1. Ahmad Jalal Zaki, Cairo, 2009

2. Hasan Abd-al-Fattah, Cairo, 2004

3. Sayyid Salah Ashur, Giza, 2004

4. Sa'id Abd-al-Aziz Makhluf, Cairo, 2009

5. Nabil Mustafa Sulayman Al-Sayyid, Ismailia, 2004

6. Abd-al-Sattar Mahmud Fayid, Suez

7. Sharif Kamal al-Din Mahmud, Cairo

8. Muhammad Jamal Ibrahim Husayn, Al-Mansurah

9. Majdi Mahmud Fua'd, Gharbiyah

10. Husayn Muhammad al-Hifnawi, Qalyubiyah

11. Ahmad Rajab Rajab Hasan, Cairo, 2010

12. Muhammad Abd-al-Dayim Ibrahim, Giza, 2004

13. Muhammad Taymur Jamal al-Din, Cairo, 2009

14. Amr al-Tahawi, Cairo,

15. Ashraf Basyuni, Cairo, 2009

16. Hasan Sallam Hasan Sallam, Ismailia, August 2005

17. Id Shitaiwi Silim Rashid, Ismailia, August 2005

18. Id Salim Id Hammad, Suez, August 2005

19. Abdallah Salim Sulayman, Southern Sinai, 2005

20. Sulayman Salim Sulayman, Southern Sinai, May 2005

The Following Names Are From Northern Sinai Governorate and They Have Gone on a Hunger Strike:

21. Muhammad Salamah Hammad Ahmad, 2005

22. Ahmad Rabi Salamah, 2005

23. Salih Sulayman Abu-Mashi, 2005

24. Awdah Shihtah Awdah (the following is his brother,)

25. Muhammad Shihtah Awdah

26. Yusuf Iyadah Sulayman (the following is his brother,)

27. Hamdan Iyadah Sulayman

28. Abd-al-Aziz Husayn Muhaysin Iradah

29. Abdallah Salim al-Shanub

30. Mubarak Isma'il Mubarak

31. Walid Muhammad Salim Qurayh

32. Ayid Awdah Ayid

33. Abdallah Sa'id Sulayman Abu-Jarir

34. As'ad Muhammad Id

35. Muhammad Ibrahim Salman

36. Abdallah Ahmad Salim Al-Azm

37. Hamdan Muhammad Hamdan

38. Id Jum'ah Subayh

39. Hasan Sa'id Islayim, 2006

40. Muhammad Sulayman Awdah Subayh

41. Husayn Id Salim Atiq

42. Yasir Salih Mutlaq

43. Yahya Muhammad Salim

44. Sa'id Salim Sulayman Id

45. Majid Ahmad Ali Hamad

46. Abd-al-Hafiz Muhammad Hamad Husayn

47. Abd-al-Qadir Suwaylam Sulayman

48. Khalid Muhsin Muhammad Hilal

49. Id Ziray'i Silmi

50. Abdallah Salim al-Burayk

51. Muhammad Hadi Salim Suwaylim

52. Ihab Ahmad Muhammad Abd-al-Qadir

53. Yusuf Salim Hammad Mutair (the following is his brother,)

54. Salman Salim Hammad Mutair

55. Abdallah Salim Sa'd

56. Sulayman Salim Hammad Sulayman, August 2005

57. Ahmad Hamid, 2006

58. Muhammad Shihtah Mahmud Hamid (Palestinian,) 2006

Detainees at the Al-Wadi Al-Jadid Prison:

59. Hani Hasan Rashid

60. Fu'ad Salih Salim

61. Yusuf Salamah Turkman

According to the above-mentioned:

Al-Maqrizi Center emphasizes that according to what we had mentioned in previous statements; the Egyptian revolution has been abducted. The most important demand of the people have been to dissolve the State Security Service, to indict its officers and secret agents, to revoke the emergency law and its subsequent procedures and trials, to revoke the military courts, and to revoke retroactively the verdicts issued by them.

We also call upon the organizations concerned with human rights to intervene quickly to save those detainees, who have gone on a hunger strike in the Al-Aqrab Prison. We demand their immediate release along with those who were sentenced with exceptional or military verdicts under the former regime, and the indictment of those who are responsible for the continued detention of those Islamists.

Al-Maqrizi Center for Historical Studies,

28 Rabi al-Awwal 1432,

3 March 2011.

[A link to the official website of Al-Maqrizi Center for Historical Studies is provided here.]

[To view the vernacular, click here.]

[Description of Source: Shumukh al-Islam Network in Arabic -- Salafijihadist, pro-Iraqi insurgency web forum with a focus on global jihad; established in April 2007; served as official online dissemination point for Al-Qa'ida and affiliate messaging since late 2008; URL: www.shamikh1.net/vb]

Egypt Said Deploys Troops, Tanks in Northern Sinai 'in Coordination With Israel'

GMP20110814740005 Tel Aviv Haaretz.com in English 1257 GMT 14 Aug 11

[Report by Anshel Pfeffer: "Egypt Deploys Thousands of Troops and Tanks in Sinai, in Coordination With Israel"]

Egypt, in coordination with Israel, has deployed its military in the northern Sinai Peninsula in order to gain control over the anarchy that has taken hold of the region, a senior Israeli defense official said on Sunday.

Egyptian troops escorted by tanks entered the Sinai Peninsula region on Friday in an attempt to put an end to the anarchy that has erupted there since the fall of the Mubarak regime.

The aim of the operation was to halt Bedouin control of the northern Sinai area, which allows for the transfer of weapons to the Gaza Strip through underground tunnels.

The Israeli government approved the operation, which places Egyptian infantry, armored vehicles, and tanks in Sinai in contravention with the 1978 Camp David Accords.

This is the second time Israel has approved an Egyptian operation in Sinai in recent months.

Meanwhile, foreign media reported Sunday that a senior Israeli defense official came to Cairo on Saturday to discuss the situation on the Egypt-Israel border, as well as the abducted IDF soldier Gilad Shalit held by Hamas in Gaza.

In July, five people were killed when dozens of gunmen tried to storm a police station in al-Arish. The gunmen and hundreds more, reported to be Islamists, were wearing black and carrying black flags reading "There is no God but God."

Egypt's military has detained 15 people suspected of involvement in clashes between gunmen and police in northern Sinai, including 10 Palestinians.

Following the attack flyers were distributed in the peninsula, threatening more attacks on police. The flyers were signed "Al-Qaida in Sinai."

[Description of Source: Tel Aviv Haaretz.com in English -- Website of English-language version of Ha'aretz, left-of-center, independent daily of record; URL: http://www.haaretz.com]

Upped Military Presence in Sinai Said 'Clearly in Israel's Security Interest'

GMP20110815746005 Tel Aviv Haaretz.com in English 15 Aug 11

[Report by Tzvi Bar'el and Anshel Pfeffer: "With Israel's Okay, Egypt Beefs Up Military Presence in Sinai Peninsula"]

Egypt moved nearly 2,000 soldiers into Sinai late last week in an operation aimed at bringing the peninsula under control after months marked by near anarchy in the peninsula.

The Egyptian move was coordinated in advance with Israel, since the transfer of troops into Sinai exceeds the limits set by the Camp David peace agreement between the two countries.

The Egyptian forces were brought into Sinai on Friday in an effort to quell Bedouin tribes and Islamists identifying themselves with AlQaida who have taken over portions of the northern peninsula and attacked police stations there during the past few weeks.

Since the downfall of Egyptian strongman Hosni Mubarak in February, the Egyptian authorities' hold on Sinai has become increasingly tenuous. The natural gas pipeline connecting Egypt and Israel has been attacked multiple times, and there has been a substantial uptick in arms and other items being smuggled into the Gaza Strip through tunnels along the Philadelphi strip near Rafah.

Israel and the United States reportedly asked the Supreme Military Council, which currently holds power in Egypt, to take action to prevent further attacks on the gas pipeline, and to put down radical Islamist activities in Sinai.

The military reinforcements are said to be part of a military operation, named Operation Eagle, to track down those behind the attacks.

In July, five people were killed when dozens of gunmen tried to storm a police station in el-Arish. The gunmen and hundreds more, reported

to be Islamists, were wearing black and carrying black flags reading "There is no God but Allah."

Egypt's military has detained 15 people suspected of involvement in clashes between gunmen and police in northern Sinai, including 10 Palestinians.

Following the attack, flyers were distributed in the peninsula, threatening more attacks on police. The flyers were signed "Al-Qaida in Sinai." According to reports from Egypt, the force brought into Sinai numbers about 2,000 soldiers from the Second Infantry Division, supported by tanks and armored personnel carriers.

The governor of northern Sinai, Abdel Wahad Mabrouk, said that "the security deployment is purely for defensive purposes."

Amos Gilad, director of policy and political-military affairs at the Defense Ministry, traveled to Egypt yesterday for a few hours of discussions with Egyptian officials. Among the subjects on the agenda was the security operation in the Sinai, as well as Palestinian reconciliation talks, and the case of kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, held by Hamas in Gaza.

The Camp David agreement between Israel and Egypt restricts the movement of troops and armored vehicles into Sinai, but a senior Israeli security source explained that permission was granted because it is "clearly in Israel's security interest."

The move marks the second time since Mubarak's fall that Israel agreed to allow its neighbor to reinforce its security presence in the peninsula.

In addition to the attacks on the police station in el-Arish, three powerful Bedouin tribes in the northern peninsula have been active in smuggling activities with nearly no opposition.

Last night, some 1,000 troops and police, reinforced by armored vehicles, arrived at el-Arish. Several weeks ago, following the fourth attack on the gas pipeline, Egypt stepped up security significantly, but the troop movement signals a new stage in Cairo's fight to regain control of the peninsula.

The security operations are due to begin in the coming days, with the aim of sending out a clear message that Egypt considers the security of the gas pipeline as part of its commitment to maintaining the agreement with Israel.

