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memri
October 3, 2001 No.
280

Terror in America (11): Egyptian Islamists: The U.S. will be targeted with non-conventional weapons; Americans working in the Middle East will be attacked.

The Egyptian newspaper, Al-Sha'ab, the mouthpiece of the Egyptian Islamist Al-Amal (Labor) party, was closed last year by Egyptian authorities following severe student riots that were prompted by an article published in the paper.[1] After a few months, Al-Sha'ab was permitted to resume publication, but only on the Internet. In the cover story for the September 23, 2001 issue, which was dedicated to the attacks on N.Y. and D.C., Dr. Muhammad Abbas, who prompted last year's riots, threatened the U.S. with chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons, and with attacks against Americans working in the Middle East. Following are excerpts from his article:

"I would have liked… to add to the flood of crocodile tears flowing from the four corners of the earth, as an expression of sorrow for America's victims… but I have found that my reservoir of tears ran dry a hundred years ago… Perhaps in [yet] another hundred years the time will come for me to cry over five thousand or even fifty thousand slain Americans."

"Did I say five thousand? Did I say fifty thousand? By Allah, this number is miniscule…"

"The tyrants of the world and of history (i.e. the Americans) suddenly discovered that their leader too could be attacked, and that the white Christian man can scream, suffer pain, bleed, and die…"

"Do you want me to cry, right this minute, over two or three buildings? By Allah, that's ridiculous. How can someone who knows how you destroyed countries and obliterated cities from the face of the earth be sorry about two buildings…"

"Despite all this, I did not exult. Death has glory and majesty, even when it is a dog that dies, let alone five thousand souls. I sat in front of the television and tears filled my eyes. I admit, I did not cry out of sympathy [for the victims]; [I cried] out of fear of Allah the powerful, the precious, the victor, the avenger, the just; how he takes the tyrants just when they think they rule the Earth and are capable of confronting Him…"

"Islam is alive and well. The hero martyrs in Palestine are the ones who showed the world the incredible potential of the martyr's body. Whoever the perpetrators of the act [in the U.S.] may be, Islam is their teacher and their professor…"

"The genius of what happened is in its successful transformation from theory to practice. If people are willing to sacrifice their lives, how can America defend itself from these ambulatory human bombs who at any given moment, anywhere, can… cause a truck and a train to collide, set a gas station alight, and set off chemical, biological, and even atomic bombs.?"

"When writing this article, I was surprised to discover an article I wrote years ago, in which I warned America that going too far with its oppression would lead to its destruction, and that within a few short years it would be taken by surprise by atom bombs exploding in New York, Chicago, and California... That is what I said [then], and behold, it has come to pass… Additional operations are a certainty, and [they are] an inevitable response to American repression and tyranny… The U.S. will collapse from within, as did the U.S.S.R."[2]

Other Al-Sha'ab columnists took a similarly bellicose tone. Dr. Muhammad Sallah Al-Musaffir drew a distinction between the attack on New York, which he condemned because of its many innocent victims, and the attack on the Pentagon, whose victims, he claimed, were not innocent: "There is no question that what happened in New York is one of the greatest disasters of the 21st century, because most of the victims were innocent and completely unconnected to the wars, the oppression, the tyranny, and the hegemony imposed by the arrogant superpower. Most of them did not know where Mecca, Jerusalem, or the Vatican are. Moreover, the large majority of the victims of the tragedy did not know that Indonesia, Iran, Pakistan, or Afghanistan are not Arab countries; most of them did not even know on which continent these countries are located. There is no doubt that acts of this kind must be condemned, and totally rejected."

"But what happened in Washington, at the Ministry of War (sic) – the Pentagon – is something else. Sympathy for the victims varies from person to person; a significant number of the Pentagon officials are on the military staff while the rest serve this staff. This means that they can be regarded as military personnel…"

"Anyone who wants to incite world public opinion against Arabs and Muslims, and to blame them for what happened in New York and Washington… must remember that the Middle East is full of [American] military personnel and American citizens working for the oil companies and in other fields… and they may become targets of blood vengeance if any harm comes to the Arabs…"[3]

Another Al-Sha'ab columnist, Muhammad Abd Al-Latif Hijazi, wrote: "I would be lying if I said that I felt any sympathy at all [for the victims] after the two World Trade Center towers were toppled in New York and the Pentagon was attacked, with a direct free kick. Thanks to Allah… I am not like those [Arab] rulers who must show fealty and obedience to their Jewish and American masters by expressing sorrow and grief over the terrible attack against the 'American democracy'…"

"I sat in front of the television and watched the collapse of the two [WTC] buildings, like the collapse of a sand castle on the beach. My heart and mind felt that this was a small [act of] blood vengeance against those who support destruction and defend tyranny, on their own turf… [Furthermore], the strike on the Pentagon building was a clear expression of justice, that descended from the heavens upon the hangmen, the generals in this American den. They fled like mice, finding a place to hide beneath the building…"

"[Such an attack] does not constitute an attack on the American people or on democracy in what they call the 'free world.' This was a 'smart attack' on the bastions of evil. Regarding those civilians who died, I borrow the terms of the American generals: 'Some civilian casualties were regrettable but unavoidable.' With regard to their famous expression 'collateral damage,' it struck them on their own turf…"[4]

Columnist Khaled Al-Sharif added, "Everyone was in a state of shock because of what happened, and all were surprised to see America, which controls the world – collapse, and the Satan that rules the world - burn. The patron of terrorism was burned by its own fire…"

"It should be said, in all honesty: What happened to America was a divine decree, in which humans are completely uninvolved… What happened to America is the natural outgrowth of the terror and tyranny it employs, in broad daylight, against our Islamic people…"[5]


[1] The riots were prompted by an article that attacked the Egyptian Ministry of Culture for publishing a book considered by Islamists as heresy. The book, written by Syrian playwright Heider Heidar, was titled "Feast of the Seaweeds."

[2] Al-Sha'ab (Egypt), September 23, 2001.

[3] ibid

[4] ibid

[5] ibid