US embassy cable - 91CAIRO12383 (original version)

THE GREAT SHAYKHS: THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD AND THE RADICAL FRINGE (original version)

Identifier: 91CAIRO12383
Wikileaks: View 91CAIRO12383 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Cairo
Created: 1991-07-11 15:16:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PINR KISL PINS KPRP EG
Redacted: This cable was redacted by Wikileaks. [Show redacted version] [Compare redacted and unredacted version]
R 111516Z JUL 91
FM AMEMBASSY CAIRO
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 3751
INFO ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE
AMEMBASSY LONDON
AMEMBASSY PARIS
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 06 CAIRO 12383 
 
 
PARIS FOR ROSENBLATT, LONDON FOR MILLIKAN 
DEPT ALSO FOR INR/B 
 
E.O. 12356:DECL:  OADR 
TAGS:  PINR, KISL, PINS, KPRP, EG 
SUBJECT:  THE GREAT SHAYKHS:  THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD AND 
THE RADICAL FRINGE 
 
1.  CONFIDENTIAL - ENTIRE TEXT. 
 
2. POLITICAL ISLAM IN EGYPT IS GENERALLY DIVIDED INTO 
ESTABLISHMENT ISLAM REPRESENTED BY THE RELATIVELY 
MODERATE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD (MB), AND THE RADICAL FRINGE 
REPRESENTED BY OMAR ABDURRAHMAN AND COMPANY.  THESE 
GROUPS COMPETE FOR RECRUITS, STRUGGLE FOR CONTROL OF THE 
MOSQUES AND DEMONSTRATE DIFFERENT ATTITUDES TOWARD THE 
GOVERNMENT.  THE DISTINCTIONS AMONG THEM, HOWEVER, ARE 
NOT ALWAYS VERY TIDY.  STARTING FROM THE ISLAMIC 
PRINCIPLES OF "SHURA" (CONSULTATION) AND "TASALUH" 
(RECONCILIATION OF DIFFERENCES AMONG BELIEVERS), THERE 
IS CONSIDERABLE DIALOGUE, DEBATE, AND EFFORT AT 
RAPPROCHEMENT EVEN AMONG GROUPS THAT HAVE ENGAGED IN 
BLOODY CLASHES WITH EACH OTHER.  THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD 
SEEMS TO HAVE CHARGED DEPUTY SUPREME GUIDE MUSTAFA 
MASHHOUR WITH CONDUCTING LIAISON WITH THE EGYPTIAN AND 
THE REGIONAL RADICAL FRINGE. 
 
- 
------------------------------------------ 
PUSHING THE BROTHERHOOD TOWARD RADICALISM? 
------------------------------------------ 
 
3.  FOR YEARS THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD WAS AN UNDERGROUND 
ORGANIZATION PRONE TO VIOLENCE.  IN THEORY, THE BROTHERS 
RENOUNCED VIOLENCE IN 1987 AND DECIDED TO PLAY BY THE 
RULES OF THE FORMAL EGYPTIAN POLITICAL GAME.  THIS 
DECISION APPEARS NOT TO HAVE BEEN UNANIMOUS.  SOME OF 
THE MORE MILITANT BROTHERS, MUSTAFA MASHHOUR FOREMOST 
AMONG THEM, RETAIN AT LEAST A THEORETICAL ATTACHMENT TO 
THE USE OF VIOLENCE FOR THE SAKE OF ISLAM. 
 
4.  INDEED, MANY ESTABLISHMENT ISLAMIC AND SECULAR 
FIGURES INSIST THAT THE BROTHERHOOD'S DECISION TO PLAY 
THE POLITICAL GAME WAS A MERE PLOY -- THAT THE BROTHERS 
ARE STILL INVOLVED IN ISLAMIC VIOLENCE OR AT LEAST 
KINDLE THE OPTION TO USE FORCE.  MUSTAFA MASHHOUR, THEY 
CLAIM, IS THE HEAD OF THE "AL-JIHAZ AL-SIRRI" ("THE 
SECRET ORGAN") OF THE GROUP, AND AS SUCH, EITHER DIRECTS 
OR COOPERATES IN THE ORCHESTRATION OF VIOLENT ACTS. 
SOME SPECULATE THAT MASHHOUR LENDS PEOPLE AND ASSETS 
(SAFE HOUSES FOR EXAMPLE) TO ISLAMIC TERRORISTS.  OTHERS 
SAY HIS STRATEGY IS TO SEEK CONTROL OF THE RADICAL 
GROUPS BY SENDING HIS FOLLOWERS TO JOIN AND EVENTUALLY 
RISE TO POSITIONS OF INFLUENCE OR LEADERSHIP WITHIN THE 
GROUPS. 
 
