Elections violate Islamic Law: Egypt's Mohamed El-Zawahiri

Ahram Online , Monday 4 Mar 2013

A former leader of Islamic Jihad and brother of 'Al-Qaeda' leader Ayman El-Zawahiri tells Turkish news agency Anadolu elections do not lead to implementation of sharia

Mohamed El-Zawahiri
Salafist lead Mohamed El-Zawahiri presents his views on the compatibility of Islam and Islamic Sharia law (Photo: Al-Ahram)

Mohamed El-Zawahiri, prominent Jihadist-Salafist leader and brother of Al-Qaeda leader Ayman El-Zawahiri, said on Monday that democratic elections violated Islamic Law since they put "sovereignty in the hands of the people and not God."

In an interview with Turkish news agency Anadolu, El-Zawahiri repeated his rejection of "the secular system and its mechanisms." He went on to call for the implementation of "true Sharia [Islamic Law] as based on genuine religious texts."

The 60-year-old Islamist who spent many years in jail under the regime of ousted President Hosni Mubarak added that he would not "give in to current political realities or abandon his principles."

"Based on past experience, and as seen in several countries, elections do not lead to the application of Islamic Law," he asserted.

He noted, however, that Egypt's current system of governance under President Mohamed Morsi was "much better than before," as there was now much greater scope for preaching and expressing one's opinion than there was under the former regime.

"But the current situation is still far from what we dream of," El-Zawahiri added.

El-Zawahiri's statements come ahead of Egypt's second post-revolution parliamentary elections, slated to kick off on 22 April, with the candidacy registration period set to begin on Saturday.

The country's first post-revolution People's Assembly (the lower, legislative house of parliament) was dissolved last year by Egypt's then-ruling Supreme Military Council based on a controversial court ruling.

In 1999, Mohamed El-Zawahiri was sentenced to death in absentia for a handful of terrorist attacks in Egypt, including the 1997 killing of 62 foreign tourists in the Upper Egyptian city of Luxor.

In June 2011, a military court accepted El-Zawahiri's appeal against the death verdict and the case was closed.

Last September, in an interview with American news broadcaster CNN, El-Zawahiri proposed a truce – or hudna – between the West and the Islamist current, asserting that he was in a "unique position to help end the violence." 

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