Senior Egyptian officials who gave interviews in recent weeks to the Egyptian media made it clear that Cairo has the right to raise the issue of the price, which many in Egypt feel is too low, but does not intend to cancel the agreement or any agreement that the state has signed with Israel.

The arrival of Egyptian security forces has led dozens of wanted men to flee to the lawless area of Jabal al-Halal, in central Sinai. Security forces have had problems controlling the area in the past, making it a haven for fugitives.

Six years ago, Egypt tried to counter the armed activities of Bedouin and radical groups, with mass arrests, however, this led to friction between the approximately 360,000 Bedouin in Sinai and the authorities.

At the time, the Egyptian authorities claimed that the operations were targeting Al-Qaida, but many Bedouin said that the government was mistreating them and refusing to treat them as equal citizens.

[Description of Source: Tel Aviv Haaretz.com in English -- Website of English-language version of Ha'aretz, left-of-center, independent daily of record; URL: http://www.haaretz.com]

Article: Rising Radicalization of Sinai Bedouin Bound To Endanger Israel's Security

GMP20110815746006 Jerusalem The Jerusalem Post Online in English 15 Aug 11

[Commentary by Alex Joffe, research scholar with the Institute for Jewish and Community: "The Post-Mubarak Sinai"]

The Sinai Peninsula is known for its stillness. But amid the timeless mountains and endless dunes, the great crossroad between Africa and Asia is more active today, and potentially more explosive, than at any time in its history.

Egypt's "Mexico" Problem, writes Abigail Hauslohner of Time. Governor Mourad Mwafi likens the Egypt-Gaza border to the US-Mexican border, and his security challenges to US terrorism challenges.

"Increasingly Lawless" writes BBC News. "I feel we are going toward a civil war here in Sinai," said one Beduin man.

In July, the natural-gas pipeline across the Sinai from Egypt was blown up for the fifth time this year, causing major disruptions to both the Israeli and Jordanian economies. Unidentified gunmen also attacked a police station in the northern Sinai town of El-Arish, leaving five dead. Egyptian authorities claimed the attackers were waving black flags and carrying copies of the Koran.

This surging unrest has serious implications for Israel, and not just because of the hundreds of thousands of Israeli tourists traveling each year to Sinai in spite of warnings of possible terrorist attacks. The Egyptian authorities and some outside observers periodically attribute the escalating unrest to al-Qaida. Given earlier evidence of Hezbollah squads in Sinai, and the frequent Israeli alerts imploring citizens to return, there is little doubt that the security vacuum is allowing more Islamist groups to operate in the region. A recent video posted by "al-Qaida of the Sinai Peninsula" (most likely Palestinian Salafis opposed to Hamas) demonstrates the power of the al-Qaida name, if nothing else.

One great unknown is how many outsiders from al-Qaida and other Islamist groups have taken up residence in Sinai. But another great unknown is how many Sinai Beduin have joined them.

Forty years ago, Sinai Beduin numbered under 40,000. Today the peninsula is home to between 100,000 and 200,000, along with native Egyptians who have been resettled in the northwest area or who work at the southern resorts, plus tens of thousands of Palestinians in northeast Sinai near Gaza. Thousands of Africans refugees are also crossing the Sinai annually en route to Israel.

Whatever their origins -- most Beduin tribes are relative latecomers to Sinai, having arrived between 300 and 500 years ago from Arabia or to a lesser extent from Egypt --the Beduin typically proclaim loyalty to Egypt (at least when in the presence of Egyptian officials).

Of course, there are also Beduin within Israel, where many identify themselves as Palestinians -- an identity that helps them publicize their many claims against the Israeli government. For the moment, most Sinai Beduin seem to give their loyalty primarily to their particular tribes.

The history here is instructive. After Israel returned Sinai to Egypt in 1982, the region languished until the 1990s, when a series of Islamist attacks at major sites in Egypt proper, like Luxor in the Nile Valley, cut deeply into tourism. In response, Egypt began investing massively in tourist infrastructure, particularly at Sharm el-Sheikh and other Red Sea resorts. Europeans streamed in for scuba diving, casinos and beach life, and the area achieved some significance as the site of international meetings.

Local Beduin benefited from this buildup, primarily as unskilled laborers. But systematic discrimination on the part of Egyptians kept them from filling the ranks of the army, police or civil service as well as jobs in the tourist establishments.

When bombings at Red Sea resorts in 2004 and 2006 killed 130 people, including Egyptians and foreign tourists -- Palestinian Islamists appear to have been responsible -- thousands of Beduin were rounded up. Further drawing Egyptian ire was the willingness of Beduin smugglers to transport weapons to Hamas in Gaza, smuggle drugs to Israel, and engage in human trafficking of African refugees.

In recent years, relations have been poisoned by accusations that Egyptian security officials torture and murder Beduin suspects.

But now the Egyptian security presence has dramatically diminished. One immediate consequence is that arms struggling across Sinai into Gaza, a longstanding problem and an enterprise in which the Beduin have historically played a central role, has intensified. More arms, including heavy weapons and explosives from, allegedly, as far away as Libya have been transported to Gaza. After the pipeline bombing in February, Egypt received permission from Israel to modify the terms of its peace treaty and deploy two additional army battalions in Sinai. But this has contributed little to the region's safety. Recent news that Beduin have been hired to guard the gas pipeline point to another explanation for at least some of the violence: a protection racket.

Looking to their own security, the Beduin are also preparing for confrontations on all sides. To what extent are they also being radicalized by the forces of global jihad, and attaching themselves to the Islamists? That is still unknown. What is all too clear is that the sudden withdrawal of Egyptian security has permitted Sinai Beduin to return openly to the raiding, smuggling, kidnapping, protection rackets and feuding that are their historic avocation, only temporarily suppressed by the Ottoman Turks, the British, the Israelis and the Egyptians.

Even if they are not becoming radicalized, Sinai Beduin have long been willing to sell their services to Islamists, who are now ascendant throughout the post-Arab spring world. If the teetering Egyptian economy collapses further and more Egyptians are pushed toward Islamism, the tide will carry along more Sinai Beduin as well. This year, Israel announced that it would build a fence along the entire 160-mile border between the Negev and the Sinai.

But fence or no fence, that rising southern tide is bound to imperil the security of the Jewish state.

[Description of Source: Jerusalem The Jerusalem Post Online in English -- Website of right-of-center, independent daily; URL: http://www.jpost.co.il]

North Sinai governor denies presence of Al-Qaeda in governorate

GMP20110531966081 Cairo Al-Masry Al-Youm Online in English 1158 GMT 31 May 11

[Collected by webscraper and Auto selected and released without editorial intervention.] PAGE: http://www.almasryalyoum.com/en/node/457337

TITLE: North Sinai governor denies presence of Al-Qaeda in governorate

SECTION: Top Stories AUTHOR: PUBDATE: Mon, 30/05/2011 - 14:27

(AL-MASRY AL-YOUM) -

North Sinai Governor Abdel Wahab Mabrouk on Monday denied reports that security services are surveying over 400 individuals who allegedly belong to Al-Qaeda.

The governor told reporters that these are rumors, and Al-Qaeda presence in North Sinai is unlikely because the region is tightly controlled.

Egyptian satellite TV channel Al-Hayah had quoted security sources as saying that a group of Bedouins, Palestinians and different Arab nationals affiliated with Al-Qaeda were planning terrorist acts in Egypt.

The sources told Al-Hayah that security is keeping the alleged members under surveillance and preventing them from carrying out their plans until arrests are made.

But Mabrouk said no security officials had made any such statements.

Translated from the Arabic Edition

[Description of Source: Cairo Al-Masry Al-Youm Online in English -English language version of Al-Misri al-Yawm, Egypt's respected independent pro-reform daily that focuses on domestic political issues; largest-circulation independent publication, especially widely read among youth; URL: http://www.almasryalyoum.com/en]

National security studies possibility of Al-Qaeda attacks in Egypt

GMP20110605966106 Cairo Al-Masry Al-Youm Online in English 1546 GMT 05 Jun 11

[Collected by webscraper and Auto selected and released without editorial intervention.] PAGE: http://www.almasryalyoum.com/en/node/462439

TITLE: National security studies possibility of Al-Qaeda attacks in Egypt SECTION: Top Stories AUTHOR: PUBDATE: Fri, 03/06/2011 - 15:10

(AL-MASRY AL-YOUM) -

General Hamid Abdallah, head of the Egyptian National Security Agency, said that Cairo is studying the possibility that Al-Qaeda would execute an attack in Egypt given the country's recently lax security.

In a statement to the London-based Al-Sharq Al-Awsat newspaper, Abdallah said that the Egyptian National Security Agency began its counter-terrorism and intelligence activities inside and outside of Egypt by looking into the new internal structure of Al-Qaeda after the recent death of Osama Bin Laden at the hands of American forces in Pakistan. The agency is also considering the possibility Al-Qaeda will plan and execute terrorist operations in Egypt given the security vacuum that resulted from recent unrest.

Abdallah added that Egypt continues to cooperate with other Arab countries to combat terrorism and organized crime.

Abdallah denied the presence of Al-Qaeda elements in the Sinai Peninsula or any other region in Egypt. He described recent reports regarding the infiltration of 400 Al-Qaeda members with Asian and Arab nationalities as “media tampering.” Abdallah made it clear that the agency recently tightened its hold on all of the country’s legal entry points that terrorists might use to enter Egypt under pseudonyms.

Abdallah stressed that the country’s illegal entry points, namely from the Eastern border through the Sinai Peninsula, are handled in cooperation with the military intelligence and the National Security Agency. The Egyptian National Security Agency only provides information to both of these agencies as it does not yet have an office in Sinai because of deteriorating security conditions there.

