Almost immediately after Mubarak was overthrown, the government lifted its ban on Egyptian Islamic Jihad (same group Ayman al-Zawahiri once presided over), which is now a legal political party that is running in the upcoming elections.
(MEMRI) — On August 13, 2011, the Egyptian daily Roz Al-Yousef published an interview with Sheikh ‘Adel Shehato, a senior official in Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ), who, on March 23, 2011, was freed from prison in the wake of the Egyptian revolution. He was imprisoned in 1991 upon returning from a three-year sojourn in Afghanistan.
In the interview, Shehato expressed complete opposition to democracy “because it is not the faith of the Muslims, but the faith of the Jews and Christians.” He said that although the youth of the Arab revolutions have not declared the implementation of shari’a as one of their goals, the mujahideen nonetheless identify with their aspiration to overthrow the Arab rulers, whom they had always considered “infidels who must be killed because they do not rule according to the shari’a.” He added, however, that “once Allah’s law is applied, the role of the people will end and Allah will reign supreme.” He went on to say that although he supports Al-Qaeda’s ideology, shari’a law would not be enforced by violence but by da’wa (preaching), whereas violence would be used only against the infidel Arab rulers.
Shehato said that if the mujahideen came to power in Egypt, they would launch a campaign of Islamic conquests aimed at subjecting the entire world to Islamic rule. Muslim ambassadors would be appointed to each country, charged with calling upon them to join Islam willingly, but if the countries refused, war would be waged against them. He also described the nature of the Islamic state to be established in Egypt: there would be no trade or cultural ties with non-Muslims; tourist sites at the pyramids, the Sphinx, and Sharm Al-Sheikh would be shut down “because the tourists come [there] to drink alcohol and fornicate,” and all tourists wishing to visit Egypt would be required to comply with the conditions and laws of Islam; all art, painting, singing, dancing, and sculpture would be forbidden, and all culture would be purely Islamic.