5.  MASHHOUR ASPIRES TO BE THE SUPREME GUIDE OF THE 
MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD SUCCEEDING THE FEEBLE OCTOGENARIAN 
HAMED ABU AL-NASR.  TO DO SO, HE WILL HAVE TO BEAT BACK 
THE CHALLENGE OF MAMOUN AL-HODEIBI, THE HEAD OF THE 
BROTHERHOOD'S PARLIAMENTARY DELEGATION IN THE 1987-90 
PEOPLE'S ASSEMBLY.  AL-HODEIBI, REPUTEDLY THE CHIEF 
ADVOCATE OF PARTICIPATION IN EGYPT'S POLITICAL GAME, 
EARNED THE GRUDGING RESPECT OF NON-ISLAMISTS FOR HIS 
WORK IN THE ASSEMBLY:  THE DEPUTIES HE SHEPHERDED PROVED 
THE MOST COHESIVE AND HARDWORKING OF THE OPPOSITION 
GROUPINGS.  AS LONG AS PARTICIPATION REMAINS THE 
BROTHERHOOD'S POLICY, AL-HODEIBI HAS AN ADVANTAGE IN THE 
SUCCESSION STRUGGLE.  THE CYNICS -- AND IT IS HARD TO BE 
TOO CYNICAL IN EGYPTIAN POLITICS -- SAY THAT MASHHOUR IS 
TRYING HARD TO DIMINISH AL-HODEIBI'S ADVANTAGE BY 
PUSHING THE ORGANIZATION TOWARD CONFRONTATION WITH THE 
GOVERNMENT AND A CONCOMITANT RADICALIZATION.  THUS, IN 
THE LAST FEW MONTHS MASHHOUR HAS ATTENDED RADICAL 
ISLAMIC CONFERENCES IN PAKISTAN AND KHARTOUM, HAS 
SPURNED HIS OLD FRIENDS IN SAUDI ARABIA, HAS URGED 
WORLDWIDE JIHAD WITH THE LIKES OF SUDAN'S AL-TURABI AND 
TUNISIA'S AL-GHANNOUSHI, AND HAS FORMULATED THE 
BROTHERHOOD'S STATEMENT ON PALESTINE, THE RADICAL 
CONTENTS AND TONE OF WHICH ARE FAR FROM THE MB'S 
DOMESTIC FOCUS AND MODERATE RHETORIC OF THE RECENT PAST. 
 
6.  THE BATTLE FOR LEADERSHIP WILL BE JOINED SOON.  THE 
GOVERNMENT IS AWARE OF THE POLITICAL DYNAMIC AT WORK IN 
THE BROTHERHOOD, AND WILL NO DOUBT TRY TO INFLUENCE THE 
GROUP'S DECISION.  A VICTORY BY AL-HODEIBI WOULD 
PROBABLY PRODUCE A POLICY MUCH LIKE THAT OF THE LAST 
FOUR YEARS:  RHETORICAL COOPERATION WITH OTHER 
OPPOSITION ELEMENTS AND PATIENCE IN THE GRADUAL 
ISLAMIZATION OF EGYPT'S PUBLIC LIFE.  A VICTORY BY 
MASHHOUR WOULD LIKELY PRODUCE A MUCH MORE STRIDENT TONE, 
AND PERHAPS EVEN A DECISION TO OPT OUT OF THE FORMAL 
POLITICAL GAME.  SUCH A MOVE WOULD SET IN MOTION A 
RADICAL DYNAMIC WHICH REASONABLY COULD BE EXPECTED TO 
END IN VIOLENCE, GIVING THE AUTHORITIES AN EXCUSE TO 
CRACK DOWN. 
 
-------------------------------------- 
SPENT FORCES:  SALAMA, KISHK, AL-BADRI 
-------------------------------------- 
 
7.  DURING THE LATE SEVENTIES AND EARLY EIGHTIES, HAFEZ 
SALAMA FROM HIS MOSQUES IN SUEZ AND CAIRO AND ABDEL 
HAMID KISHK FROM HIS IN THE QUBBA QUARTER OF CAIRO, WERE 
TWO OF THE MOST INCENDIARY CRITICS OF THE GOVERNMENT, 
PARTICULARLY ON CAMP DAVID AND EGYPT'S SPECIAL 
RELATIONSHIP WITH THE UNITED STATES.  BOTH STRESSED THE 
NEED TO "STRUGGLE" -- USUALLY UNDERSTOOD AS A CODE WORD 
FOR THE USE OF VIOLENCE -- FOR THE SAKE OF ISLAM. 
SALAMA HAD EXTRA CREDIBILITY BECAUSE OF HIS RECORD AS A 
HERO IN THE WARS AGAINST ISRAEL.  KISHK'S CHARISMA WAS 
MAGNIFIED THROUGH THE SALE OF TAPES OF HIS SERMONS.  AT 
THE TIME, MANY THOUGHT THAT IF EGYPT WAS TO HAVE AN 
ISLAMIC REVOLUTION, THESE TWO WOULD BE MAJOR FORCES 
BEHIND AND BENEFICIARIES OF SUCH A DEVELOPMENT. 
 