[Description of Source: Cairo Al-Masry Al-Youm Online in English -English language version of Al-Misri al-Yawm, Egypt's respected independent pro-reform daily that focuses on domestic political issues; largest-circulation independent publication, especially widely read among youth; URL: http://www.almasryalyoum.com/en]

Egypt: Army Tanks Deploy in North Sinai 'For First Time Since Israeli Peace Treaty'

GMP20110815839001 Cairo Al-Masry Al-Youm Online in English 1405 GMT 14 Aug 11

[Report by Salah ElBoluk, translated from Al-Misri al-Yawm in Arabic: "Army tanks in N. Sinai for first time since Israeli peace treaty."]

For the first time since the signing of the peace agreement between Egypt and Israel in 1979, the Egyptian armed forces deployed army tanks around the cities of Arish, Sheikh Zuwaid and Rafah over the weekend.

The deployment was part of a broader armed forces initiative announced last week, aimed at re-establishing central government control over the Governorate of North Sinai, which has seen a spike in insurgent and criminal activities since the January uprising in Egypt. Under the initiative, military and police forces, including two brigades of special forces, were deployed to the cities of Arish, Sheikh Zuwaid and Rafah for the first time since the 25 January uprising.

The sight of army tanks on the streets of the border town of Rafah was a new one to many local residents. Under the provisions of the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty of 1979, the area near the border (known

as Area C) is demilitarized, and weaponry and military equipment are prohibited.

An official source said that Israeli authorities agreed to the entry of Egyptian armed forces to Rafah for a specific period in order to restore security in the border area.

Yahya Abu Nasira, a political activist and Rafah town resident said, "The most significant thing in this operation is the arrival of Egyptian troops to Area C. This brings great joy to all Sinai residents."

Major General Ahmed Gamal al-Din, assistant minister of interior for public security, said security would be imposed by force in Sinai if necessary.

During his meeting with Sinai tribal chiefs at the North Sinai Security Department on Saturday evening, Gamal al-Din warned that foreign agents were tampering with Sinai's security and attempting to drag it into a civil war.

Gamal al-Din called on the tribal chiefs to cooperate with the police to ensure the success of the operation against what he described as "outlaws".

The general went on to say that the Interior Ministry would clamp down on anyone tampering with Sinai's security, saying: "I warn anyone thinking of putting my officers' lives at risk; they will have no one to blame but themselves."

He went on to say that the attack on Arish police station on 29 July was not the work of Salafis. "Other non-Salfi elements were involved. We know them by name, identified them and we will arrest them," he said.

He also denied the existence of any alleged al-Qaeda groups in Sinai.

Translated from the Arabic Edition [as published]

[Description of Source: Cairo Al-Masry Al-Youm Online in English -English language version of Al-Misri al-Yawm, respected independent pro-reform daily; largest-circulation independent publication; URL: http://www.almasryalyoum.com/en]

Egypt: Army Deploys Tanks in North Sinai

FEA20110815020918 - OSC Feature - Al-Masry Al-Youm Online 1405 GMT 14 Aug 11

Egypt deployed tanks in the North Sinai over the weekend 12-13 August. The deployment was part of a broader armed forces initiative aimed at reestablishing government control over the North Sinai, which has seen a spike in insurgent and criminal activities since the revolution.

Under the provisions of the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty of 1979 the area is demilitarized. An official source said that Israeli authorities agreed to the entry of Egyptian armed forces to the border town of Rafah for a specific period in order to restore security. Meeting with Sinai tribal chiefs at the North Sinai Security Department on 13 August, Assistant Minister of Interior for Public Security Major General Jamal al-Din said that foreign agents were tampering with Sinai's security and attempting to drag it into a civil war. He also denied the existence of Al-Qa'ida groups in the area.

Tribal leaders reportedly issued a statement to show their solidarity with the army, saying: "We, the tribal chiefs, families and youths of Sinai declare that we, the armed forces and the police are in one trench against all law breakers."

An article from Al-Masry Al-Youm follows below.

Report by Salah ElBoluk, translated from Al-Misri al-Yawm in Arabic: "Army tanks in N. Sinai for first time since Israeli peace treaty."

For the first time since the signing of the peace agreement between Egypt and Israel in 1979, the Egyptian armed forces deployed army tanks around the cities of Arish, Sheikh Zuwaid and Rafah over the weekend.

The deployment was part of a broader armed forces initiative announced last week, aimed at re-establishing central government control over the Governorate of North Sinai, which has seen a spike in insurgent and criminal activities since the January uprising in Egypt. Under the initiative, military and police forces, including two brigades of special forces, were deployed to the cities of Arish, Sheikh Zuwaid and Rafah for the first time since the 25 January uprising. The sight of army tanks on the streets of the border town of Rafah was a new one to many local residents. Under the provisions of the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty of 1979, the area near the border (known as Area C) is demilitarized, and weaponry and military equipment are prohibited.

An official source said that Israeli authorities agreed to the entry of Egyptian armed forces to Rafah for a specific period in order to restore security in the border area.

Yahya Abu Nasira, a political activist and Rafah town resident said, "The most significant thing in this operation is the arrival of Egyptian troops to Area C. This brings great joy to all Sinai residents."

Major General Ahmed Gamal al-Din, assistant minister of interior for public security, said security would be imposed by force in Sinai if necessary.

During his meeting with Sinai tribal chiefs at the North Sinai Security Department on Saturday evening, Gamal al-Din warned that foreign agents were tampering with Sinai's security and attempting to drag it into a civil war.

Gamal al-Din called on the tribal chiefs to cooperate with the police to ensure the success of the operation against what he described as "outlaws".

The general went on to say that the Interior Ministry would clamp down on anyone tampering with Sinai's security, saying: "I warn anyone thinking of putting my officers' lives at risk; they will have no one to blame but themselves."

He went on to say that the attack on Arish police station on 29 July was not the work of Salafis. "Other non-Salfi elements were involved. We know them by name, identified them and we will arrest them," he said.

He also denied the existence of any alleged al-Qaeda groups in Sinai.

Translated from the Arabic Edition [as published]

[Description of Source: Cairo Al-Masry Al-Youm Online in English -English language version of Al-Misri al-Yawm, respected independent pro-reform daily; largest-circulation independent publication; URL: http://www.almasryalyoum.com/en]

Officials: Egypt to target al Qaeda cells said to be training in Sinai

(CNN) -- Egyptian military and intelligence officials say they are preparing to launch an operation against al Qaeda cells that have recently been established in the restive Sinai peninsula.

While Egypt has seen a number of homegrown militant Islamist groups emerge and dissipate over the past 20 years, none has had clear organizational links with al Qaeda.

But senior officials told CNN that al Qaeda cells have now surfaced in northern Sinai, which has seen acts of sabotage and clashes between rival Salafist groups this year. Among the incidents, a gas pipeline to Israel was blown up several times.

The focus of their concern is the coastal area between el-Arish, a resort town of about 80,000 people on the Mediterranean, and Rafah on the border with Gaza.

"Al Qaeda is present in Sinai mainly in the area of Sakaska close to Rafah," a general in Egypt's intelligence service told CNN Thursday. "They have been training there for month, but we have not identified their nationalities yet."

The official said a military operation was imminent "to deter these armed groups."

"Units from the 2nd infantry division, with support from general security and the border guards," would take part in the operation, said the secretary general for North Sinai governorate, Gaber alAraby.

"We plan to clean out those criminal pockets around the area of Rafah and Sheikh Zuweid," al-Araby said.

A group claiming affiliation with al Qaeda has recently begun a propaganda campaign in the region, according to Egyptian officials.

The authority of the state has rarely carried much weight in the Sinai peninsula, where Bedouin tribes have great autonomy.

Gen. Abdel Wahab, the governor of North Sinai confirmed that a flier titled "Al Qaeda Sinai Branch" circulated outside a mosque in el-Arish on Wednesday. The document called for an Islamic state in Sinai and announced that the group was planning attacks on the police stations and security forces Friday.

"A security cordon has been placed around the entrances of el-Arish and reinforcements arrived outside the police stations and the elArish central prison in anticipation of an attack on Friday," said Hazem El Maadawi, an officer stationed outside the North Sinai police headquarters.

"Tomorrow is the big day," El Maadawi said, adding that he feared the worst.

At the end of last month, seven people were killed in clashes in elArish.

The clashes began after members of a militant Islamist group called Takfir wal-Hijra stormed a rally being held by another Salafist group outside a mosque.

Mohamed Mahmoud, who was among the protesters, told CNN; "The Takfiris stormed in by the hundreds mounted on pickup trucks and motorcycles waving black flags, a symbol of Jihad."

"The militants were heavily armed with machine guns, hand grenades and rocked-propelled grenades," he said. "They attacked two police stations and scared the residents under the name of Jihad. We only call for Jihad if someone attacks our Islamic country or people."

The head of security in North Sinai, Gen. Saleh al Masry, told CNN last week that Takfir-wal-Higra had become active during the revolution that led to the ousting of President Hosni Mubarak.

"The terrorists were joined by members of Palestinian factions and they are currently being questioned by military intelligence. We arrested 12 assailants including three Palestinians," al Masry said.

What's not clear is whether the Takfiris are part of -- or aligned with -- the al Qaeda cells said to be training in Sinai.

The new leader of al Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahiri, is Egyptian and before leaving his homeland in the mid-1980s, had similar views to Takfir about overthrowing the Egyptian state and replacing it with Islamic rule.

More recently al-Zawahiri has recorded several messages exhorting Salafists in Egypt to take advantage of the ousting of Mubarak.

In an audio message that appeared on Jihadist forums earlier this month, al- Zawahiri said: "I commend the heroes who blew up the gas pipeline to Israel. I ask Allah to reward them for their heroic act, for they have expressed the anger of the Islamic Ummah against this continuing crime from the reign of Hosni Mubarak to the rule of the Military Council."

Egyptian army detains 6 in Sinai Published yesterday (updated) 15/08/2011 17:35

EL-ARISH, Egypt (Ma’an) -- The Egyptian army carried out a series of security raids in the northern Sinai town of El-Arish early Monday, detaining six men suspected of affiliation to an extremist group.

