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Egypt Supports Killing American GIs By: Steven Stalinsky
FrontPageMagazine.com | Friday, December 03, 2004

Support for the Iraqi 'resistance' against U.S. troops has become the cause celebre in the Arab media. Such support has not only come from Ba'thist and Islamist sources, but unfortunately also from U.S. Arab allies such as Egypt, including both government and opposition spokesmen. One notable example is from the most prominent Egyptian government newspaper Al-Akhbar, which reported last year that U.S. troops were cannibalizing Iraqi corpses.

A more recent example is Egyptian Labor Party head Magdi Ahmad Hussein, who appeared on Al-Jazeera TV on October 17. He cited the Prophet Muhammad, the spiritual founder of Wahhabi Islam Ibn Taymiyya, and the prominent 20th century Al-Azhar Sheik Shaltout, for setting a precedent for attacks against American troops: "The violence is currently directed at the occupation. This is legitimate violence. This is Jihad against occupiers… Both the Koran and the Prophet's biography permit the killing of prisoners. This exists in our Islamic law…50 years ago, even before the American army arrived in Iraq, Sheik Shaltout said, 'Anyone working in the enemies' military camps and factories is one of them. He's an enemy and he may be killed…' The mujahid should be there, and the cleric should be there, like Ibn Taymiyya, who set out with the mujahideen to the front lines…." Hussein also called for retaliatory attacks on Los Angeles.


The current Sheik of Al-Azhar, Muhammad Sayyed Tantawi, spoke on Lebanese New TV on August 19 to support killing U.S. troops: "Anyone who blows himself up amongst the enemy that wants to kill him and he can find no means of defending himself except blowing himself up amongst these soldiers who are occupying his land and destroying his home, and so he blows himself up amongst these aggressive soldiers, is a Shahid, Shahid, Shahid…." When asked specifically about U.S. troops in Iraq, he avoided giving a direct answer, instead saying, "Don't specify countries and names. I determined a general rule which is based on religious law and that applies to everybody."


An international relations expert from Egypt's most prominent think-thank The Al-Ahram Center, Dr. Said Al-Lawindi, appeared on Egypt's Channel One on November 16, to defend those fighting U.S. troops: "This makes it necessity to distinguish between men of resistance … and the terrorist who leave only scorched earth behind them. I maintain that this is the logic of the American cowboy… The U.S. is a rogue state. It accuses others of [being] rogues, while in fact the U.S. is the greatest rogue state in the entire world."


The deputy leader of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Mahmoud Al-Sayyid Ahmad Al-Habib, gave an interview to Hizbullah's Al-Manar TV on April 8 praising suicide bombings against U.S. troops: "Martyrdom operations…by the Iraqi resistance – these redeem self-confidence and hope, because a nation that does not excel at the industry of death does not deserve life." Dr. Abd Al-Muni'm Abu Al-Futuh, from the General Guidance Council of the Muslim Brotherhood, appeared on Al-Jazeera TV on April 25, adding, "Regarding the resistance, I say clearly and without evasion that we support armed resistance…in Iraq against the American occupier, one hundred percent… The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and around the world wish to carry weapons against the American occupation in Iraq…."


During the fighting this summer in Najaf, Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood issued a public appeal to support the insurgents fighting U.S. soldiers. The statement expresses solidarity "with the noble and brave national Islamic resistance, and call[s] on them to join ranks in the struggle against the occupation." The leading figure among the signatories is Sheikh Muhammad Mahdi 'Akef, leader of the Muslim Brotherhood. The Brotherhood's appeal was also signed by leading Islamist clerics throughout the Arab world.


Writing in Al-Ahram on November 25, Anis Mansour criticized Arab media outlets that state that U.S. soldiers should not be killed. He explained, "Spoiled American soldiers, who have traveled thousand of miles and [are] stationed in desert areas, believe they should not be killed while protecting oil fields and lands as if Iraq is an American property…‘Crusade’ is the exact term to describe the current U.S. race against time [to] destroy Arab unity and let them [i.e. the U.S.] follow the example of [the] former Soviet Union when [it] collapsed." 

The Egyptian government has done almost nothing to stop incitement for attacks against U.S. troops. Despite being America’s main Arab ally and the recipient of nearly $2 billion annually in U.S. foreign aid, Egypt is acting more like an opponent than a friend of the U.S.

Steven Stalinsky is the executive director of The Middle East Media Research Institute.

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