ISIS Editorial Sharply Criticizes Al-Qaeda For Supporting Hamas: Al-Qaeda, Muslim Brotherhood Are Two Sides Of The Same Coin

June 11, 2021

The following report is now a complimentary offering from MEMRI's Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor (JTTM). For JTTM subscription information, click here.

On June 10, 2021, Issue 290 of the Islamic state's (ISIS) Al-Naba' weekly magazine featured an editorial titled "The Silent Retractions," which cited Al-Qaeda's support for Hamas during the recent war with Israel as evidence that Al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood are two sides of the same coin. 

To support the argument about the similarity between Al-Qaeda and Muslim Brotherhood, the editorial featured an image of Al-Qaeda's top leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri with Sayyid Imam Al-Sharif aka Dr. Fadl, who wrote during his imprisonment in Egypt what has become known as the Muslim Brotherhood's "intellectual revisions." In it he proclaimed: "We are prohibited from committing aggression, even if the enemies of Islam do that."

Discussing those revisions and Al-Qaeda's position regarding them, the editorial said: "About 14 years ago, [jihadi] circles were shocked by what was known as the 'Intellectual Revisions,' which began during the 1990s inside Egypt's prisons and were published under what they call the 'Document Of Rationalizing Jihad In Egypt And The World.' It was opposed and sharply criticized by Al-Zawahiri who considered it retractions, not revisions. They perceived it as an abandonment of jihad and a coup against its principles, and it was," said the editorial.

The editorial went on to say that Al-Zawahiri himself published a book in which he sharply criticized those who wrote the document, accusing them of collaborating with the Jews and Crusaders and aiming at forestalling the jihadi work.

Pointing at Al-Qaeda's changing positions, which the editorial condemned as a sign of duplicity, the editorial added: "However, this firm stance toward these revisions did not last long and instead changed quickly after the Arab Spring wave, which Al-Qaeda endorsed. Al-Zawahiri himself issued a document rationalizing jihad, which he called 'General Directives To Jihadi work.' The document was a copy of the revisions but with a new outlook that suited the revolutions and their incubators."

The editorial continued to demean Al-Qaeda's jihadi ideology, saying that over the years it has shown almost full harmony with Muslim Brotherhood ideology and eventually evolved into a peaceful revolutionary strategy.

Commenting on Al-Qaeda's position regarding Hamas during the recent war with Israel, the editorial cited Al-Qaeda's statement, which "praised and glorified" Hamas, saying that Al-Zawahiri had backtracked from his previous position toward the Palestinian movement, which he once accused of "abandoning the rule of shari'a and offending the Islamic Ummah when it agreed to adhere to international treaties." The editorial accused Al-Qaeda of turning a blind eye to Hamas's alliance with Iran, saying that its support for "apostate" Hamas has embarrassed Al-Qaeda's fighters in Syria, who are being killed by Iran-backed militias.

The editorial further noted that Al-Qaeda also remained mute about the Taliban's relationship with Iran, saying that Al-Qaeda is in a state of chaos that seems to be confusing to both its followers and to observers.

"These reversals and changes in positions made some [observers] wonder what it is the difference then between Al-Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood, the Taliban, Hamas, and other such deviant movements?!"

The editorial said that Al-Qaeda has deviated from the path of jihad and twisted the concept of Al-Wala' wa-l-Bara'[1] when it supported those who acknowledge and seek the concept of democracy and elections and replaced the Quran with modern constitutions. 


[1] Al-wala' wa-l-bara' ("loyalty and disavowal") is a Salafi concept that means to love only what is good and permissible according to the Quran and Sunnah.


The Cyber & Jihad Lab

The Cyber & Jihad Lab monitors, tracks, translates, researches, and analyzes cyber jihad originating from the Middle East, Iran, South Asia, and North and West Africa. It innovates and experiments with possible solutions for stopping cyber jihad, advancing legislation and initiatives federally – including with Capitol Hill and attorneys-general – and on the state level, to draft and enforce measures that will serve as precedents for further action. It works with leaders in business, law enforcement, academia, and families of terror victims to craft and support efforts and solutions to combat cyber jihad, and recruits, and works with technology industry leaders to craft and support efforts and solutions.

Read More