Egyptian security sources told Ma'an that the military has a list of 15 men wanted for membership of Al-Qaeda style-organization "Army of Islam" in El-Arish.

The six apprehended overnight are suspected of trying to establish an Islamic emirate in the Sinai peninsula, and were taken to the Security Directorate in northern Sinai for questioning.

The sources said the army also has a list of 17 people wanted in the border town of Rafah, abutting the border with the Gaza Strip.

That list includes seven Palestinians affiliated with the "Army of Islam" through a Gaza group Jaljalat [Thunder.]

NOW Lebanon: Armed men rampage through Sinai city

GMP20110729966129 Beirut NOW Lebanon in English 1840 GMT 29 Jul 11

["Armed Men Rampage Through Sinai City" -- NOW Lebanon Headline]

[ Computer selected and disseminated without OSC editorial intervention ]

(NOW Lebanon) - Two people were wounded as dozens of armed men in cars waving flags with Islamic slogans rampaged through the North Sinai

city of Al-Arish on Friday, Egypt's state news agency MENA and witnesses said.

Around 150 men in trucks and on motorbikes fired their assault rifles into the air, forcing terrified residents into their homes, witnesses told AFP.

Waving black flags which read "There is no God but God," the men stormed through the city and tried to force their way into a police station but were confronted by policemen and soldiers.

MENA said two people, including an 11-year-old child, were wounded by the gunfire of the armed men.

-AFP/NOW Lebanon

[Description of Source: Beirut NOW Lebanon in English -- A privatelyfunded pro-14 March coalition, anti-Syria news website; URL: www.nowlebanon.com]

Xinhua 'Urgent': Three Dead, 12 Injured in Clashes in Northern Egypt

CPP20110729968242 Beijing Xinhua in English 1922 GMT 29 Jul 11

[Xinhua "Urgent": "Three Dead, 12 Injured in Clashes in Northern Egypt"]

[Computer selected and disseminated without OSC editorial intervention] CAIRO, July 29 (Xinhua) -- Three people were killed and 12 others injured in Arish city in the northern part of the Sinai Peninsula in clashes between masked men and police, a medical source told Xinhua on Friday.

[Description of Source: Beijing Xinhua in English -- China's official news service for English-language audiences (New China News Agency)]

Two Egyptians Killed As Gunmen Open Fire At Police Station

GMP20110729950036 Cairo MENA Online in English 1902 GMT 29 Jul 11

Text of report by Egyptian state-run news agency MENA website

Al-Arish, Egypt, 29 July: A group of masked gunmen opened fire at a police station in the North Sinai city of el-Arish, injuring several policemen.

The gunmen, riding four-wheel drives and motorcycles, showered alArish Thani police station with bullets, forcing the security forces to fire back.

A number of civilians were also wounded in the shooting, eyewitnesses said.

The injured were moved to hospital for treatment.

At least two civilians were killed and others injured in clashes between masked gunmen and security forces near el-Arish Thani police station in the North Sinai city of el-Arish.

Security sources said the two victims - one of them was 13-year-old child - were caught in the crossfire between the security forces and the militants, who attacked the police station.

Two police officers and three policemen were injured in the confrontation, the sources said.

[Description of Source: Cairo MENA Online in English -- Government news agency; URL: http://www.mena.org.eg]

Egyptian Army Arrests Suspects In Connection With Arish Incidents

GMP20110730950001 Cairo MENA Online in English 0539 GMT 30 Jul 11

Text of report by Egyptian state-run news agency MENA website

Cairo, 30 July: The Armed Forces have arrested four men suspected of being involved in the attack on the Arish police station in Sinai.

A military source said early Saturday that a fifth person was also arrested in an ambush as he was riding his car around the police station, adding that two machine guns were in his possession.

An army officer and three civilians were killed and 19 more were injured when masked gunmen opened fire at the Arish police station on Friday.

[Description of Source: Cairo MENA Online in English -- Government news agency; URL: http://www.mena.org.eg]

NOW Lebanon: Egyptian army detains five suspects in Sinai clashes

GMP20110730966038 Beirut NOW Lebanon in English 0810 GMT 30 Jul 11

["Egyptian Army Detains Five Suspects in Sinai Clashes" -- NOW Lebanon Headline]

[ Computer selected and disseminated without OSC editorial intervention ]

(NOW Lebanon) - Egypt's military has arrested five people in connection with clashes in the north Sinai city of Al-Arish that left four people dead, the official MENA news agency said on Saturday.

Armed forces arrested four men suspected of involvement in an attack on an Al-Arish police station, while another man was arrested driving close to the police station with two machine guns in his possession, MENA said.

The arrests late on Friday came after gunmen tried to storm a police station, sparking a confrontation with security forces and the army. Three civilians and an army officer were killed in the clashes, and 19 people were wounded.

On Friday night, around 150 men in trucks and on motorbikes rampaged through Al-Arish, firing assault rifles in the air, driving terrified residents into their homes.

They rode through the deserted streets of the north Sinai city waving black flags which read "There is no God but God," before attempting to storm the police station.

Earlier, the masked men used a bulldozer to damage a statue of the late president Anwar Sadat, who was assassinated by Islamist militants in 1981.

The violence came after a peaceful demonstration at noon in one of the city's squares, part of countrywide protests by Islamists who want any future constitution to assert that Egypt is a Muslim state.

-AFP/NOW Lebanon

Related Articles:

Two dead as armed men rampage through Sinai city

[Description of Source: Beirut NOW Lebanon in English -- A privatelyfunded pro-14 March coalition, anti-Syria news website; URL: www.nowlebanon.com]

Attempted Attack On Gas Export Station In Egypt's North Sinai

GMP20110730950008 Cairo MENA Online in English 1209 GMT 30 Jul 11

Text of report by Egyptian state-run news agency MENA website

Al-Arish, Egypt, 30 July: A group of masked men tried to attack a natural gas station in Shaykh Zwayid, the main liquefying station for gas exported by Egypt to Israel.

No losses were reported at the station except for a broken gas pipe.

The station was attacked by rocket-propelled grenades from a distance but only the gas pipe was hit, according to eyewitnesses. No explosions or blaze occurred as there was no gas in the station that has not been operating for sometime.

[Description of Source: Cairo MENA Online in English -- Government news agency; URL: http://www.mena.org.eg]

Twelve Palestinian, Egyptian Suspects Arrested In Al Arish Police Station Attack

GMP20110730950020 Cairo MENA Online in English 1428 GMT 30 Jul 11

Twelve Palestinian, Egyptian suspects arrested in A-Arish police station attack

Text of report by Egyptian state-run news agency MENA website

Al-Arish, 30 Jul: So far 12 people, Egyptians and Palestinians, have been arrested in the attempted attack on Al-Arish police station and are currently being interrogated, according to North Sinai Security chief Salih al-Misri on Saturday.

Three other Palestinians are being held in custody at Al-Arish General Hospital as they are under treatment from wounds they sustained during the shoot-out.

Al Arish police station came under an armed attack by masked gunmen carrying machineguns and riding Land Cruisers and bikes. Clashes between the gunmen and the security forces outside the station led to the killing of three civilians, an Armed Forces officer and a policeman and the injuring of 19 others.

[Description of Source: Cairo MENA Online in English -- Government news agency; URL: http://www.mena.org.eg]

Egypt: Conflicting Stories Narrated On Al-Arish Clashes On Friday, 29 July 2011

GMP20110731035002 Egyptwindow in Arabic 31 Jul 11

Cairo Egyptwindow in Arabic on 31 July 2011 carries four reports detailing the clashes in al-Arish city on Friday, 29 July 2011 and the speculation about those who were behind the clashes.

The first is a 500-word report by Adil Abu-Musallam and Umar al-Khatib entitled: "eyewitnesses narrate their story of the incidents in alArish on Friday, 29 July."

The report says that clashes broke out in the city of al-Arish between the Salafis and the armed forces after the Salafis "complained that an informer working for the state security service was watching their movements and attacked him," adding: "the Salafis were encircled by an army force, which said that the informer was an officer working for the intelligence service."

A different story said that three Land Cruisers carrying 10 masked armed men each started to open fire on Sadat's statue in the city of al-Arish.

Other eyewitness said that four land Cruisers carrying 20 masked young men started to open fire on the statue and then attacked the police station of al-Arish city.

All the eyewitnesses were in agreement that the first car raised a black banner, which meant to the al-Arish residents that the attackers "belonged to the Al-Qa'idah Organization or Takfiri groups." Some of them were clad in a Jihadist military uniform and Some were Bedouins while others were non-Bedouins.

The report points out that the attackers assaulted the police station with missiles.

The second is an unattributed 300-word report entitled: "the military governor of al-Arish says that Muhammad Dahlan was behind the clashes in al-Arish city."

The report says that the military governor of al-Arish told the Egyptian Television on 30 July 2011 that masked men of the Fatah Movement of the Muhammad Dahlan faction "were behind the clashes in al-Arish on Friday 29 July 2011."

The report adds that the masked men clashed with the security forces in front of the al-Arish police station.

The third is an unattributed 250-word report entitled: "four people killed and 19 wounded while five suspects were arrested in connection with the al-Arish clashes."

The report says that the armed forces "arrested four suspects accused of involvement in the attack on al-Arish police station in Sinai," adding: "the Assistant Health Minister for Technical and Political Affairs, Dr Abd-al-Hamid Abazah, said that four people were killed and 19 others were wounded in the al-Arish clashes."

The report notes that the armed men used machineguns and automatic weapons in their attack on the police station.

The report points out that a fifth person was arrested after attacking an armed forces' post in al-Hadath area of al-Arish city and that the five persons were referred to the competent authorities for investigation.

The fourth is a 200-word report by Adil Abu-Musallam entitled: "detonation of the natural gas line in al-Shaykh Zuwayyid city, and Takfiris and men of the criminal Muhammad Dahalan group are accused of carrying out the explosion."

The report says that an "unknown group detonated the natural gas station in Abu-Tawilah in Shaykh Zuwayyid city, 15 kilometers from the borders with the Gaza Strip."