8.  BOTH ARE STILL ACTIVE, BUT THEIR INFLUENCE HAS 
WANED.  OTHER THAN BLEATING A FEW PERFUNCTORY REMARKS 
ABOUT THE "SHAME" OF MUSLIM FIGHTING MUSLIM AND SALAMA'S 
REMARK ABOUT THE "SHAME" OF CALLING IN WESTERN 
ASSISTANCE, BOTH WERE LARGELY SILENT DURING THE LONG 
MONTHS OF THE GULF CRISIS.  SECURITY SURVEILLANCE 
UNDOUBTEDLY HELPS LIMIT THEIR ACTIVITIES, BUT AGE AND 
ILL HEALTH -- TO WHICH THEIR RADICAL COLLEAGUE SALAH ABU 
ISMAIL SURRENDERED LAST YEAR -- ARE ALSO PART OF THE 
EQUATION.  BOTH ARE IN THEIR SIXTIES WITH THE 
PREDICTABLE GERIATRIC PLAINTS SETTING IN.  KISHK SEEMS 
TO BE FADING GRACEFULLY:  HIS NEWEST TAPES ARE DEVOID OF 
POLITICAL CONTENT AND TEND TO WAX METAPHYSICAL ABOUT THE 
MYSTERIES OF THE VIRGIN BIRTH OF THE PROPHET JESUS AND 
THE PROPHET MOHAMMED'S ASCENT TO HEAVEN. 
 
9.  BY CONTRAST, HAFEZ SALAMA IS NOT GOING GENTLY INTO 
THE GOOD NIGHT.  INDEED, MOST REFERENCES TO SALAMA HAVE 
HIM ACCUSING THE GOVERNMENT OF TRYING TO DO AWAY WITH 
HIM POLITICALLY OR PHYSICALLY.  HE HAS ACCUSED THE 
INTERIOR MINISTRY OF FORCING THE EDUCATION MINISTRY TO 
PLAY BUREAUCRATIC GAMES WITH THE LICENSING OF THE 
PRIVATE SCHOOLS ASSOCIATED WITH HIS HEDAYA MOSQUE 
COMPLEX IN SUEZ.  AT ONE POINT HE ACCUSED STATE SECURITY 
OF ATTEMPTED ASSASSINATION BY FORCING HIS CAR OFF THE 
REMOTE SUEZ-CAIRO DESERT ROAD.  OTHER ISLAMIC 
FUNDAMENTALISTS SUGGEST THAT SALAMA'S MORE SERIOUS 
ACCUSATIONS ARE TO GENERATE PUBLIC ATTENTION AND 
SYMPATHY TO REVIVE AN ISLAMIC CAREER IN DECLINE. 
 
10.  ANOTHER ISLAMIC FIGURE WHO HAS RUN OUT OF POLITICAL 
STEAM IS SHAYKH YOUSSEF AL-BADRI, FORMERLY A MEMBER OF 
THE PEOPLE'S ASSEMBLY.  SHAYKH YOUSSEF NEVER ACHIEVED 
THE FOLLOWING OR REPUTATION OF KISHK OR SALAMA, BUT, AS 
HIS ONGOING EFFORTS TO OBTAIN A LICENSE FOR A NEW 
ISLAMIC POLITICAL PARTY ATTEST, HE ASPIRES TO ISLAMIC 
GREATNESS.  CLEARLY, HOWEVER, AL-BADRI'S FORTUNES HAVE 
WANED.  A SO-CALLED "WORLD PRESS CONFERENCE" ON THE GULF 
CRISIS ADVERTISED BY AL-BADRI LAST AUGUST DREW PERHAPS 
TWO HUNDRED LISTLESS ATTENDEES INCLUDING TWO JOURNALISTS 
AND ONE AMERICAN DIPLOMAT.  AL-BADRI'S COUP DE GRACE 
CAME IN LAST FALL'S PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS WHEN, IN THE 
MOST FREE AND FAIR ELECTIONS IN EGYPTIAN HISTORY, THE 
SHAYKH SUFFERED AN EMBARRASSING DEFEAT. 
 
