U.S. seeks help from Egypt in recapturing terrorists at large
Mr. Ibrahim said his organization has rejected violence against the Egyptian state since 1997, when several prominent members of the group signed a statement announcing their view.
But Mr. Ibrahim also distinguished between what he regarded as violence and what he considered jihad, or holy struggle. “Jihad is one thing and it is not the same as violence,” he said. “Violence is against your country, your police and your fellow people. But jihad is against the enemy of the country.”
Mr. Ibrahim also said that “at this moment we will not make a war with Israel, but the jihad is still our way.”
Bruce Hoffman, director of the security studies program at Georgetown University, said in an interview that he was worried about radical terrorists who were released during the revolution.
“I look at this as a grave development,” he said. “I don’t think these people’s views will have moderated, having spent in some cases decades in the insalubrious confines of Egyptian prisons.”
Mr. Hoffman added: “I think there is a possibility they will blame the United States as well as Mubarak for their fate. The United States in their view backed Mubarak and encouraged him in the crackdown and repression of Islamist radicals.”
“I am giving advice to our friend Obama, release the blind sheik for your own benefit. No, this is not a threat, it’s advice from one friend to another friend. This will save America’s reputation from the cynicism of George W. Bush,” he said.
The U.S. Embassy in Cairo and the Egyptian Embassy in Washington declined to comment.
• Special correspondent Maged Atef contributed to this report from Cairo.
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