Electronic websites have reported that Takfiris were behind the explosion and the clashes that broke out in the city of al-Arish on 29 July 2011.

However, sources in Sinai said that men loyal to Muhammad Dahalan were behind the explosion and the clashes in order to "enhance the pressure

to keep the Rafah crossing closed and to spread alarm of the Islamic groups."

The Sinai sources explained that these elements were trained by the security services in Alexandria for the purpose of "storming the Gaza Strip during the destructive war launched by Israel on the Gaza Strip late in 2008."

The report points out that the masked men who were involved in the alArish clashes were clad in clothes resembling the Al-Qa'idah military uniform and hoisted black banners on their cars to suggest that they belonged to Al-Qa'idah.

[Description of Source: Cairo Egyptwindow in Arabic-- One of the oldest Muslim Brotherhood (MB) sites, it provides information on the latest MB-related developments in Egypt and the biographies of MB leaders; covers Islamic international affairs and other religious topics; publishes some original material, including news reports, analytical pieces, and religious articles by prominent MB members; also carries news items from various mainstream sources like AlJazirah, Al-Arabiyah, Al-Misriyun, Masrawy, Al-Wafd, IslamOnline, and Agence France Press; URL: http://www.egyptwindow.net]

Israeli Company's Private Security Staff Fights Off Attack on Sinai Gas Facility

GMP20110731739006 Rishon Leziyyon Globes Online in English 0759 GMT 31 Jul 11

[Report by Amiram Barqat: Pipeline"]

"EMG Security Staff Defend Egyptian

On Friday night, security staff of East Mediterranean Gas Company Ltd. (EMG) fought off an attack against a company-owned gas facility in El Arish in Sinai. EMG buys natural gas from the Egyptian National Gas Company (Gasco) for export to Israel via a pipeline from El Arish to Ashkelon, which EMG built at a cost of $500 million.

In a statement yesterday, EMG shareholder Ampal American-Israel Corporation (Nasdaq: AMPL; TASE:AMPL) said, "In the wake of violent incidents in El-Arish, Egypt on July 29th, in the early morning of July 30th there was an attempt to cause damage to the EMG site near El-Arish. The security forces on site returned fire, prevented any penetration of the EMG site and repelled the attack. No casualties were reported. EMG reports that the incident will not affect its operations once Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC) resumes supply after it was interrupted due to an explosion at a Gasco terminal on July 12, 2011."

An Israeli source told Globes that Egypt's government should heed the lesson of EMG's success in defending its facility. He said, "If a private company can defend its facilities, the Egyptian government can, too."

On Saturday, terrorists blew up a gas terminal serving the gas pipeline to Israel, the fifth attack so far this year. In a statement, Ampal said that Egyptian security forces prevented an attack at a gas terminal in al-Shulaq in Sinai.

Ampal, controlled by chairman Yosef Maiman owns 12.5% of EMG.

[Description of Source: Rishon Leziyyon Globes Online in English -Website of independent daily focusing on business and financial news; URL: http://www.globes.co.il]

Egypt: Al-Arish Attackers came from Salafi-Jihadist Stronghold in North Sinai

GMP20110801013002 Cairo Al-Ahram in Arabic 01 Aug 11 pp 1, 4

[Report by Hanan Hajjaj: "The Secrets of Al-Arish Conquest: The Holders of the Black Flgas Belong to the Salafi-Jihadists"]

Political activists and tribal sources in northern Sinai disclosed to Al-Ahram that the armed groups that attacked the city of Al-Arish last Friday came from the village of Al-Quray'a, near the City of Shaykh Zuwayd, considered the principal stronghold of Salafi-jihadist groups in northern Sinai. The sources said this group is fortified in the mountains and raise the black colored flags of Al-Qa'ida organization. They said that what it did last Friday was a prelude to proclamation of an Islamic emirate in Northern Sinai.

Activists Ayub and Husayn al-Qayyim and Shadi Ashraf as well as prominent tribal sources said this group boasts publicly that it carried out the bombing of the natural gas export pipeline to Israel, Jordan, and northern Sinai. They conducted a number of drills for their attack on Al-Arish in the City of Shaykh Zuwayd, near the village of Al-Quray'a, the hometown of the elements of the group.

What happened last Friday evening in Al-Arish and appeared as a surprise to all was not actually a surprise for the inhabitants of northern Sinai. Those who carry black flags, weapons, and copies of the Koran that were raised in Al Hurriya Square in Al-Arish were presenting their first show of strength following several rehearsals to which no one paid attention. The silence on these rehearsals appeared as if it were an encouragement to further escalation.

Al-Ahram investigated the group whose members carry black flags and wear black trousers. It monitored the map of their presence geographically and politically. That map starts from a small hamlet that carries the name of Al-Quray'a and ends on the Egyptian-Israeli borders and at the gates of the secret tunnels. This map announced the birth of a new current of Salafis who raise the black flag of jihad and the Kalashnikov rather than the microphones. Last Friday the hordes of the Salafi-jihadist--as they call themselves--moved toward the city of Al-Arish mobilizing the largest number of their members in a demonstration that included more than 50 vehicles, from four-wheels to light trucks and motor-cycles packed with weapons, according to eyewitnesses and two recorded films. Four days prior to that development, the City of Shaykh Zuwayd which lies between Al-Arish and Rafah witnessed a final rehearsal that almost turned into a live show were it not for the intervention of some of the shaykhs of the city. According to the account of Husayn al-Qayyim, one of the inhabitants of Shaykh Zuwayd, no less than 1,000 of them fully armed and in fourwheel cars entered the city to show their support for one of their men who had been involved in an ordinary quarrel with one of the inhabitants of the city over the placement of an artificial bump on the road despite the objections of a Salafi shop owner. This was the ostensible reason, as al-Qayyim says, but the real reason for the

massive show was to send a message. The intruders brandished the Korans and weapons, repeating chants that the announcement of their Islamic emirate was near and that the city would be ruled by Allah's Shari'a. Even though they withdrew from the city after intervention by some tribal men, the message reached everybody. This tactical withdrawal left behind many fears among the inhabitants of Shaykh Zuwayd. These fears were worsened by fresh affirmations from those who launched the attack that they had carried out the bombing of the gas pipeline to Israel, a claim that was repeated more than once before even though there has been reaction from officials for reasons that remain mysterious. That bombing was praised by the popular base in Sinai and the Egyptians in general, in contrast with another bombing targeting the shrine of Shaykh Zuwayd [local saint] that was carried out by the same group but met with popular condemnation and again with official silence without explanation.

Al-Quray'a: Security and Weapons

Where did these groups come from? Where did they go? As Al-Ahram learnt, the expedition withdrew, raising high its black flags, to an area not far off. The majority returned to their first and basic base, the hamlet of Al-Quray'a which is just 20 kilometers from Shaykh Zuwayd in the direction of the city of Al-Arish. The story of that city, according to what one of the elders of Shaykh Zuwayd told us, began four years ago. Al-Quray'a is just a small desert village on the road between Shaykh Zuwayd and Al-Arish city. Because of the security raids undertaken since the incidents of Taba in 2004, the village turned into a primary stronghold and haven for the followers of the current because it lies geographically in a region very distant from any security presence and has no police station. At the same time it enjoys protection provided by a neighboring area called Jebel alHalal, which is the most notable stronghold for arms merchants in Sinai. This neighboring location offered the necessary security and weapons for the members of the group. The tribal elder went on to say that the relative security that the region around it enjoys turned the village in less than four years from a small village with a small population into what resembles a city, with multi-storey buildings going up and with all services and utilities available for at least 4,000 of the new inhabitants, allowing them to live and organize themselves and even to train regularly on the use of weapons. He affirmed that more than 95% of the inhabitants of the village, according to estimates of some inhabitants of Sinai, are from the Sinai tribes. As for the remaining percentage, it hails from the Valley. Some affirm that the return of some of the mujahidin leaders from Afghanistan is what led to the inclination of those to the jihadist ways, in contrast with the calm Salafism that exists in the Valley.

Taba: Punishment and Violence

This transformation was confirmed by several Sinai inhabitants. Ashraf Ayub, a political activist who has monitored religious currents and movement since 2004, said that the Salafi-jihadist movement started in that year after the random arrests of the Salafis and the violation of the sanctity of the homes in Shaykh Zuwayd, Al-Arish and Rafah. Women were arrested during these campaigns, a matter which in Sinai culture grossly violates taboos as it touches directly on honor and manliness. He adds that the tribesmen paid a heavy price for what happened in Taba then Sharm al-Shaykh. The security was looking for a scapegoat at the time, even though it has now become known that the State Security Investigations was responsible for these acts. The Salafis were the scapegoat on which the former police regime blamed all conspiracies. They were treated with unprecedented violence even though those Salafis themselves were always in some kind of undeclared alliance with the security. Actually a large number of them, according to Ayub, had direct contacts with the security. However the violent dealings and the violation of the taboos triggered a real animosity and a desire for revenge, especially as those youth used to see themselves as a good and patriotic current that started to appear with the second Intifidah and took part in the rescue operations of the inhabitants of Gaza. The majority of them were at the time between 17 and 20 years of age at the most. After the Taba incidents, the real change began to take place in their ideologies, and this is what makes them unique from the rest of the Salafi current throughout Egypt. Ashraf Ayub concludes by saying that a large number of them were forced to resort to hiding in the mountains in ways similar to that of the Al-Qa'ida in Afghanistan. This is perhaps what explains the black flags that they use as their banners.