------------------------------------- 
ABDEL RASHID SAQR:  A HARSH NEW VOICE 
------------------------------------- 
 
11.  ABDEL RASHID SAQR, THE FORMER IMAM OF THE SALAH 
AL-DIN MOSQUE IN CAIRO'S MANIAL NEIGHBORHOOD, IS A NEW 
AND STRIDENT VOICE FOR ISLAMIC MILITANCY.  THE MAY 1990 
MARCH EMANATING FROM HIS MOSQUE WAS THE LAST SIGNIFICANT 
ISLAMIC STREET ACTION IN CAIRO.  A MARK OF SAQR'S 
POLITICAL CLEVERNESS WAS HIS MELDING OF THE ISSUES OF 
PROTEST:  HE USED FRIDAY PRAYERS TO URGE THE 
CONGREGATION TO TAKE TO THE STREETS IN PROTEST OF BOTH 
THE INTERIOR MINISTRY'S ARREST POLICY AND A ROUND OF 
PRICE INCREASES ON GOVERNMENT-SUPPLIED COMMODITIES. 
 
12.  THE DEMONSTRATION COST SAQR HIS MOSQUE AS THE AWQAF 
MINISTRY TRANSFERRED HIM TO A "HALL-WALKER" SLOT IN THE 
MINISTRY ITSELF, BUT OVER THE INTERVENING MONTHS THE 
SHAYKH HAS SHOWN A TENDENCY TO BE VOCALLY RADICAL ON A 
WIDE RANGE OF ISSUES.  KNOWING A JUICY ISSUE WHEN HE 
SEES IT, SAQR IMMEDIATELY DENOUNCED THE INVASION OF 
KUWAIT BUT WENT ON AT LENGTH AGAINST THE DISPARITIES IN 
ARAB WEALTH THAT HAD "LED" TO THE DISASTER.  IN OTHER 
STATEMENTS, SAQR HAS DECLARED THAT JERUSALEM WILL NEVER 
BE RECOVERED BY NEGOTIATIONS, AND THAT STRUGGLE BETWEEN 
MUSLIMS AND JEWS IS A POSTULATE OF LIFE FOR THE 
FAITHFUL.  SAQR ALSO LIKES TO RE-PLAY ONE OF THE 
FAVORITE CONSPIRACY THEORIES OF IGNORANT MUSLIMS:  E.G., 
THAT THE MUSLIM WORLD IS BESET BY CHRISTIAN AND 
"CHRISTIANIZING" SCHEMES.  PLAYING ON THE LOCAL TENDENCY 
TO MISTRUST ANY FIGURE OF AUTHORITY, SAQR LIKES TO 
EXPOUND ON THE THEME THAT AL-AZHAR -- WHICH SHOULD BE 
THE SYMBOL OF ISLAMIC PURITY AND EGYPT'S LEADERSHIP OF 
WORLD.ISLAM -- IS RIFE WITH CORRUPTION AND BRIBERY. 
 
13.  SAQR SEEMS TO BE SOMETHING OF A LONER.  THERE ARE 
RUMORS THAT HE WAS ONCE A MUSLIM BROTHER, BUT ON AT 
LEAST A FEW OCCASIONS HE REPORTEDLY HAS LAMBASTED THE 
MB'S WORK WITHIN THE SYSTEM.  HE DENOUNCES THE INTERIOR 
MINISTRY'S CAMPAIGN AGAINST THE RADICAL FRINGE.  BUT HIS 
GOAL SEEMS MORE DENUNCIATION OF THE GOE THAN SUPPORT FOR 
THE "AL-GAMA'A AL-ISLAMIYYA" (IG). 
 
