Analysts discuss latest Al-Qaeda video

Jonathan Spollen
3 Min Read

CAIRO: An Al-Qaeda video posted on the internet Monday accused Egyptian security of being behind a recently released book renouncing the use of violence to establish an Islamic state written by the founder of Islamic Jihad, Sayed Imam El-Sharif.

Al-Qaeda’s spokesman Abu Yahia Al-Libi claimed in the video that El-Sharif’s name was used by intelligence to “propagate and market the document to give it some credibility among the mujahideen.

Al-Libi said that El-Sharif was possibly forced to write the book and asked, “If the document really reflects its author’s belief, then why is the security apparatus keeping him behind bars?

The video follows a similar refutation by Al-Qaeda s number two Ayman Al-Zawahiri who recently posted his reasons online for why Muslims should pursue Jihad in response to the El-Sharif book.

According to leading Muslim Brotherhood member Essam El-Erian, however, El-Sharif s book is genuine, citing El-Sharif’s in-depth and heartfelt conversations with various media as evidence.

“For example he spent at least five hours speaking to Mohamed Salah of Al-Hayat about the book, El-Erian told Daily News Egypt. “This is not the sign of someone who does not believe what he is saying.

Political Islam analyst Khalil Al-Anani told Daily News Egypt that he also believes that El-Sharif’s book is “honest, considering the video a “natural reaction to something that aims to damage Al-Qaeda’s global project.

But he is doubtful it will have the intended effect of turning young minds away from Jihad.

El-Sharif, Al-Anani says, is detached from the younger generations of Jihadists who now listen to other influential figures like imprisoned Jordanian militant Abu Mohamed Al-Makdisi and ideologue Abu Qatada Al-Filistini.

Not true, argues Diaa Rashwan of the Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, who referred to the book upon its release as an “extremely positive development.

Rashwan points to the influence the book has already had on El-Sharif’s fellow former members of Islamic Jihad in convincing them to renounce violence.

“The majority of Jihadists have expressed their solidarity with El-Sharif, Rashwan told Daily News Egypt.

“El-Sharif has a major influence on the younger generations. They get their ideas from people like him, and his book will get them to question what they are doing.

El-Erian however insists that major political, social and economic changes need to take place before Jihad loses its appeal.

“This book will have no effect on the people or Jihadist organizations because the circumstances like Iraq, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and poverty which create violence still exist, he said.

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