Muhammad Mukhtar Mustafa al-Muqri, Abu-Ithar, the mufti of the banned Egyptian Islamic Group Al-Jama”a Al-Islamiya and a political refugee in Britain, has said that he has nothing to do with the calls of infidelity, and with rebelling against incumbent Arab Governments, which has been attributed to him on fundamentalist Islamic websites. He emphasized that these were old Fatwas that were issued years ago, but were now quoted out of their chronological and historical contexts.
Sheikh Al-Muqri is the main architect of the end of violence initiative of 1997, and many Islamists consider him the successor of Dr. Omar Abd-al-Rahman, the spiritual leader of the Islamic Group, who is currently detained in the United States on charges of involvement in the 1993 New York explosions.
Al-Muqri said that most of these writings that were attributed to him, such as "Is It Jihad To Kill Those Who Exchange God for Something Else?" and" Fighting the Infidel Ruler," were originally published in the "Al-Kalimah al-Tayibah (the Good Word)" magazine, which used to be issued in Austria. Al-Muqri described the fundamentalist writings that we reattributed to him after the April 2005 explosions in Cairo as" prejudiced." He accused some individuals of trying to drag his name into certain events by publishing his past articles out of contexts.
Al-Muqri added that he replied to these writings by writing a 400 page book, well known among the Islamic movement and those following it, entitled "The Ruling on Killing Civilians," which was published in 1998. Asharq Al-Awsat conducted an interview with Al-Muqri at the time of the publication of the book, and he said at that time that his book helped in putting an end to the militancy practiced by the Islamic groups in Egypt.
Al-Muqri was amazed that some people insist on excerpting some paragraphs from his old publications and using them in current times. He described the attempt to link old fundamentalist writings to new issues, such as the Cairo explosions, as some sort of "confusion, masking, and deception" aimed at distorting his image.
Al-Muqri stressed that he did not issue any statements or fatwas at the time of the Cairo explosions, which took place on 7 April 2005. He also said that he did not issue any documents in which he commented on the events in Egypt, and did not comment in his lessons to his students about what happened in Egypt.
The"Al-Tawhid wa al-Jihad" website, supervised by the followers of the fundamentalist leader, Muhammad al-Maqdisi, printed old statements by al-Muqri that sparked controversy among journalists and Islamists. Al-Maqdisi”s website prints books and writings by the symbols of the "Salafi Jihadi" movement, such as "Democracy Is a Religion," "Ibrahim”s Religion and the Call of the Prophets and Messengers," "Watersheds with Fruits of Jihad," "Precious Words in Warning Against Satan”s Deception," and "Do Not Be Sad, God Is with Us;" they are all written by the Jordanian fundamentalist leader, Abu-Muhammad al-Maqdisi, whose name is Isam al-Barquqi, who is currently imprisoned in Jordan, and who writes books and sends them to his followers abroad.
Abu-Muhammad al-Maqdisi is the fundamentalist who wrote most about the terrorist actions in Saudi Arabia, and tried to justify the killing of innocent people in terrorist operations. The "Al-Tawhidwa al-Jihad" website prints in particular the publications of the Egyptian "Jihad" Organization, the Egyptian "Islamic Group," and the Algerian "Salafi Group for Call and Combat," in addition to books such as "The Absent Religious Duty" by Muhammad Abd-al-Salam Faraj, the shari”ah faqih of the Egyptian "Jihad" Organization, and hundreds of articles by the leaders of the fundamentalist movement, such as the Syrian activist Abu-Busayr al-Tartusi, the Egyptian Hani al-Siba”i, and the Syrian Abu- Mus”ab who is wanted by the United States. The website also includes an article by Abu-Mus”ab al-Zarqawi, the leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq, entitled "The Prophets Are Also Afflicted, Then They Are Rewarded."
Al-Muqri stressed in a telephone interview with Asharq Al-Awsat that he never sent any of his articles or books to the "Al-Tawhid wa al-Jihad" website. He pointed out that the editors of this website get his previous writings from other websites, and from the websites of the "Al-Sha”b" electronic newspaper, and "Al-Asr" electronic magazine, and then insert them on their website without his permission, a fact that made journalists and those following fundamentalist affairs think wrongly that they were new writings by him.
Al-Muqri said that some years ago he stated his stance toward the calls of infidelity in a famous book entitled "ABC of Authority and Postponement" in which he said, "A sentence of infidelity does not apply to all concerned," and pointed out, "A specific person cannot be considered an infidel except when conditions are satisfied and impediments are absent." He explained that he was currently busy preparing a book entitled, "If you Like her," reviewing the Islamic teachings about the marriage of Muslims to non-Muslim Western women.