Mohamed al-Zawahiri, prominent member of al-Jihad militant group and brother of al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, said he started an initiative to mediate between the West and Islamic factions in the Arab world.
“I am well aware of the way each camp thinks and that is why I see myself as a suitable mediator,” he told Al Arabiya’s daily al-Hadath al-Masry show (The Egyptian Event).
Zawahiri explained that both his brother and late al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden launched similar initiatives but got no response from the West then he decided to start his own.
“I wrote the details of this initiative while I was in jail, but my lawyer and uncle insisted on keeping it for fear that it would put my life in danger.”
Those details, he added, show that the reconciliation he proposes between the West and Islamists is not one in which the Muslims emerge as losers like what has been happening over time.
“This initiative makes sure the understanding between the two parties will be in the best interest of Muslims and will not in anyway mean that Western powers are allowed to keep on occupying parts of the Muslim world.”
The presence of the American military bases, Zawahiri pointed out, in several Muslim and Arab countries is a form of occupation and it is done against the will of the people in these countries.
Zawahiri stated that the type of reconciliation he proposes will not be an “eternal one” since circumstances change constantly.
“Therefore the terms of this reconciliation will have to be revised in accordance with any emerging issues that necessitate that.”
Zawahiri said he rejected a previous reconciliation initiative launched by the state because it violated several Islamic principles.
“Accepting that initiative would have meant obeying the orders of the state while overlooking what is best for Muslims. It was an initiative that stripped us of our rights, but my initiative abides by God’s laws.”
Zawahiri pointed out that the state was not serious about reaching an understanding with Islamist militant groups because they did not want violence to stop.
“It was better for them that terrorism continues because this is how they justified staying in power.”
Zawahiri said he received death threats from State Security and asked to have a public confrontation with one of the officers that worked at the pre-revolution formidable apparatus about this issue.
“I was also subjected to several unfair trials and I was never proven guilty in any of them. This was also the case with several proponents of the Jihadist ideology.”
When asked about his perception of democracy, Zawahiri said that if it is meant to make the people the source of all powers, then it is against Islam.
“Democracy should only be used to apply God’s laws for He is the source of all powers and He Has the supremacy over all people.”
As for jihad, Zawahiri said it is an important aspect of Islam.
“Jihadist thought is a representative of Islam is general and if anybody can prove otherwise, we are willing to revise our ideologies.”
Zawahiri denied any link between the initiative and the film that derided the Prophet Mohammed, since he announced in early September. He said it is also not related to Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi’s upcoming visit to the United States.
He also extended an invitation to Muslim scholars to hold public debates with him about his initiative.
“I am sure they will realize how closely it abides by Islamic laws.”