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Woman Grieves for Her 9-Year-Old Son, Killed In a Suicide Attack; Egypt's envoy to Iraq, Ihab el-Sherif, Being Held Before His Murder

ENGLISH EXCLUSIVE: Muslim Radicals Tell al-Qaeda 'Stop Killing Innocent Civilians'

The murder of Egypt's ambassador in Iraq and the wholesale slaughter of Iraqi innocents by Musab al-Zarqawi and his al-Qaeda affiliate have brought surprising denunciations from two Egyptian fundamentalist groups. The groups, Al-Jihad, or 'Holy War' and Al-Jamaa Al-Islaamiyya, argue that al-Qaeda's bloodthirsty mistakes are making life difficult for its radical Islamic brethren around the world.

By Mohammad Salah

Edited by Rob Gibran

July 11, 2005

Original Article (Arabic) Translation provided by    

Cairo: Two Egyptian fundamentalist groups that have both been known to use violence as a means of forcing change strongly condemned Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and his “al-Qaeda group in Iraq” for their killing of Ehab Al-Sharif, the Egyptian ambassador in Baghdad.

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi

“Al-Jihad” [the Holy war] and “Al-Jamaa Al-Islaamiyya” [The Islamic fundamentalist Group] issued separate statements deeply critical of Zarqawi and his killing of civilians, including Al-Sharif.

Al-Jihad said that they were surprised by ambassador Al-Sharif’s death, and that they completely reject such a terrible act.  They reminded Zarqawi that the religion of Islam prohibits in the strongest possible terms the killing of civilians, whether they be women, children, men of the cloth, messengers, or ambassadors, as long as they do not participate in a war against Muslims. They noted that there is ample evidence in Islamic texts for this prohibition, and that these issues have long ago been agreed upon by Islamic scholars.

Al-Jihad also added: “Even as we do not approve of and condemn this act, we also condemn the unfair occupation policies that only result in confusing the minds of our youth.  These unjust policies lead to sedition and acts of recklessness.  Lastly, we implore everyone involved to heed God’s ban on the shedding of innocent blood, and we advise them to be very cautious and not commit any rash acts.”

Al-Jamaa Al-Islaamiyya’s statement considered the killing of the Egyptian ambassador in Baghdad another crime to be added to a long list of transgressions committed by Zarqawi and his group.  

They added that it is obvious that Zarqawi and his ilk show a blatant disregard for the teachings of Islam and the Prophet Mohammad’s instructions on how Muslims should treat one another.  The statement goes on to say that “the killing of Muslims with poor excuses and in cold blood shows motivations that have nothing to do with Islam or with the least amount of civility and decency. It is this, more than anything else, which makes even Muslims antagonistic toward Islamic movements, and doubtful of these movements’ credibility in their quest for positive social change.”

Al-Jamaa Al-Islaamiyya emphasized that God did not make “jihad” lawful for the killing of Muslims, but rather for their protection; not for felling thousands of them with car bombs, but rather for his reverence; and not for kidnapping and slaughtering them and splaying their pictures over the Internet, but for spreading peace among them.

The statement went on to say that the killing of thousands of Muslims in Iraq and the assassination of the Egyptian ambassador “bear no resemblance to the “jihad” that Allah authorized,” and that “‘jihad’ is not for murdering innocent civilians, women, children or the elderly, even if they are not Muslim, then how can it be so if they are Muslim?”

Al-Jamaa Al-Islaamiyya’s statement also describe the killing of the Egyptian ambassador in Baghdad as one of Zarqawi’s most heinous crimes, and that he and his group bring shame to all Muslims and to most Islamic movements.  The group also refuted the justifications that Zarqawi’s group issued for the killing of Al-Sharif:

“Even if it were true that the ambassador was supporting America and its crusading soldiers, that by itself is not a valid reason for executing him … but how could one claim that the ambassador is supporting the Americans in Iraq when Egypt and the United States are at odds over the Iraqi issue?”

“The so-called Al-Qaeda religious court disputes the fact that the Egyptian ambassador was protected by the teachings of the Prophet [Mohammad] that forbids the killing of emissaries, since the ambassador was sent to the Iraqi authority and not to Al-Qaeda itself.  What was not clarified by Al-Qaeda was, how could an ambassador offer his credentials to them, or how could he even enter Iraq in the first place if her were solely an ambassador to them?  In reality, embassies are set up between nations, and not between a country and a bunch of wanderers and vagabonds who have no roots and no influence over land or people.”

Al-Jamaa Al-Islaamiyya’s also questioned why al-Qaeda had not learned from its past mistakes:

“They bombed the Egyptian Embassy in Pakistan using the same pretext as when they murdered the Egyptian ambassador in Baghdad, and that did not lead to the achievement of any of their objectives.  Previously, they [al-Qaeda] targeted the heart of the U.S. and its embassies abroad, and all that accomplished was the death and displacement of millions of Islamic movements and al-Qaeda sympathizers, the fall of Islamic Afghanistan, the occupation of Iraq … and a fierce and unprecedented anti-Islam sentiment throughout the world.”

“Why do they [al-Qaeda] repeat the same mistakes?  Why don’t the members of ‘al-Qaeda in Iraq’ try to be more rational in their actions?  Why won’t they stay their sword from those who do not fight against them or occupy their lands, before they make too many enemies, and before they alienate everyone around them?”


— Iranian Television: Iraqi Shiite Cleric As'ad Muhammad Qasir Says People Should Not Help the Americans In Any Way, July 5, 00:01:11, MEMRI

“We must treat the Americans as enemies: Consider them an enemy.”

Iraqi Shiite Cleric As'ad Qasir

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