'Islam is not bin Laden', says Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood

AFP, Monday 2 May 2011

Muslim Brotherood hawk Mahmoud Ezzat stresses that Osama bin Laden does not represent Islam and urges the US to end its occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq

Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood said on Monday that Osama bin Laden, who was killed by US forces in Pakistan, did not represent Islam and said the United States should pull out of Iraq and Afghanistan.

"Islam is not bin Laden," Mahmoud Ezzat, the Brotherhood's number two, told AFP.

"After 11 September, there had been a lot of confusion. Terrorism was mixed up with Islam," he said. "In the coming phase, everyone will be looking to the West for just behaviour."

The Muslim Brotherhood was long banned under ousted president Hosni Mubarak, but it has since formed a political party and plans to contest elections.

Ezzat believes that the US has long used bin Laden and his extremist network as a "pretext to wage war in Muslim countries."

"The United States should pull out [of Iraq and Afghanistan] because it should not be occupying these lands, not because bin Laden is dead," he said.

The Al-Qaeda leader and 11 September mastermind was killed on Sunday during a fire fight with covert US forces in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad, northeast of the capital Islamabad.

Bin Laden's deputy, Egypt-born Ayman El-Zawahiri, recently accused Washington of installing sympathetic new regimes in Tunisia and Egypt following popular revolts that toppled their long-time presidents.

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