The Borders: Work and Jihad

The map for the distribution of the Salafi-jihadists in northern Sinai explains their movement last Friday. It began in the city of Rafah, specifically from a number of the mosques known for being mosques of the Salafis, led by the Al-Tawhid Mosque in the region of Al-Masura; the Al-Husaynat Mosque, and the Al-Mahdiya Mosque. The vehicles moved from the city, the nervous system of the Salafis and the basic source of their livelihood, toward Shaykh Zuwayd, with more than 50 fourwheel cars, motorcycles and half-trucks, all flying the black flags of Al-Qa'ida and carrying masked persons brandishing weapons. The convoy set forth along 45 kilometers in a blatant show of strength on the international highway without any one intercepting it. It entered the city of Al-Arish to assemble before Al-Rifa'i Mosque and raise the black flags high. They fired machineguns in the air at the Mosque square, announcing their presence and giving advance notice of a battle that would erupt shortly. That battle started with the smashing of the "stone idols" (the statue of President Anwar al-Sadat in Hurreya Square) passing by Al-Arish's No 2 Police Station. Al-Arish inhabitants, led by a number of youth activists, affirmed that the city itself had no Salafi-jihadists and that the Salafis in it had packed and left for Tahrir Square since dawn Friday in about 30 buses. But they do not deny the presence of some Salafi-jihadist leaders led by "Asad al-Bik" who is considered the Shaykh of the Salafis in AlArish and "Hani Abu-Shita" and "Mustafa Azzam". The City of Shaykh Zuwayd and Rafah are packed with them and are considered the principal

strongholds of that current. Among their leaders are Muhammad Azzam Singer, Abu-al-Hasan Iskandar, Al-Dib, Shaykh Abu-Faysal, Shaykh Isa, and Musa al-Hamdayn.

[Description of Source: Cairo Al-Ahram in Arabic -- State-controlled daily newspaper of record, reportedly Egypt's highest circulation daily; Al-Ahram controls the distribution of all other newspapers, state-run and opposition alike.]

Al-Qa'ida Urges Egyptians to Turn Sinai Into Islamic Emirate

GMP20110802950026 Cairo Al-Yawm al-Sabi in Arabic 02 Aug 11

[Report by Abd-al-Halim Salim, entitled: "Distribution of leaflet attributed to Al-Qa'idah calling for turning Sinai into Islamic emirate"]

Al-Yawm al-Sabi has obtained a leaflet that was distributed to some mosques in Al-Arish City in Sinai after the end of the Tarawih prayers [extra prayers performed after the evening prayer in Ramadan only] that call for turning Sinai into an Islamic emirate.

The leaflet was entitled "a statement from Al-Qa'idah organization in the Sinai peninsula". It included verses from Koran that says that Islam is the right religion that should be followed.

The statement pointed out Sinai's disarmament as part of the Camp David agreement and besieging the Gaza Strip in favour of Zionists.

The statement wondered about the role of the armed forces in stopping the smuggling of toxins into Sinai. It also tackled the injustice done

to Sinai's Bedouins and the looting of Sinai's wealth. The statement concluded with: "Enough ignorance."

[Editorial insertion: The Al-Yawm al-Sabi's website published images of the aforementioned statement in the report.]

[Description of Source: Cairo Al-Yawm al-Sabi in Arabic -- Website of independent liberal weekly; URL: http://www.youm7.com/Default.asp.]

Salafi group denies link to Arish assault

GMP20110802966183 Cairo Al-Masry Al-Youm Online in English 2005 GMT 02 Aug 11

[Collected by webscraper and Auto selected and released without editorial intervention.]

The Salafi Group in North Sinai has denied any connection to the recent attacks in Arish that left five dead and 20 injured, including civilians, police and military forces.

At a press conference in Arish on Tuesday, the group said it rejects violence and prefers dialogue.

Mostafa Azzam, an activist with the group, said the march organized by the group in Arish last Friday was entirely peaceful. He stressed that none of the protesters carried any weapons, noting that the purpose of the rally was to call for fulfilling the demands of the 25 January revolution.

Ammar Saleh Gouda, another member of the group, claimed that it was the Salafis who protected the revolutionaries against assaults by thugs during the revolution.

Meanwhile, Hussein al-Qayem, another activist from the group, said the goal for Salafis is to achieve stability and security, and end oppression. He added that Sinai residents accept these objectives.

In a statement commenting on the police station attack in Arish, the group emphasized that no innocent Muslim should ever be killed, regardless of the reason.

[Description of Source: Cairo Al-Masry Al-Youm Online in English -English language version of Al-Misri al-Yawm, Egypt's respected independent pro-reform daily that focuses on domestic political issues; largest-circulation independent publication, especially widely read among youth; URL: http://www.almasryalyoum.com/en]

Egypt: Self-Professed 'Al-Qa'ida in Sinai Peninsula' Calls for Islamic Emirate

GMP20110803010002 Cairo Al-Yawm al-Sabi Online in Arabic 02 Aug 11

[Report from Al-Arish by Abd-al-Halim Salim: "Distribution of Leaflet Attributed to Al-Qa'ida Calling for Transformation of Sinai into an Islamic Emirate" [the manner in which this message was disseminated does not match the standard method used by Al-Qa'ida and its regional affiliates for publishing their propaganda messages and statements]]

Al-Yawm al-Sabi has obtained a leaflet that was distributed in some mosques in the city of Al-Arish in Sinai after the end of Al-Tarawih [customary prayers during Ramadan] calling for turning Sinai into an Islamic emirate.

The statement was entitled "Statement from Al-Qa'ida Organization in the Sinai Peninsula". It contained Koranic verses stating that Islam was the religion of righteousness and that it must be followed.

The statement referred to the demilitarization of Sinai in the Camp David Agreement and to laying siege to the Gaza Strip to serve the interests of the Zionists.

It asked about what role the armed forces played in stopping the smuggling of poison [narcotics] into Sinai. It also dealt with the injustices to which the Sinai Bedouins are subjected and the looting of Sinai's resources. The statement concluded with the sentence: "Enough ignorance for us".

[Text of the statement from a photocopy published by the newspaper]

In the Name of Allah the Merciful, the Compassionate

Statement from Al-Qa'ida Organization in the Sinai Peninsula

The Almighty said "Rule is for Allah only" [Koranic verse], so we call for taking the initiative and for an Islamic emirate.

We demand that the Islamic religion should be the sole source of legislation. The Almighty said "Do you fear them? Nay, it is Allah whom ye should more justly fear, if ye believe" (Surat Al-Tawbah, verse 13) [Koranic verse].

Allah forbade us to have other legislation. The Almighty said: "O ye who believe, give your response to Allah and His Messenger, when He calleth you to that which will give you life" (Surat Al-Anfal, verse 24) [Koranic verse]. Ibn Abbas [Prophet Muhammad's cousin] said: "Jihad salutes you".

The Almighty said: "And who turns away from the religion of Abraham but such as [except those who] debase their souls with folly?" (Surat Al Baqarah, verse 130) [Koranic verse].

The Almighty said: "So We have taught thee the inspired (message) 'follow the ways of Abraham the true in faith, and he joined not gods with Allah" (Surat Al-Nahl, verse 123) [Koranic verse].

The Almighty said: "We bestowed aforetime on Abraham his rectitude of conduct and well were We acquainted with him" (Surat Al-Anbiya, verse 51) [Koranic verse].

Allah recommended his call to us and ordered His Prophet and all Messengers, Allah's prayers and blessings on them, to follow it. Abraham's creed is "sincerity in worshipping Allah solely and dissociation for joining gods with Him and those who join gods with Him, and takfir [branding as infidel] those who do so".

Thus all taghuts [rulers who try to usurp some of Allah's powers on earth] at all times and everywhere do not show satisfaction with Islam unless it is a blind, dumb, and mute religion.

On the creed of Abrahm, perhaps if he had appeased them, remained silent on their wrongdoing, the corruption of their ways, and heresy in their verses, and if he had limited himself to theoretical worship of one God, his people would not have thrown him into the fire. The Almighty said: "Allah will not leave the believers in the state in which ye are now, until He separates what is evil from what is good" (Surat Ali Imran, verse 179) [Koranic verse].

The corrupt regime and the armed forces acknowledged and admitted before everybody the previous agreements with the Zionist entity despite the clauses they contain which are voided by religion.

In Camp David, the agreement stipulates that Sinai should remain empty and demilitarized.

Where are the armed forces on the siege on Gaza from the Egyptian side?

Where are the armed forces on the smuggling white poison [narcotics] from the Zionist entity and the cold war that is smuggled by some eleme nts living in the proximity of the borders?

Where are the armed forces on the affairs of the Bedouins, the injustice, unfairness, oppression, and poverty suffered by the people

of Sinai even though they stand fast in the face of the occupation and its tricks?

Where are the armed forces on the looted resources of Sinai and the income of the Sinai inhabitant that is below zero?

Where are the armed forces on foreign laws and on al-wala wa albira [proclamations of loyalty to Allah and dissociation from the infidels] and on the promotion of virtue and discouragement of sin? "The ones who are not hostile to the Jews and those who join other Gods with Allah do not know monotheism".

The learned Shaykh Hamad Bin Atiq [fourteenth century Saudi theologian], Allah's mercy on his soul, says about appeasing apostates and those who join other gods with Allah: "Many people might think that they can show their religion if they say the two testimonies ["there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is His Messenger"] and perform the five prayers but they are grossly mistaken in thinking like this".

(Enough ignorance for us)

[Description of Source: Cairo Al-Yawm al-Sabi Online in Arabic -Website of independent liberal daily; URL: http://www.youm7.com/Default.asp]

Jama'ah Islamiyyah Condemns Attack on Sinai Police Station

GMP20110801479001 Ansar al-Mujahidin Network in Arabic 01 Aug 11

[Statement attributed to Dr Najih Ibrahim, Editor-in-Chief of the Jama'ah Islamiyyah Site, posted by "Saif al-Ansar," user number not

available, dated 31 July: "Jama'ah Islamiyyah: Statement of Condemnation and Mobilization"]

With increasing grief and sorrow, we have followed what is happening in the beloved land of Sinai-- the unjust attacks on the public institutions... We were hoping that the perpetrator would come to his senses and refrain from these acts that damage the security and well-being of the nation. We hoped he would not add a new and altogether worse challenge to Egypt's list of challenges.

