Feb. 20 (Bloomberg) -- Al-Qaeda’s second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahiri urged Egyptians to revive Islamic rule and criticized Hosni Mubarak as a “modern-day pharaoh” in remarks that came before the former Egyptian president was toppled.
“The Egyptian regime is in fact a repressive regime that relies on brutality and rigged elections while the Islamic system is consultative and seeks to achieve justice,” the Egyptian militant leader said in an audio recording posted on a website used by Islamist groups including al-Qaeda.
Mubarak was ousted Feb. 11 after 18 days of anti-government protests that demanded political and economic reforms. Al-Qaeda’s Saudi-born leader Osama bin Laden and Zawahiri have often condemned the Mubarak regime for its ties to Israel and the U.S. and urged Muslims to remove U.S.-backed rulers.
Egypt, under the late president Anwar Sadat, was the first Arab nation to sign a peace treaty with Israel in 1979. Mubarak, who took over after Islamists killed Sadat, upheld the accord.
“The reality of Egypt is the reality of deviation from Islam,” Zawahiri, an Egyptian, said in the recording, part of a documentary by al-Qaeda’s media arm As-Sahab titled: “A message of Hope and Good Tidings to Our Folk in Egypt.”
“Secularism entered our countries through military occupation, oppression and massacres,” he said. “Western secularism is animus to Islam and supportive to Zionism.”
The production, which is 34 minutes and 40 seconds in length, was made during the Islamic calendar month that ended Feb. 4. The rebellion started Jan 25.
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