Al-Qaeda’s leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, released a speech on 15 February 2018, entitled, “Glad Tidings of Victory To Our People in Egypt”. Al-Zawahiri’s address was the eighth episode of the “Brief Messages To A Victorious Umma (Islamic community or nation)” series. Al-Zawahiri reiterated a theme al-Qaeda has used many times, by referring to the downfall of Muhammad Morsi, the first elected president of Egypt, who was deposed in a military coup d’état in July 2013. Morsi, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, had taken part in elections and had tried to find a compact with the non-Islamist sections of the Egyptian state and society, including the felul, the remnants of the fallen tyranny, notably in the military, police, bureaucracy, and judiciary, plus the media and business class. It had served Morsi no good: severely constrained in his authority, Morsi’s government unravelled quickly when these forces came together with foreign sponsors for a putsch. The old regime was restored in Egypt, with the support of Western countries, despite being more violent than ever. For al-Qaeda, the lesson of this episode is clear: without a violent revolution that creates tabula rasa, Islamist politics will not get a chance. An English-language transcript of al-Zawahiri’s speech was made available by al-Qaeda’s media apparatus and is reproduced below.
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In the name of Allah, praise be to Allah, and prayers and peace be upon the prophet of Allah and upon his family and his companions and all who follow him.
Oh Muslim brothers everywhere, may Allah’s peace and mercy and blessings be upon you.
As for what follows:
I would like to send a brief message to the noble and the free on their religion and their Islam and their sanctities in Muslim Egypt, and I say to them:
I hope you will accept this speech of mine as a Muslim brother far from sectarianism and intolerance and belonging to factions.
I hope that you consider this in my words, and what was in it from truth and sincerity and accepted by Him, and what is not that then leave it out.
My noble and dear Muslim brothers, the angry Egyptian peoples’ revolution ended with loss and waste, and the tyrannical corrupt criminal apostate regime returned more corrupt and criminal and more apostasy.
And all of this because this popular anger had shed light on it—or rode its wave—leaders smaller than the face of the criminal tyrannical falsehood, but allow me to tell you frankly: leaders emerged and raised the understanding and coexistence and identification with the apostate criminal tyrannical falsehood, but often or—mostly—on recognizing his legitimacy.
Leaders were working through the laws of the regime fighting Islam, and taking from its secular constitution reference and ruling, and moving according to what was allowed by that regime, but rather often obeyed and carried out what was ordered of it by its security apparatus.
The leaders were determined to limit the confrontation of the regime fighting Islam and loyal to America and submitter to Israel and the stealer of the wealth of the umma—through what they called—by peaceful means only, and they differed amongst themselves with great differences, but they all agreed to criminalize who sought or called for jihad and resistance to this criminal apostate regime with his hand and his tongue.
And these leaders did not realize—or they did not want to realize—that abandoning the fundamentals of the aqeeda [creed]—and which is among the most important recognition of the rule of shari’a—the word and the religion would be lost.
And these leaders did not realize—or they did not want to realize—that the revolution must eradicate the corrupt regime from its roots to succeed, and this is a historical fact, and thus the revolution which its leaders reconcile with the stubborn military council created by Mubarak, a revolution which ruled itself with abortion.
And these leaders are deceiving the public that the army wraps around them to protect them, and did not realize—or they did not want to realize—that the stubborn army—protector of the secular regime fighting the shari’a—does not siege the protestors to protect them, but rather sieges them waiting for orders of their masters to eliminate them, but America quietly calmed the matter, deceived the rebellious people, and aborted the revolution.
And these leaders did not realize—or did not want to realize—that the greatest criminals in this world—and chief among them America—will not please except those who are slaves to them, to disbelieve in his religion and submit to them this world, and handle the word of truth of the Almighty with care: “Never will the Jews nor the Christians be pleased with you until you follow their religion” [Al-Baqarah (2): 120].
And these leaders did not realize—or want to realize—that granting safety to the criminals and the internal hangmen, and understanding with the leaders of the stubborn tyrannical army fighting shari’a, and maximization of the corrupt secular judiciary, had lost the angry Muslim peoples’ revolution, and these leaders are today surrounded by the fire of the internal criminals who secured them, and leaders of the stubborn army who agreed with them, and the corrupt and criminal and apostate judges who magnified them. All of this has now become clear to all, except to many of the leaders, who are still waiting for America or some of its other followers to be pleased with it, to grant it another chance to exercise the same disrespect for the good public.
These leaders are the ones who abandoned the demands for shari’a, and were limited on the demand for legitimacy of Muhammad Morsi, then gave up on this demand, and many of them lied with Morsi’s enemies, and it was enough to only demand the removal of [Abdelfattah] al-Sisi.
Now I call on everyone for a new beginning to get rid of all the mistakes of the past.
A new beginning in which every Muslim is a devout and noble Muslim in Muslim Egypt on the word of tawhid [monotheism], and upon the rule of shari’a, and upon the work to eradicate this criminal corrupt apostate regime from its roots, and upon his jihad with weapons and statements and the soul and wealth and words and action, with raids and ambushes and incursions, and the release of prisoners and demonstrations and strikes and meetings and publicity and media and publishing and statement.
A new beginning in which each noble Muslim refuses agreements of surrender with Israel, and security cooperation with America.
A new beginning in which we are working to root out the corrupt ruling regime in Egypt from its roots, and to establish an Islamic rule governed by shari’a, which is neither superior nor governmental, and publishes justice, and simplifies the shura [consultation], and protects the sanctities, and restores rights, and protects morality, and supports the weak, and oppresses the corrupt, and seeks to liberate all the land of the Muslims, and release their prisoners, and restore their wealth.
Here we extend our hands and will it be answered? And we call upon the nobles of our umma, and who will respond?
Have we not been told? Allah is my witness
Our last prayer is praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds, and prayer and peace be upon our master Muhammad and his family and his companions. And Allah’s peace and mercy and blessings be upon you.