The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood has tried to deny statements by the movement’s Supreme Guide, Sheikh Mohammed Badie, who was quoted by an Egyptian newspaper calling for a holy war on Jews and Israel.
According to Egypt’s largest daily, the state-owned Al Ahram, Sheikh Badie, who leads the Islamist movement that won over 40 per cent of the seats in the Egyptian parliament last year and numbers President Mohamed Morsi among its senior members, called on Muslims to embark on a “jihad for the recovery of Jerusalem”. He said that jihad is “a duty for all Muslims”, which “will not be done through negotiations or at the United Nations”.
Mr Badie also said that Jews “spread corruption on earth, spilled the blood of believers and in their actions defile holy places, including their own”.
Mr Badie’s words provoked denunciations from Jewish groups in the US. Simon Wiesenthal Centre dean, Rabbi Marvin Heir, called on the US to end financial support for the Brotherhood, which would mean ceasing to provide over $2m in annual aid.
The Muslim Brotherhood’s spokesman, however, denied this week that Mr Badie had made the statements, saying that “all the decisions and dealings with Israel are in accordance with international laws and treaties”.
Mr Morsi has kept to the current Muslim Brotherhood policy of adhering to Egypt’s international treaties, including the 1979 Camp David accords with Israel. At the same time, he has said that the peace treaty could be changed and that it was conditional on Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians.
The new Egyptian constitution that Mr Morsi’s government is trying to pass through parliament has come under fire from secular parties for not ensuring women’s rights and granting the president-wide and unregulated powers at the expense of the constitutional court. Ultra-Islamist Salafist parties have criticised the new constitution for not saying that Sharia law is that law of the land.