----------------------------------- 
ADEL HUSSEIN:  A LINK TO SECULARISM 
----------------------------------- 
 
14.  ADEL HUSSEIN, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF OF THE SOCIALIST 
LABOR PARTY'S WEEKLY NEWSPAPER "AL-SHAAB," DIFFERS FROM 
OTHER PERSONALITIES DISCUSSED IN THIS MESSAGE IN ONE 
FUNDAMENTAL RESPECT:  HE ARGUABLY IS NOT EVEN AN 
ISLAMIST.  ADEL SPENT LONG YEARS AS A SELF-DESCRIBED 
"COMMUNIST," UNDERGROUND IN NASSER'S AND SADAT'S 
PRISONS, AND AS AN OVERT HARD-LEFT JOURNALIST.  ADEL 
INSISTS THAT HIS EXPOSURE TO THE MUSLIM BROTHERS IN 
PRISON LED HIM TO THE LIGHT OF ISLAM, BUT MOST "REAL" 
ISLAMISTS AND LEFTISTS SLIP HIM IN THE SAME POLITICAL 
PIGEONHOLE AS SLP LEADER IBRAHIM SHUKRI:  I.E., A 
POLITICIAN WHO SAW THE INTELLECTUAL EXHAUSTION OF THE 
FITIES AND SIXTIES AND DECIDED TO RIDE THE ISLAMIC WAVE 
LAPPING AT EGYPT'S POLITICAL SHORES IN THE LATE 
SEVENTIES.  NEVERTHELESS, HE MORE THAN ANY OTHER 
EGYPTIAN PUBLICLY LINKS ISLAM TO CALLS FOR RADICAL 
ACTION. 
 
15.  ADEL HUSSEIN HAS NO ISLAMIC FOLLOWING PER SE.  HE 
IS NOT A SHAYKH, HAS NO FORMAL RELIGIOUS TRAINING, GIVES 
SEMINARS AT SLP HEADQUARTERS RATHER THAN SERMONS AT 
FRIDAY PRAYERS, AND -- PROOF POSITIVE OF HIS SECULARISM 
TO ISLAMISTS -- HAS AN UNVEILED WIFE.  ADEL IS 
POLITICALLY SIGNIFICANT IN ISLAMIC TERMS, HOWEVER, 
BECAUSE HE IS ONE OF THE VERY FEW WHO SEEK TO UNIFY THE 
ANTI-GOVERNMENT EFFORTS OF DISPARATE OPPOSITION ELEMENTS 
BY USING THE LOWEST COMMON DENOMINATOR OF ISLAMIC 
RHETORIC.  HE ALSO SEES THAT POLITICAL ISLAM HAS IGNORED 
THE ECONOMIC ISSUES ON WHICH THE GOVERNMENT IS THE MOST 
VULNERABLE AND HAS TRIED IN "AL-SHAAB" TO SENSITIZE 
ISLAMISTS TO THEIR OVERSIGHT.  WHILE CLEVER ENOUGH TO 
KNOW THAT THE ODDS AGAINST IT ARE GREAT, WE SUSPECT 
ADEL'S IDEAL SCENARIO WOULD HAVE ISLAMIC AND SECULAR 
ELEMENTS SUCCESSFULLY LINKED AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT, 
WITH EMPTY ISLAMIC RHETORIC MASKING THE ENACTMENT OF A 
HARD-LEFT SOCIAL AGENDA.  IN OLD-LINE COMMUNIST STYLE, 
AN INTELLECTUAL/POLITICAL ELITE OF PEOPLE LIKE ADEL 
WOULD THEN GUIDE THE MASSES ALONG THE PROPER PATH. 
 
------------------------------------------ 
OMAR ABDURRAHMAN:  GODFATHER OF THE FRINGE 
------------------------------------------ 
 
16.  FOR OVER A DECADE, DR. OMAR ABDURRAHMAN HAS SERVED 
AS THE SPIRITUAL AND, PERHAPS OCCASIONALLY, THE 
OPERATIONAL LEADER OF "AL-GAMA'A AL-ISLAMIYYA," A 
RELATIVELY COHESIVE GROUPING ON THE ISLAMIC FRINGE 
UNITED BY THE PRINCIPLE THAT FORCE SHOULD BE USED TO 
USHER IN THE ISLAMIC STATE.  RAISED IN ACCORDANCE WITH 
AN OLD ISLAMIC TRADITION THAT BLIND BOYS BE TRAINED TO 
RECITE THE QURAN TO ASSURE THEM A LIVELIHOOD, OMAR 
ABDURRAHMAN HAS BEEN IN AN ALMOST STRICTLY ISLAMIC 
MILIEU ALL HIS LIFE.  IN 1965, HE GRADUATED FROM 
AL-AZHAR, WHERE HE APPARENTLY IMBIBED DEEPLY OF THE 
THOUGHT OF MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD RADICAL SAYYED QUTB, WHO 
NASSER EXECUTED THE SAME YEAR ON CHARGES OF ATTEMPTING 
TO OVERTHROW THE GOVERNMENT. 
 
