As I show in Onward Muslim Soldiers, the Muslim Brotherhood was the first modern radical Islamic organization, and most of today’s radical groups are linked to it in one way or another. But the Brotherhood itself lives on. MEMRI reports on several recent interviews given recently by its new leader, Muhammad Mahdi Othman ‘Akef:
In an interview with the Egyptian pro-Nasserite weekly Al-Arabi, ‘Akef spoke about suicide bombing operations: “The Muslim Brotherhood movement condemns all bombings in the independent Arab and Muslim countries. But the bombings in Palestine and Iraq are a [religious] obligation. This is because these two countries are occupied countries, and the occupier must be expelled in every way possible. Thus, the [Muslim Brotherhood] movement supports martyrdom operations in Palestine and Iraq in order to expel the Zionists and the Americans.” . . .
‘Akef discussed Israeli civilian casualties resulting from Palestinian operations in Israel, telling the Saudi daily Al-Watan: “In Israel, there should be no [differentiation between] a civilian and a member of the military. All are enemies of the Arab homeland and of Islam. They are occupiers and have no right to one handsbreadth of the land of Palestine”¦
“We should differentiate between Jews and Zionists. The Jews have rights by virtue of their being the People of the Book [Ahl Al-Kitab, according to Islam], provided they are not occupiers. With regard to the Zionists, we will resist them with all our strength.”
These rights, of course, are only the second-class status of the dhimmis.
In response to a question by the Egyptian weekly Al-Arabi on “relations with the U.S,” ‘Akef said: “We have no relations with the U.S. It is a Satan that abuses the region, lacking all morality and law.” ‘Akef also denied any “secret dialogue between the Americans and the [Muslim] Brotherhood,” saying that this is “an unfounded lie.”
Interesting. That rumor has circulated in connection with the recent appointment to the University of Notre Dame of Tariq Ramadan, the controversian grandson of the Muslim Brotherhood’s founder, Hasan Al-Banna. Evidently it has circulated widely enough to make ‘Akef take the trouble to deny it.
“The [American] tyranny is long known. In the past, they fought secretly, and now they are fighting openly. There is no logic or law in the world that agrees to their occupation of Iraq [and] before that of Palestine, or to what is happening. Allah is helping Syria, which found no savior. Had the Arab and Muslim countries been united, America and Israel would not have been able to withstand them.
This is why radical Muslims want to restore the caliphate, thus (they hope) restoring the unity of the Muslim world, so that it can fight more effectively against its enemies. ‘Akef also exhibits some of the conspiracy paranoia that is so common in the Islamic world these days as a rationalization for defeat:
“I am certain that without the betrayal in Iraq, the Iraqis would have tormented the Americans with all kinds of torments. The American forces would not have remained [in Iraq]. I expect America to collapse soon. The elements of this collapse in America [already] exist, and Allah is the Savior.”
‘Akef adds a denial of Al-Qaeda responsibility for 9/11:
In response to the question from the Saudi daily Al-Watan, “Don’t you think that the September [11, 2001] events are justification of America’s [activity] in Afghanistan?” ‘Akef said: “This is a false statement, because [America] has no proof. They held no fair trial for those arrested on the charge of the September explosion. All they say is a list of names whom they claim bear the responsibility for the September events. If [the Americans] provided proof of the truth of their version, I would fight together with the Americans and join President Bush in this war.”
Regarding the claim that “the Al-Qa’ida organization acknowledged responsibility for these operations in the videocassettes aired on several Arab television channels,” ‘Akef said: “I do not pay any attention to these films, because they are part of the psychological war between these people [Al-Qa’ida] and the American administration.
“These cassettes came in response to the American operations. Washington must prove by trial that they [Al-Qa’ida] are the ones who carried out the explosions in September.”
And on Europe and America:
On the question regarding the effect the veil ban will have on the future of Islam in Europe, ‘Akef said: “I have complete faith that Islam will invade Europe and America, because Islam has logic and a mission.
“The Europeans and the Americans will come into the bosom of Islam out of conviction. In 1993, I went to America and I published a book, ‘Political Pluralism and the Woman,’ that was distributed in the mosque. Thirty [American] women converted immediately to Islam as soon as they read it. These are people who become convinced of the right path — but who will guide them there?”