Ex Brotherhood Official Showcases Islamist Doublespeak
It "is no difficult task for Allah" to bring America to its knees, a prominent former Muslim Brotherhood official said at a recent discussion in Egypt. American leaders are "all criminals" plotting to stifle Arab revolutions and defend "that criminal and plundering state of Israel," Kemal Helbawy, the Brotherhood's former spokesman in the United Kingdom, said in a video dated July 26 and posted this week by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).
"If we use all the capabilities at our disposal properly, America will be brought to its knees and will be defeated like the Soviets in Afghanistan," he said. "This is no difficult task for Allah."
The remarks came during a sit-in outside the American embassy in Cairo.
Behind him is a poster of Omar Abdel Rahman, the blind sheik considered the inspiration behind the 1993 World Trade Center bombing who is serving a life sentence in the United States for a subsequent plot to bomb New York tunnels and landmarks. New Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi has promised to seek Abdel Rahman's release when he meets U.S. officials.
Helbawy left the Brotherhood last spring, blasting the group for trying to monopolize power in Egypt after a peaceful revolution ousted former President Hosni Mubarak. But Helbawy remains a staunch Islamist and, despite a long record of violent rhetoric, is welcomed among American Islamists and academic groups.
He hailed Osama bin Laden as "a great mujahid" last year just after the American raid in Pakistan killed the al-Qaida leader. He prayed that bin Laden "join the prophets, the martyrs, and the good people" and questioned whether America's proof al-Qaida was behind the 9/11 attacks "was a trick and a bait … All evidences and indications refer that the Americans are the ones who planned this matter, not the Afghans who have weak resources."
The London-based Quilliam Foundation, which works to counter jihadist influence,called this "the latest example of senior Muslim Brotherhood members giving different messages to different audiences. When speaking to mainstream audiences Helbawy presents himself as a moderate reformer; when speaking to Islamists he praises Osama bin Laden. This doublespeak undermines trust between Muslims and non-Muslims and hinders genuine efforts to tackle extremism and terrorism." (...)