Muslim spokesmen in the U.S. tell us very different things about jihad. How are they working to disabuse Muhammad Al-Zawahiri of his misunderstandings of Islam and jihad? “Egyptian Salafist Muhammad Al-Zawahiri, Brother of Al-Qaeda Leader: We Don’t Recognize Elections or President Morsi; Calls for Jihad against the Jews,” from MEMRI, October 4:
Following are excerpts from a TV show featuring Egyptian Salafist Muhammad Al-Zawahiri, brother of Al-Qaeda leader, which aired on CBC TV on October 4, 2012.
Muhammad Al-Zawahiri: I do not belong to Al-Qaeda or any other organization, but ideologically speaking, I am in agreement with all these organizations. Our common denominator is the Islamic shari’a.
TV host: Are you in agreement with the ideology of Al-Qaeda?
Muhammad Al-Zawahiri: With its ideology, but I’m not involved in its activity. The people in Al-Qaeda follow Sunni ideology.
TV host: But this ideology is manifest in the activity which you say you disagree…
Muhammad Al-Zawahiri: I didn’t say that I disagree with it. I don’t agree or disagree. I am saying that I am not a member of any organization so don’t ask me about things I did not do.
Just as Allah commands us to pray, to go on the Hajj pilgrimage, and to adhere to monotheism, he commands us to wage Jihad and to implement the shari’a. We want to fully implement the shari’a, within legitimate constraints. We will not implement something if the time is not right, if it is bound to lead to undesirable or harmful results. We want to implement our religion as revealed in the shari’a.
Fighting Israel, fighting the Jews is a religious duty incumbent upon all. The Egyptian government should have been fighting the Jewish enemy. Perhaps due to circumstances — its weakness, its interests — the Egyptian government ignored a religious duty incumbent upon it. Not just the Egyptian government — the Jordanian one as well. This is a religious duty incumbent upon all Muslims.
TV host: I still don’t understand how you view the concept of state: You reject democracy, you reject the judiciary because of man-made law…
Muhammad Al-Zawahiri: You don’t have to go into all those details — I reject anything that runs counter to Islam. Do you agree with that? Likewise, I agree to anything acceptable by Islamic law.
TV host: Do you believe that the elections…
Muhammad Al-Zawahiri: Elections are illegitimate.
TV host: Elections run counter to the shari’a?
Muhammad Al-Zawahiri: There is evidence for that in the shari’a.
TV host: So you believe that the elections that were held…
Muhammad Al-Zawahiri: Allah and the Prophet Muhammad said so. I am willing to sit down and discuss this with anyone who can prove otherwise.
TV host: So you believe that the elections violated the shari’a, and that our man-made law violates the shari’a…
Muhammad Al-Zawahiri: Absolutely, and I think that all Muslims should believe this.
TV host: Democracy also violates the shari’a?
Muhammad Al-Zawahiri: Anyone who says otherwise is welcome to provide evidence. If such evidence exists, I will take it back.
TV host: So you do not recognize the results of the elections?
Muhammad Al-Zawahiri: Absolutely not.
TV host: You do not recognize the president…
Muhammad Al-Zawahiri: I did not recognize the previous president, and I do not recognize this one. I recognize the rule of Islamic religious law.