17.  WHILE SIMULTANEOUSLY PURSUING HIGHER DEGREES FROM 
AL-AZHAR, ABDURRAHMAN TAUGHT AT AL-AZHAR INSTITUTE IN 
ASSIUT.  HIS RESIDENCE IN THE CITY ROUGHLY CORRESPONDED 
TO SADAT'S DRIVE TO BOLSTER ISLAMIC FUNDAMENTALISTS ON 
EGYPT'S CAMPUSES TO WEAKEN THE NASSERISTS.  WHETHER OR 
NOT LOCAL AUTHORITIES WITTINGLY USED ABDURRAHMAN, HE 
TURNED OUT TO BE ONE OF THE MOST SUCCESSFUL INSTRUMENTS 
OF THE ISLAMIZATION POLICY, PROVIDING GUIDANCE TO MANY 
OF THE YOUNG MEN WHO HELPED TRANSFORM THE FORMER COPTIC 
BASTION OF ASSIUT INTO AN ACKNOWLEDGED CENTER OF RADICAL 
ISLAM.  THE MOST FAMOUS "FATWA" (RELIGIOUS JUDGMENT) 
RENDERED BY ABDURRAHMAN WAS TO THE ASSASSINS OF 
PRESIDENT SADAT:  I.E., IT IS ISLAMICALLY PROPER TO 
ASSASSINATE AN INFIDEL OR APOSTATE RULER.  THIS FATWA 
EARNED ABDURRAHMAN THE DISTINCTION OF BEING THE 
PRINCIPAL DEFENDANT IN THE SO-CALLED JIHAD TRIALS 
CONNECTED WITH THE CONSPIRACY TO MURDER SADAT. 
ABDURRAHMAN WAS ACQUITTED IN 1984, HOWEVER, BECAUSE THE 
EVIDENCE WAS UNCLEAR ON WHETHER HE HAD DECLARED THAT 
SADAT OR, MORE THEORETICALLY, ANY INFIDEL OR APOSTATE 
RULER COULD BE KILLED. 
 
18.  FOLLOWING HIS ACQUITTAL, ABDURRAHMAN LIVED FOR A 
WHILE IN SAUDI ARABIA, BUT RETURNED IN EARLY 1986 TO THE 
PROVINCE OF AL-FAYYOUM.  SINCE THEN "AL-GAMA'A 
AL-ISLAMIYYA" (IG), THE GROUP OF WHICH HE IS THE 
SPIRITUAL LEADER, HAS INSPIRED DOZENS OF INCIDENTS OF 
VIOLENCE AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT, COPTS, LESS ZEALOUS 
MUSLIMS, AND IN AT LEAST ONE INSTANCE WESTERNERS.  LESS 
CLEAR IS HIS DEGREE OF OPERATIONAL INVOLVEMENT IN THE 
GROUP'S ACTIONS.  IN AL-FAYYOUM IN APRIL 1989, IT SEEMS 
CLEAR THAT, DESPITE A SUBSEQUENT ACQUITTAL ON 
EVIDENTIARY GROUNDS, ABDURRAHMAN DIRECTLY URGED HIS 
CONGREGATION TO GET OUT AND BATTLE THE SECURITY FORCES 
IN THE STREETS.  WE HAVE ALSO HEARD THAT THE SPRING 1990 
BOUT OF SECTARIAN VIOLENCE WAS A STRATEGY CONCOCTED BY 
ABDURRAHMAN.  AT THE SAME TIME, ONE SCHOOL OF OBSERVERS 
OF THE RADICAL FRINGE BELIEVES THAT OTHER LEADERS IN THE 
IG -- TALAAT FUAD QASSEM, RECENTLY RECAPTURED AL-MAHGOUB 
ASSASSIN SAFWAT ABDEL GHANI, OR PERHAPS ABBOUD AL-ZUMOR 
-- DEVELOP PLANS WHICH DR. OMAR MAY BLESS BEFORE OR 
AFTER THE ACT.  WE HAVE NOT SEEN ABDURRAHMAN 
DISASSOCIATE HIMSELF FROM ANY INCIDENT OF SELF-STYLED 
ISLAMIC VIOLENCE. 
 
19.  UNTIL RECENTLY, ABDURRAHMAN HAS BEEN IN 
SELF-IMPOSED EXILE IN THE GREATER NEW YORK AREA.  HE IS 
NOW BELIEVED TO BE IN JEDDAH.  HIS ABSENCE APPEARS TO 
HAVE CHANGED HIM AND, LESS CLEARLY, CHANGED THE DYNAMIC 
AT WORK IN THE IG.  SOME HAVE IT THAT ABDURRAHMAN HAS 
GONE FROM CONSIDERING HIMSELF THE SYMBOL OF ISLAMIC 
RESISTANCE IN EGYPT TO FANCYING HIMSELF ONE OF THE 
LEADERS OF THE WORLD ISLAMIC MOVEMENT.  AS SUCH, 
ABDURRAHMAN, WHILE STILL EXCORIATING THE MUBARAK REGIME, 
HAS EXPANDED HIS RADICAL MESSAGE TO DECLARE THAT ALL 
ARAB AND ISLAMIC REGIMES ARE ROTTEN AND MUST BE 
OVERTHROWN BY FORCE.  DURING HIS ABSENCE, HOWEVER, HIS 
GRIP ON THE IG SEEMS TO HAVE LOOSENED PERHAPS BECAUSE 
OTHER FIGURES HAVE SOUGHT TO EXPAND THEIR REPUTATIONS 
AND POWER. 
 