But some were deluded by the conditions and circumstances the Egyptian state is facing. They continued in their transgression, strayed from that which is correct, and attacked the second precinct police station in Al-Arish in a ruthless and brutal fashion. This resulted in the death of two army and police officers, and the injury of others. We hope that the current investigations will prove that the Egyptian people are innocent of this crime, which was committed with no justification, and against people guilty of no sin.

We announce our condemnation of these vile crimes which have no relation to religion or morals. We therefore call on all political factions to put their political differences aside and announce their condemnation of this act. We call for this in order to directly confront these crimes, regardless of the affiliation of the wrongdoing perpetrators. We thereby announce our condemnation. We ask that the media does not get ahead of itself or attempt to pin the blame on any specific group. All of this muddles the work of the investigators and misleads public opinion.

We also ask that the Higher Military Council re-examine the Camp David agreement so as to allow for a strong and effective presence of our military forces on this precious bit of Egypt's land. We will not permit this land to fall victim to any foreign or domestic groups that wish to defile the security and well-being of Egypt. We are confident that the Egyptian people, who have made it through great hardships during their modern and contemporary history, are capable, God willing, of overcoming these difficult times, and will ultimately build a nation of freedom, justice, and equality. May God protect Egypt from all ill and misfortune.

The Jama'ah Islamiyyah Site Editor-in-Chief, Dr Najih Ibrahim 31 July 2011

[To view the vernacular, click here.]

[Description of Source: Ansar al-Mujahidin Network in Arabic -Relatively new Salafi-jihadist web forum with a focus on global jihad, online since 2008; site correspondents reliably post Al-Qa'ida and affiliate messaging; URL: www.as-ansar.com/vb]

Egypt: Al-Arish Witnesses 'Cautious Calm' After Armed Attack on Police Station

GMP20110801825003 London Al-Sharq al-Awsat Online in Arabic 01 Aug 11

[Report by Yusri Muhammad: "Shamal Sina Governor Tells Al-Sharq alAwsat: 'Foreign Forces Working Toward Undermining Security in Governorate'; Army Makes Use of Bomb Detectors at Suez Canal Bridge"]

Major General Al-Sayyid Abd-al-Wahhab Mabruk, governor of Northern Sinai (400 km northeast of Cairo), has accused foreign parties which he did not name of working toward undermining security in Sinai. He said that "the investigation is yet to be completed. Currently, a number of suspects are being interrogated for involvement in the incident with a view to finding those responsible for orchestrating and carrying out this attack."

The Northern Sinai governor told Al-Sharq al-Awsat: "The army forces redeployed inside the city of Al-Arish, while the police forces were deployed in the outskirts of the city to ensure that no armed attacks like the ones that targeted the Al-Arish 2nd Police Station on Friday [ 29 July] will take place."

Last Friday, anonymous gunmen waged an attack on the Al-Arish 2nd Police Station resulting in the death of five people, including an army officer and a police officer, and the wounding of 21 soldiers from the Central Security Forces.

Mabruk stressed that the security situation is semi-stable now in AlArish. He noted that the demands of some Bedouin tribes to drop the criminal sentences issued in absentia against 252 defendants were met and that special judicial measures were taken in this regard in coordination with the Ministry of Justice and the Al-Isma'iliyah Court of Appeal.

Currently, the city of Al-Arish is witnessing cautious calm. There has been a noticeable decline in the number of people in the streets and hundreds of holidaymakers left the city yesterday.

The governor stressed that not many houses and stores were damaged during the attack. He stressed that the governorate is willing to compensate any store that suffered damages.

Meanwhile, Mabruk revealed that the gas company has contracted with a large number of Bedouin tribes through whose land the natural gas pipeline extending to Israel runs in order to protect the pipeline and ensure that it will not be blown up again. He said: "The number of these stations is 31. The company has contracted with six individuals to protect each station, in addition to contracting with another number of Bedouins to protect the regions that lie between the various stations." He explained that "the operations for repairing the pipeline used for exporting natural gas to Israel have not started to date, because currently, the required parts for its repair were being procured."

In another development, Al-Arish city remains on maximum alert two days after the attack on the Al-Arish 2nd Police Station. The army forces were intensively deployed inside the Al-Arish city and redeployed again outside public buildings, police stations, government agencies, and the Al-Arish Police Club. This is while police cars and policemen have disappeared completely from the city and the majority of the city neighborhoods have been devoid of traffic police. Scores of armored vehicles have been spotted inside the city of Al-Arish and the roads leading to it. Moreover, metal barriers have been placed outside the Al-Arish 2nd Police Station, which is surrounded by three armored vehicles. Policemen have been positioned on top of the police station's roof, and others around it.

The inhabitants of the chalets opposite the police station have evacuated the area for fear of renewed clashes, while about at least 30 houses were completely empty of their residents for the night. There was normal traffic movement outside the police station.

The security forces have stepped up security measures at the Suez Canal Bridge, where the the identity of the people arriving are being checked. The army forces are using bomb detectors to inspect the

vehicles that are on their way to Sinai. Moreover, six army barriers have been set up along the road from Al-Qantarah all the way to the Al-Arish city, but no policemen are present at these barriers.

A lady called Khadijah, who is a resident in the area opposite the region that was under attack, said that she has put her house for sale as a result of the police station coming under attack for the second time since the 25 January revolution. She added that the attackers sought refuge in her courtyard and some of them went up on her roof and opened fire at the forces positioned inside the police station. She added that she was hit by shrapnel during the first attack on the police station and that she and her children spent a fearful night as a result of the second attack. She noted that bullets went through her windows and hit the furniture.

[Description of Source: London Al-Sharq al-Awsat Online in Arabic -Website of influential London-based pan-Arab Saudi daily; editorial line reflects Saudi official stance. URL: http://www.asharqalawsat.com/]

Egypt: Security Forces Prepare for Expected Terrorist Attacks in Northern Sinai

GMP20110812825011 London Al-Sharq al-Awsat Online in Arabic 12 Aug 11

[Report by Ahmad Yusuf in Cairo and Yusri Muhammad Al-Qa'ida Organization Members in Sinai Identified Arrest Them. Egyptian Security Source to 'Al-Sharq Security Preparations Raised Following Information Operations"]

in Al-Arish: "50 and a Plan To al-Awsat': Level of About Expected

A high-level security source at the Egyptian Interior Ministry has announced the level of security preparations in northern Sinai was raised following the receipt of information about the intention of outlawed armed elements, which have called themselves "Al-Qa'ida organization in Sinai", to carry out more terrorist operations

targeting police facilities and the pipelines exporting natural gas to Israel.

Sources have meanwhile reported that information has been obtained about the identity of the perpetrators of previous operations in AlArish and these have been identified as Egyptian elements and foreign ones who had taken part in the attacks and provided the weapons used in them in addition to the nature of their armament, the weapons in their possession, and some areas they frequent. They disclosed that some of the wanted elements are hard liners and were arrested following the explosions that took place in Sinai between 2004 and 2006 but were able to escape when the jails' doors were opened during the 25 January revolution's events.

Though the sources did not disclose the identity or nationality of the wanted persons, they said a number of them adopt "Al-Qa'ida's" ideology but denied that the organization has any organized presence or organization inside the Sinai Peninsula. They asserted that security commanders in the interior ministry arrived in Sinai before few days for coordinating and helping draw up the plans for these campaigns, adding that the hideouts of those wanted, numbering between 70 and 100, are being studied to prevent heavy losses in the attacking forces during the raids and pointing out that these attacks would be carried out in stages and be concentrated ones to capture the wanted elements.

On the other hand, a security source has told Al-Sharq al-Awsat that despite these gunmen's announcement of their desire to establish what they called (an Islamic emirate in Sinai), their intentions are still unclear. There is intelligence information about them contacting Israel's Mosad, getting the necessary support for implementing these terrorist operations in the country, and providing Israel with the international excuse to declare its fears for its borders so as to stop the opening of the Rafah crossing once and for all, especially after the attack of 29 July on a second police station in Al-Arish killing six persons, among them two officers in the armed forces and Egyptian police.

The security source went on to say that the security organs in the Egyptian Interior Ministry, at the head of them the national security sector (which was established recently after state security intelligence service was disbanded) were able to identify most members of this terrorist organization, adding that due to the tribal nature of northern Sinai which makes the security mission impossible without the tribal leaders, consultations are at present underway with the notables and heads of the Sinai tribes in order to collate the information that enables the security services to arrest members of the organization as quickly as possible.

The source added that Egyptian Interior Minister Major General Mansur al-Isawi has seen the plan prepared by the security organs in the northern Sinai Security Directorate in coordination with combat groups from the Central Security Forces and the armed forces for confronting the lawlessness in northern Sinai and putting an end to it. Only the final touches remain for implementing it immediately and restore security and stability in the Sinai Street. [Passage omitted on recent bombing of gas pipeline and attacks on police stations]

[Description of Source: London Al-Sharq al-Awsat Online in Arabic -Website of influential London-based pan-Arab Saudi daily; editorial line reflects Saudi official stance. URL: http://www.asharqalawsat.com/]

Egypt: Sinai 'Almost Becoming Salafi Emirate'--Al-Wafd Column

GMP20110812013004 Cairo Al-Wafd in Arabic 12 Aug 11 p 16

[Article by Muhammad Amin in the "Where to?" column: "I am the Government, O Country!"]

Do you remember the [motion picture] "Satan's Island"? This was about a territory colonized by one of the most notorious criminals in Southern Egypt. He mined it and banned the entry of the government in it. He said "I am the Government". No one could enter the island without the permission of its ruler. Do you remember how this island turned into a ball of fire? This criminal, who was tried and executed, could not have done what he did if it had not been for the fact that he was backed at one time by senior commanders in the Interior Ministry. Do you remember this motion picture or TV serial? It is being repeated these very days!

