In a message released by al Qaeda’s As Sahab on Dec. 7, Muhammad bin Mahmoud Rabie al Bahtiyti, an al Qaeda official, said the group is following current events in Egypt, even though it is “away from them.”
“[W]e would have liked to be among them [Egyptian Muslims], helping them and supporting them, and blocking off the assaults of the oppressors and the tyrants,” al Bahtiyti said, according to a translation by the SITE Intelligence Group. “Even though we are away from them – and that is imposed on us – this does not prevent us from addressing them and their plight and doing out duty towards them.”
With regard to the ongoing crackdown against the Muslim Brotherhood and its supporters, al Bahtiyti argued that a peaceful approach will not do anything of importance. “Anyone who calls to resist falsehood with peacefulness is swimming in a sea of illusions, and perhaps in a sea of blood, in vain,” he declared.
He also called on Egyptian Muslims to work towards the implementation of sharia-based governance. Egyptian Muslims must “stand in the face of this fierce campaign led by the people of falsehood and the forces of delusion,” al Bahtiyti urged. They must “educate people about their obligation to support the religion and empower the Shariah,” he continued.
According to al Bahtiyti, force is necessary to ensure sharia-based governance is brought about. “The reality about which there is no doubt, is that falsehood will not be removed and will not go away except with force and with power,” al Bahtiyti’s message said.
Al Bahtiyti described the current government in Egypt as a “small band of secularists that imposed themselves … over the necks of the people.” He further denounced the current regime for allegedly trying to fight Islam, “extirpate its people, and prevent its empowerment, and to serve the enemy the Jews and Crusaders and to be their follower.”
In addition to slamming the current government, al Bahtiyti criticized the Muslim Brotherhood. The Muslim Brotherhood-led government, which was overthrown in early July 2013, “tried to satisfy all the parties of falsehood and the protectors of the seculars and misguided from among the army, police, secularists, and Christians,” he alleged. Al Bahtiyti further said that he hoped the overthrow would give Muslim Brotherhood supporters the chance to “review themselves and correct their path.”
“Experiences have proved beyond a doubt that the road to democracy that some people claim will help the religion and establish Shariah, is just an illusion and deviation from the path,” he stated.
The message from al Bahtiyti came approximately one month after 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 al 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.
In January 2009, the US Treasury department designated al Bahtiyti, then believed to be in Iran, as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist. According to Treasury, al Bahtiyti, a member of Egyptian Islamic Jihad and al Qaeda, is the son-in-law of current al Qaeda emir Ayman al Zawahiri. Al Bahtiyti was on an al Qaeda military committee in the 1990s and purportedly participated in the 1995 bombing of the Egyptian Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan, Treasury noted. Following al Qaeda’s Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Bahtiyti was told by Zawahiri “to take al-Zawahiri’s family to Iran.”
More recently, in late January 2013, al Bahtiyti wrote a biography about Abd el Kader Mahmoud Mohamed el Sayed, a longtime jihadist who was killed in a drone strike in Pakistan sometime in the spring of 2012. In the biography, which was released through al Qaeda’s Al Fajr Media Center, al Bahtiyti detailed el Sayed’s activities as a member of Egyptian Islamic Jihad and al Qaeda.