Regular visitors to our site know that we have long maintained – as have others – that al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood have one common goal – the overthrow of western civilization in general, and the United States in particular. Where they differ is on the idea of how best to achieve that goal. The Brotherhood believes in masking its intentions while al-Qaeda does not.
We’d like to add another exhibit into evidence that proves our case and it comes courtesy of none other than Ayman al-Zawahiri, bin Laden’s #2 and al-Qaeda’s current #1.
Via Foreign Policy:
In a recent video entitled “Days with the Imam” in which he recalls Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri declares that the founder of al Qaeda had been a “member of the Muslim Brotherhood in the Arabian Peninsula” before he was evicted in the 1980s. He was expelled because of his insistence on fighting alongside the mujahidin in Afghanistan while the Brotherhood allowed him to bring aid to Pakistan but didn’t want him to go any further. Zawahiri’s claims seem to have caused some embarrassment among the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), judging from how quick MB spokesman Mahmoud Ghozlan was to refute them.
One reason for the embarrassment may be that, with a Muslim Brotherhood president recently elected in Egypt, the organization is eager to reassure the West of its moderate Islamist orientation and is therefore afraid of anything associating it with al Qaeda or jihadism. Yet Zawahiri’s declarations shouldn’t be seen as too problematic in this respect, since they portray the MB as an organization unwilling to let its members take part in physical jihad, even against the Soviets in Afghanistan at a time when the issue was far less controversial than it would later become. A more likely reason for the Brotherhood’s distress, however, is that Zawahiri reveals what among Saudi Islamist insiders is an open secret but remains little known outside those circles: that there exists a Saudi Arabian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood.
If you thought the divide in the west between conservatives and liberals was bad, the divide between the Brotherhood and the Salafists is much worse.
The Brotherhood thinks the Salafists call too much attention to the true intentions of both groups while the Salafists see the Brotherhood as unwilling to proudly proclaim the true intentions of both groups.
That’s why al-Zawahiri (Salafist) isn’t mincing words and why the Brotherhood is in damage control.