The Muslim Brotherhood, a dominant political force in Egypt and around the Arab world, is notorious for saying one thing to Western media and something else to local media. That was the case today, when leading member Essam al-Erian gave Reuters a strong but measured statement on the killing of Osama bin Laden — but left out key details from the group’s reaction on its Arabic-language website.
“With Bin Laden’s death, one of the reasons for which violence has been practised in the world has been removed,” Essam al-Erian, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood’s governing body, told Reuters. “It is time for Obama to pull out of Afghanistan and Iraq and end the occupation of U.S. and Western forces around the world that have for so long harmed Muslim countries.”
While al-Erian portrayed bin Laden as a cause for violence in the Reuters article, the Muslim Brotherhood’s statement on their Arabic-language page said nothing critical of him. The website refers to the killing of “Sheikh” Osama bin Laden, using an honorific title, and condemns the attack as an assassination. It demands America stay out of the internal affairs of Arab and Muslim countries, and blames the West for launching a media campaign to demonize Islam.
Above all, the MB’s Arabic-language statement “confirms that the legitimate resistance against foreign occupation, for any country is a legitimate right guaranteed by divine law and international convention,” in reference to America’s presence in Iraq and Afghanistan. By supporting violence against America’s troops in Muslim lands, the MB essentially defends the al-Qaeda campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The text also instructs the United States to stop its intelligence operations in Muslim lands, the key source of information that led to bin Laden’s killing. It furthers support the “legitimate resistance” of Palestinian groups against Israel, and tells the U.S. to do the same.
So while the MB claims to have renounced violence, it has honored bin Laden as a sheikh and called for terrorism against American forces in Muslim lands.
See the translation of the Muslim Brotherhood’s statement on the next page.