I am talking about the land of the sapphires [Sinai] which has almost turned into a land of fear. I am talking about the land of the martyrs that has turned into a land of ruins. In Satan's Island there was a form of collusion. In the land of fear there appears to be a form of collusion also. In Satan's Island, the Egyptian State moved to avenge its dignity and impose its respect after Satan had rubbed its nose in the dirt. Now the Egyptian State must move to regain its respect and

dignity, just as it regained the land, even if this has to be done by war and moving armies.

The reports reaching us say that Sinai is almost being transformed into a Salafi emirate. What happened cannot be met by silence. This is a systematic, organized absence of the State's role, a complete disappearance of the government and the police. There is very organized appearance by the Salafi Group. A surprise press conference is held in which not all political forces are represented. Armed militias are formed to maintain security and break up conflicts with force. These are the harbingers of a Salafi emirate in Sinai which will probably not be the last emirate under the shadow of the security conditions in the country.

There is a major difference between the role of the popular committees formed after the [ 25 January] revolution to protect possessions and properties and what the Salafis are now doing in Sinai. The popular committees were Egyptian and represented all Egyptians. But what happened in Sinai provides no cause for assurance even if it is done ostensibly to regain security. The Salafis formed religious committees to solve conflicts in Sinai and enlisted the aid of 6,000 armed men to apply verdicts by force.

Why Sinai? Why did the Salafi emirate start from there? Is Sinai destined to be under either Israeli or Salafi rule? Did we liberate Sinai so that a faction could seize it? Is there a connection between HAMAS and what took place in Sinai with such speed? Is it an old plan or a result of the security breakdown after the revolution? What is the aim behind moving the Salafis there in particular?

We are thus facing a Salafi emirate in Sinai headed by Emir Sulayman Abu-Ayub. There is no presence in it for the State's civil establishments, neither police nor judiciary. The judiciary is selfmade and the police are self-made. The verdicts replace the traditional system of tribal councils in Sinai. The borders of the new emirate are Rafah, Shaykh Zuwayd, and Al-Arish. There is no Governor and no municipal chief, no police chief and no court. So it is over, our Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, Sinai has been lost!

Where are the security bodies on what is going on? How did these people get weapons? Correspondents also say that the streets of AlArish witness heavy shooting due to a quarrel between two families. The streets see an unprecedented security breakdown because tens of the youths of Al-Fawakhiriya Tribe are firing at random on vehicles near the houses of Al-Bik Family. According to eyewitnesses, the youths carry Molotov bottles and fire intensely amid attempts by mosque shaykhs to calm them through microphones.

There is a difference of course between the Salafi condition and AlFawakhiriya condition. The latter is a transient phenomenon that occurs in tribal communities at times. But the Salafi condition is organized, sustained, and terri fying. Still, the two conditions reflect the absence of the State and the breakdown of security. They require the presence of the State to regain its respect immediately. The alternative is a cancerous spread of Salafi emirates in all parts of Egypt!

[Description of Source: Cairo Al-Wafd in Arabic -- Nationalist liberal New Wafd Party's daily newspaper; usually highlights statements of the party's leader; critical of newly formed parties and has a strong tendency toward sensationalism, especially with regard to allegations of corruption during the Mubarak era.]

Egypt: Sinai Governor Says Largescale Security Deployment 'Only for Deterrence'

GMP20110814950006 Cairo Nahdat Misr Online in Arabic 14 Aug 11

['Exclusive' report: "Security reinforcements in Sinai to prevent new attacks on al-Arish; deployment of armored vehicles and 2000 soldiers"]

Unprecedented security reinforcements were taken in Sinai after deploying police forces backed up by army forces.

Armored vehicles and more then 2000 policemen and soldiers were seen during their deployment around police stations, the governorate premises, the security directorate of North Sinai in Al-Arish city in fear of new attacks by outlaws, thugs and extremist groups.

Sinai Governor Major General Al-Sayyid Abd-al-Wahab Mabruk said these unprecedented security measures were meant to defend people, property and vital establishments.

These forces are being deployed to deter and not to fight or attack anybody, he said. "We will not fight our people in Sinai, and these forces will not go to Sinai's mountains to fight. They are only for deterrence to protect souls and property from outlaws and thugs," he said.

The governor warned that there would be no tolerance for any who "attack people or property or carry out thuggery or acts of sedition in Sinai."

The governor denied that there was a campaign codenamed "eagle." "There are no such campaigns. Such reports are mere hallucinations," he said.

[Description of Source: Cairo Nahdat Misr Online in Arabic -- Website of independent pro-reform daily newspaper whose editorial line was moderately critical of the Mubarak government prior to the 25 January 2011 uprising; focuses on domestic affairs; URL: http://www.gn4me.com/nahda/]

FYI -- Egypt Arrests Six Wanted Persons of Islam Liberation Army in Sinai

GMP20110815950004 Cairo Nile News TV in Arabic 0615 GMT 15 Aug 11

Cairo Nile News TV in Arabic at 0615 GMT on 15 August ran an urgent caption quoting its correspondent that said: "Six wanted persons who belong to the Islam liberation army were arrested during the army's campaigns in Al-Arish."

No further processing planned.

[Description of Source: Cairo Nile News TV in Arabic -- 24-hour panArab news-oriented TV station]

Xinhua: One Killed, 10 Arrested in Raid on Extremist Group in Egypt's Sinai

CPP20110815968248 Beijing Xinhua in English 1819 GMT 15 Aug 11

[Xinhua: "One Killed, 10 Arrested in Raid on Extremist Group in Egypt's Sinai"]

[Computer selected and disseminated without OSC editorial intervention] CAIRO, Aug. 15 (Xinhua) -- One was killed and 10 others arrested in a raid by military and police forces in Egypt's Sinai, security sources told Xinhua on Monday.

Around 1,000 troops and police were deployed in Egypt's Arish over the weekend to restore order in the area which has seen repeated attacks on a gas pipeline leading to Israel and Jordan.

Militants called for changing Sinai into an Islamic zone and expelling security forces recently in the Arish town.

Since February, the pipeline for gas exports in Arish has been bombed five times. At the end of July, more than 100 militants attempted to storm a police station in Arish and exchanged fire with police and military forces, leaving six people dead.

[Description of Source: Beijing Xinhua in English -- China's official news service for English-language audiences (New China News Agency)]

Egypt|: 'Islamic Egypt Emirate' feard in Sinai, Given Preoccupation with Tahrir

GMP20110814013003 Cairo Al-Ahram in Arabic 14 Aug 11 p 11

[Article by Hazim Abd-al-Rahman: "They are Challenging the State"]

It is a gross mistake that we see nothing except what is happening in Tahrir Square. It is true that what is happening there affects all of Egypt, but it is also true that what is happening outside Tahrir Square could be much more dangerous than what is taking place in it. Actually, the key to control of the Square could be outside Cairo.

The newspaper Al-Misri al-Yawm published an extremely important report about the Salafi group organization in Sinai. The report which appeared last Wednesday says: "The group has formed multi-level Shari'a committees to settle disputes through rulings based on Shari'a. Their aim is to replace the "sinful" traditional tribal councils to which the Sinai tribes are used to resort to settle any disputes that might crop up.

The report said the committees work by counseling, persuasion and rationality. But if circumstances compel them then they are ready to use force to impose their point of view. It said that the grouping has between five to six thousand armed followers (militias) that can be called upon when necessary, but it hastened to say that once the police returns to its normal condition the grouping will withdraw and leave the field to the police (who will believe that?). it said that they are forced to do what they are doing because no government exists in Sinai!

Thus it is clear that this tells us there is a stark challenge coming to face the State. In the manner in which it is presenting itself, and with its ability to boast publicly that it would use force against those who oppose or reject it, or even impose its opinion in any dispute, the group is in effect taking over the role of the State. The State is supposed to be the sole authority in society which has the right to monopolize use of weapons and formation of armed entities represented in the Army, the Police and the National Guard. Any other party that does this would be engaging in an organized criminal endeavor aggressing on the State. It would be an armed gang, no matter how much it cloaks itself in religion, grows beards, wears white galabiya [flowing white gown], and holds prayers etc. The strong state is the one that never shows leniency toward any one who tries to transgress on its powers whoever he is.

Perhaps this grouping has some justification in what it is doing on the claim that there is no police available or the paucity of their number compared to what is required. It would therefore be responding to a dire need for security that the Sinai citizen lacks painfully in the cities of Rafah, Al-Arish and Shaykh Zuwayd. This has gone to the extent that Salafi militias are brazenly striding the roads in broad daylight.

But if that were correct, then what is the North Sinai Security Directorate doing? What is the Governorate doing? What is its role exactly if this grouping has usurped for itself the role of the police and of imposing order and law? There is nothing left except for this grouping to issue "communique number one" announcing the creation of the Islamic Emirate of Sinai.

These words are not meant in way as instigation, for according to the Prophet's [Muhammad] sayings, there are issues that are serious and cannot bear any frivolity or laxity under any circumstances. Among these is the issue of imposing security and the rule of the law on all so that the people arbitrate to it. If such a grouping emerged to say publicly that it will assume that task instead of the Egyptian State, then what will remain for the State?

These words also remind us of what the Muslim Brotherhood declared some weeks ago in graduating batches of Shari'a judges whose task is to rule among the inhabitants in the villages of Egypt. Thus these judges are also usurping the role of the judicial authority. So what is left of the State?

I fear that we shall keep busy in Cairo with what is happening at Tahrir Square till we wake up one morning to find the radio and th e television announcing the establishment of The Emirate of Islamic Egypt.

It remains to be said that Egypt is always for the Egyptians. Across their long history, the Egyptians changed their religions many times whereas they never relinquished even once their Egyptian affiliation. Relations with the homeland are stronger, firmer and older than any other relationship.

[Description of Source: Cairo Al-Ahram in Arabic -- State-controlled daily newspaper of record, formerly pro-Mubarak but has now shifted support to the 2011 revolution; reportedly Egypt's highest circulation daily, Al-Ahram controls the distribution of all other newspapers, state-run and independent alike.]

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