20.  THERE ARE RUMORS THAT ABDURRAHMAN IS COMING HOME. 
IF HE DOES RETURN, THE SAME GOVERNMENT WHICH LET HIM 
LEAVE EGYPT EVEN WHEN STATE SECURITY CHARGES WERE 
OUTSTANDING AGAINST HIM WILL HAVE TO DECIDE WHETHER TO 
DETAIN HIM.  IF HE RETURNS AND IS NOT DETAINED, HE WILL 
STICK TO HIS MOSQUE IN AL-FAYYOUM, RENDER ADVICE TO HIS 
ACOLYTES, VIOLENCE WILL BE DONE IN HIS GROUP'S NAME, AND 
THE AUTHORITIES WILL WATCH CAREFULLY AND SOMETIMES 
ARREST THE PERPETRATORS.  WHETHER AS SPIRITUAL OR 
OPERATIONAL LEADER, HOWEVER, THIS 53-YEAR-OLD DIABETIC 
WILL REMAIN A MAJOR THORN IN THE SIDE OF THE EGYPTIAN 
GOVERNMENT UNTIL ECLIPSED BY ANOTHER RADICAL OR BY POOR 
HEALTH. 
 
---------------------------------------- 
ABBOUD AL-ZUMOR:  LEADING FROM HIS CELL? 
---------------------------------------- 
 
21.  THE PLOT TO KILL SADAT AND INCITE INSURRECTION IN 
ASSIUT IN THE WAKE OF THE ASSASSINATION MOST LIKELY OWES 
ITS SUCCESS TO THE PLANNING AND ORGANIZATIONAL SKILLS OF 
ABBOUD AL-ZUMOR, A YOUNG MAJOR IN MILITARY 
INTELLIGENCE.  IN 1979 OR 1980, ABBOUD AND HIS COUSIN 
TAREQ BECAME ASSOCIATES -- PERHAPS FOLLOWERS -- OF ABD 
AL-SALAAM FARAG, WHO TERMED HIS RADICAL SPLINTER GROUP 
"AL-JIHAD" (AFTER AN EARLIER ALEXANDRIA-BASED 
ORGANIZATION OF THE SAME NAME, HEADED BY ONE ALI IBRAHIM 
SALAMA; WHEN THE ALEX-BASED GROUP WAS SMASHED BY THE 
SECURITY AUTHORITIES, FARAG MOVED TO CAIRO AND STARTED 
HIS GROUP).  EVEN THOUGH HE REPORTEDLY DISAGREED WITH 
THE TIMING OF THE EVENT, ABBOUD USED HIS RECRUITING AND 
ORGANIZATIONAL SKILLS -- WORKING ON THE FAMILIAR 
EGYPTIAN BASIS OF KINSHIP TIES AND PERSONAL FRIENDSHIP 
-- TO DEVELOP THE STRATEGY CULMINATING IN SADAT'S 
MURDER.  THE NUMER-TWO DEFENDANT IN THE SADAT TRIALS, 
ABBOUD WAS SENTENCED TO LIFE IMPRISONMENT AT HARD LABOR 
IN 1984. 
 
