Egyptian authorities today took action to disperse two sit-ins tied to supporters of former president Mohammed Morsi. Unsurprisingly, the forcible measures used to disperse Morsi’s supporters quickly led to massive clashes. Security forces, according to the New York Times, carried out “a scorched-earth assault that killed hundreds” over more than 12 hours.
As news of the events in Cairo swept across various media platforms, jihadists, like nearly everyone else, started to comment. For example, in the jihadi forum Shumukh al Islam, one user claimed, in remarks obtained and translated by the SITE Intelligence Group, that now “is the opportunity for a ‘military’ jihadi armed current to rise to defend Sunnis with the sword and spear.” The user, Abu al Kheir al Filistini, continued to call on Allah to “quickly send Qaedat al-Jihad to our people in Egypt to defend them.”
Other users called for revenge over the deaths in Cairo and said that Egyptian army commander General Abdul Fattah el Sisi must attempt to “extinguish” the fire he lit.
Similarly, Abdullah Muhammad Mahmoud of the jihadi Dawa’at al-Haq Foundation for Studies and Research wrote in an article posted to jihadist forums that today “the last of the leaves of ‘peace’ fell when peacefulness did not help thousands of peaceful Protestors.”
Mahmoud, who previously urged Salafi jihadists not to antagonize the Muslim Brotherhood-led government, argued that today’s events show “to everyone with two eyes that the idolatrous Christians and secularists, and the Pharaoh’s army, police and soldiers, and behind them the Jewish and Crusader forces of disbelief and tyrannical regimes, wage war on Islam and don’t accept to allow a state be established for it or have authority.”
“It is no longer possible to turn a blind eye to the obvious fact that they [secularists and the idolatrous disbelievers] are hostile to Islam and they wage war against it and they hate it,” Mahmoud wrote.
Mahmoud then asked, “If jihad isn’t declared today to defend the religion, then when will it be declared?!” He continued: “Will Muslims wait until they are prevented from praying in mosques?! Will they wait until the beard becomes a charge that is punishable by imprisonment?! Will they wait until their sons enter prisons in the tens of thousands to be tortured and spend tens of years of their lives in their depths?!”
Mahmoud concluded his short message by warning: “O Muslims of Egypt, if you don’t do jihad today, then only blame yourselves tomorrow.”
Another theme that emerged in responses to today’s events was the argument that the Muslim Brotherhood had made a mistake in engaging in the democratic process. This theme, a general jihadi talking point that al Qaeda and its affiliates have pushed repeatedly since Morsi’s ouster, was reiterated in a statement released today by the Ibn Taymiyyah Media Center, a jihadi media unit linked to the Mujahideen Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem.
An essay released last month by Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi, a global jihadi ideologue and former mentor of Abu Musab al Zarqawi made a similar argument, according to a summary of the essay by the SITE Intelligence Group. In the essay, dated July 11, 2013, al Maqdisi contended that armed struggle “is the only correct method to liberate Muslim countries from foreign domination,” SITE wrote. The summary quoted al Maqdisi as claiming that the ouster of Morsi in early July “demonstrates the soundness of the jihadi project and the choice of the ammunition box over the ballot box.”