Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat- Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood General Guide Mahdi Akif stressed that he rejects Al-Qaeda’s use of violence against civilians. He said in a statement to Asharq al-Awsat that Al-Qaeda Organization is an American illusion; that the thought of Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden is based on violence; and that the Muslim Brotherhood does not support violence under any circumstance except against the occupier.
Akif said: “We (the Brotherhood) have nothing to do with Al-Qaeda or Osama Bin Laden… we are against violence except when fighting the occupier…When he (Bin Laden) fights the occupier then he is a mujahid, and when he attacks civilians, then this is rejected.” He added that “the word Al-Qaeda (Organization) is an American illusion…Bin Laden has a thought …his thought is based on violence, and we do not approve of violence under any circumstances except one and that is fighting an occupier. We have nothing to do with Al-Qaeda or Osama Bin Laden…we condemn any thought that leads to violence. When Bin Laden fights the occupier then he is a mujahid, when he attacks the innocent and citizens then this is rejected.”
The general guide’s statements come a day after religious men and politicians criticized him for statements he made which they believed praised Osama Bin Laden. The guide said that he did not doubt the sincerity of Bin Laden in “resisting the occupation to get closer to God almighty;” that Al-Qaeda Organization “came as a result of injustice and corruption” and is not US-made; and that he (the Guide) supports Al-Qaeda Organization’s activities “against the occupier and not against the people.”