22.  PARTICULARLY OVER THE LAST TWO YEARS, THERE HAVE 
BEEN REPORTS THAT AL-ZUMOR IS PLANNING AND/OR DIRECTING 
ACTS OF ISLAMIC VIOLENCE FROM HIS CELL AT CAIRO'S 
AL-TORAH PRISON.  ON TWO OCCASIONS, HIS WIFE HAS BEEN 
CAUGHT SMUGGLING RADICAL LITERATURE TO HIM WHICH 
AUTHORITIES BELIEVE WAS FOR HIS CLEARANCE BEFORE 
DISTRIBUTION.  RADICAL ISLAMIC ATTORNEY MONTASSER 
AL-ZAYYAT ALSO REPORTEDLY ACTS AS MESSENGER BETWEEN 
AL-ZUMOR AND HIS ADMIRERS ON THE OUTSIDE.  MOREOVER, IN 
EARLY 1991 A SEARCH OF AL-ZUMOR'S CELL REVEALED A LOOSE 
PAVING STONE UNDER WHICH HIS JAILERS FOUND HANDWRITTEN 
NOTES WHICH APPARENTLY WERE TO BE TRANSFORMED INTO AN 
ANTI-REGIME PAMPHLET ON THE OUTSIDE.  THERE HAVE BEEN AT 
LEAST TWO HAGIOGRAPHIES OF HIM BASED ON LENGTHY 
INTERVIEWS IN PRISON.  RECENTLY, WE HAVE NOTICED THAT 
AL-ZUMOR, SOMETIMES PURPORTING TO SPEAK FOR THE "JIHAD" 
AND SOMETIMES FOR "AL-GAMA'A AL-ISLAMIYYA," HAS SENT 
CONDOLENCE MESSAGES AND CONGRATULATIONS TO ISLAMIC 
FIGURES AND SUPPORTERS THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY.  THE 
DEGREE TO WHICH AL-ZUMOR ACTUALLY IS SEEKING TO DIRECT 
RADICAL ACTIVITIES FROM PRISON IS DIFFICULT TO ASSESS. 
WHAT IS CLEAR IS THAT HE IS TRYING TO RAISE HIS PROFILE. 
 
23.  SOME OBSERVERS RELATE THE UPTICK IN AL-ZUMOR'S 
PUBLICITY TO ABDURRAHMAN'S ABSENCE.  ONE SCHOOL OF 
THOUGHT HAS IT THAT AL-ZUMOR IS ABDURRAHMAN'S DISCIPLE, 
AND THAT IN THE SHAYKH'S ABSENCE ABBOUD IS TRYING TO 
HOLD THE IG TOGETHER.   AN ALTERNATIVE ARGUMENT IS THAT 
THE TWO ARE AT LOGGERHEADS, OR AT LEAST ARE SOMETIMES 
RIVALS.  THE LATTER IS GROUNDED IN THE EVENTS OF THE 
SADAT TRIALS.  THE TWO COOPERATED SMOOTHLY DURING THE 
TIME LEADING UP TO THE KILLING, BUT AT THE TRIAL GAVE 
CONFLICTING TESTIMONY ABOUT THE DETAILS OF ABDURRAHMAN'S 
"FATWA."  AL-ZUMOR, SO GOES THE STORY, TOLD HIS FELLOW 
CONVICTS THAT THE GREAT DR. OMAR CHICKENED OUT, THAT HE 
STOOD UP FOR ISLAMIC PRINCIPLE ONLY WHEN IT WAS 
CONVENIENT. 
 
24.  DESPITE HIS INCARCERATION, ABBOUD AL-ZUMOR HAS 
SEVERAL ADVANTAGES OVER ABDURRAHMAN.  SHOULD 
CIRCUMSTANCES DEVELOP SUCH THAT THE TWO BECAME REAL 
RIVALS, AL-ZUMOR SHOULD HAVE THE UPPER HAND.  HE IS 
YOUNG (FORTY-TWO) AND ROBUST.  ABDURRAHMAN IS SO 
CORPULENT AND UNHEALTHY THAT FRIENDS AND ENEMIES ALIKE 
AT ONE POINT FEARED HE WOULD DIE IN PRISON.  AL-ZUMOR'S 
MILITARY BACKGROUND IMBUED HIM WITH STRONG 
ORGANIZATIONAL SKILLS AND PERSONAL DISCIPLINE.  WHILE 
ABDURRAHMAN IS THE VOICE OF BLIND, VIOLENT ISLAMIC RAGE, 
AL-ZUMOR IS PATIENT AND METHODICAL, BUT EQUALLY 
DEDICATED TO AN ISLAMIC STATE.  A FREED ABBOUD AL-ZUMOR 
WOULD POSE A SERIOUS CHALLENGE TO ABDURRAHMAN'S STATUS 
AS LEADER OF THE ISLAMIC RADICAL FRINGE. 
 
25.  COMMENT:  WHILE THE ISLAMIC LEADERS IDENTIFIED 
ABOVE JOCKEY FOR POSITION, THEY ARE UNLIKELY TO POSE A 
SERIOUS THREAT TO THE GOVERNMENT.  IF THEY BEGIN TO 
COOPERATE EFFECTIVELY, OR ONE OF THEM SUCCESSFULLY 
HARNESSES PUBLIC DISCONTENT, THE GOVERNMENT WILL HAVE TO 
CRACK DOWN. 
 
 
EGAN 

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