CAIRO — Al-Qaida's deputy leader, Ayman al-Zawahri, issued the terror
network's first message since the upheaval began in Egypt on Friday,
saying the country's rule has long "deviated from Islam" and warning
that democracy "can only be non-religious."
In the 34-minute videotape issued Friday, al-Zawahri makes no mention on
the protests or former president Hosni Mubarak's fall. The video is
dated to the Islamic lunar month of Safar, which corresponds with the
dates Jan. 5-Feb. 3. It gives no more specific date for its creation.
The only hints that it may have been made since the upheaval that began
Jan. 25 were its title, "A Message of Hope and Glad Tidings to Our
People in Egypt," and a vague reference by al-Zawahri to "what happened
and happens in Egypt."
In it, he gives a long, detailed lecture on Egypt's modern history from
the 18th Century, blaming Western colonialists for implanting secular,
un-Islamic law, according to a transcript by the SITE Intel group, a US
group that monitors militant messages. It said the video, which showed
only a still photo of al-Zawahri as his voice is aired, was posted on
Islamic militant websites.
The video said it was the first of two parts, aimed at answering the
question "what is the reality through which Egypt is living?"