In a recent article published on the website Minbar al Tawhid wa’l Jihad, leading global jihad ideologue Sheikh Abu al Mundhir al Shinqiti called on Egypt’s Muslims to wage jihad against Egyptian security forces, in particular within the Sinai Peninsula. According to Shinqiti, the Egyptian army “is an army of infidels and apostates” that is no different from the armies of the US, Israel, or the regime of Bashar al Assad in Syria.
“[B]elonging to this army is apostasy from Islam and a pledge of allegiance to the enemies of Allah. Belonging to this army is belonging to a sect that is at war with Allah,” Shinqiti wrote. He further argued that “Muslim women married to a member of the army should know that their marriage is nullified because [their husbands] are apostates.”
In the article, translated by the SITE Intelligence Group, al Shinqiti also questioned the Muslim Brotherhood’s approach to the July 2013 overthrow of Mohammed Morsi. Shinqiti also declared that anyone advocating non-violence “is a criminal thug who wants the Ummah to be eradicated and to be slaughtered.”
According to Shinqiti, the Egyptian army must be fought as “peaceful change … is now impossible.” “Every attempt to avoid fighting the Egyptian Army is like treating a disease with the wrong medicine,” he wrote. Shinqiti further called on Egyptian Muslims to “come and respond to the call of jihad … come and shed blood for the sake of establishing Allah’s law.” Moreover, he declared jihad against the Egypt army to be “a religious duty and divine obligation.”
“Every Muslim must support them according to his ability. Whoever is able to travel to them, fight with them, and increase their ranks, it is a duty to do so … whoever is unable must support them with money, by inciting to fight [with them], and by [helping to] prepare the fighters,” Shinqiti stated.
With regard to ongoing Egyptian military operations in the Sinai, al Shinqiti contended that they are merely an attempt to protect Israel. “The goal of the security campaign that the tyrannical army in Egypt is directing in the Sinai is to protect Israel and its borders after jihadi groups in the Sinai became a real threat to it,” Shinqiti wrote.
In addition, Shinqiti praised ongoing attacks by “your mujahideen brothers” in the Sinai and called on Egyptian Muslims to join them, “support them, increase their ranks, and be an aid and a champion of them.” “[J]ihad in the Sinai is a great opportunity for you to gather and unite under a pure flag, unsullied by ignorant slogans,” Shinqiti claimed.
Jihadist statements on overthrow of Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohammed Morsi
Since the overthrow of Mohammed Morsi in early July 2013, there has been a plethora of statements from jihadists in response to the ongoing crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood. For example, Harith bin Ghazi al Nadhari (also known as Muhammad al Murshidi), an official in al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), charged on Aug. 25 that the Egyptian government was seeking “to return Egypt to the era of oppression, tyranny and the domination of the security and intelligence agencies.”
On Aug. 17, jihadist ideologue Abu Sa’ad al ‘Amili posted a series of tweets to his Twitter account urging Egyptian Muslims to prepare for an “open war.” Likewise, Abdullah Muhammad Mahmoud of the jihadist Dawa’at al-Haq Foundation for Studies and Research warned Egyptian Muslims, in an article posted to jihadist forums on Aug. 14, that “if you don’t do jihad today, then only blame yourselves tomorrow.”
Similarly, on Aug. 15, Abu Hafs al Maqdisi, the leader of the Gaza-based Jaish al Ummah (Army of the Nation), called on Egyptians to wage “jihad” against Egyptian army commander General Abdul Fattah el Sisi. Four days later, Shabaab, al Qaeda’s affiliate in Somalia, urged Egyptian Muslims to “pick up arms and defend yourself.” In addition, on Aug. 30, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant called on Egyptians to wage ‘jihad’ against army.
And on Aug. 22, al Salafiyya al Jihadiyya in Sinai released a statement that called on Muslims to fight the “apostate” Egyptian army. The communiqué was particularly notable as last fall the group said: “[T]he army and the police are not our targets and that our weapons are directed at the enemies and the enemies of our Ummah the Jews.” More recently, in mid-May, the jihadist group said: “[T]he target of the Salafist Jihadist current in Sinai is the Zionist enemy and its operations are directed to them, and the Egyptian soldiers are not a target for us.”
More recently, on Sept. 10, Ansar Jerusalem declared that “it is obligatory to repulse them [the Egyptian army] and fight them until the command of Allah is fulfilled.” Similarly, on Sept. 15, the Salafi jihadist group declared: “We in Ansar Jerusalem and all the mujahideen in Sinai in Egypt as a whole stress that the blood of innocent Muslims will not go in vain.”
In addition, on Sept. 22, the Ibn Taymiyyah Media Center (ITMC), a jihadist media unit tied to the Mujahideen Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem, called for jihadists to strike the Egyptian army. Now is the time for the “mujahideen to hit without fail so as to thwart those criminals from among the Egyptian army,” the group said. And on Oct. 4, al Salafiyya al Jihadiyya in Sinai threatened to kill anyone found aiding Egyptian security forces.
Along with the calls for attacks, another theme that has been emphasized since the overthrow of Mohammed Morsi is the argument that the Muslim Brotherhood had made a mistake in engaging in the democratic process. This theme is a general jihadi talking point that al Qaeda and its affiliates, such as al Shabaab and al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), have pushed repeatedly since Morsi’s ouster. In July, AQIM official Abu Abdul Ilah Ahmed al Jijeli said Morsi’s overthrow should teach Egyptian Muslims “that the price for applying principles on the ground is a mountain of body parts and seas of blood, because evil must be killed and not shown mercy, and righteousness must be achieved by cutting the head of those who corrupt and not reason with them.”
An essay released in July by Abu Muhammad al Maqdisi, a global jihadi ideologue and former mentor of Abu Musab al Zarqawi made a similar argument. In the essay, dated July 11, 2013, al Maqdisi contended that armed struggle was the only way to achieve the liberation of Muslim lands. Al Maqdisi further claimed that the ouster of Morsi proved “the soundness of the jihadi project and the choice of the ammunition box over the ballot box.”
And in his most recent message, which was released to jihadist forums on Oct. 11, al Qaeda emir Ayman al Zawahiri concentrated on Egypt. In the audio message, Zawahiri called on Egyptian Muslims to unite and “rid Egypt of this criminal gang that jumped on power with iron and fire and took advantage of the concession of some factions in their drooling behind the mirage of the delusional reconciliation.”