In Egypt, ideas of a radical Islamist make comeback`

In Egypt, ideas of a radical Islamist make comeback`
# 02 December 2013 21:32 (UTC +04:00)

Baku-APA. Young Egyptian Islamists seeking a way to confront the military-led state are turning to the ideas of a radical ideologue who waged the same struggle half a century ago and later became a source of inspiration for al Qaeda, APA reports quoting Reuters.

The revolutionary ideas of Sayyid Qutb, a Muslim Brotherhood leader executed in 1966, are spreading among Islamists who see themselves in an all-out struggle with generals who deposed President Mohamed Mursi in July.

Their radical conclusions underline the risks facing a nation more divided than ever in its modern history: after Mursi's downfall, the state killed hundreds of Islamists, and attacks on the security forces have become commonplace.

Qutb's writing, much of it produced while a prisoner in President Gamal Abdel Nasser's jails, has supplied ideological fuel for militancy in Egypt and beyond for decades.

He has been cited as a source of inspiration by Ayman al-Zawahri, the Egyptian doctor who was Osama bin Laden's deputy as leader of al Qaeda and took over the militant network after bin Laden's death in 2009.

Within the Brotherhood itself, which decades ago declared itself opposed to violence, Qutb's writings were widely respected but his revolutionary approach took a back seat as the 85-year-old movement focused on seeking power within the system.

Not any more, said Omar Magdy, 23, a Brotherhood activist who likens the crackdown on Islamists today with Nasser's.

"The era in which Sayyid Qutb wrote his work resembles the one we are in now, so his ideas are being revived," Magdy explained in a seafront cafe in Alexandria. "Sayyid Qutb embodies the revolutionary Islamist idea. I support it."

After the fall of Hosni Mubarak in 2011, the Brotherhood pursued its agenda through the ballot box, relying on its organizational muscle to win two parliamentary elections, a presidential vote and two constitutional referenda.

But that all ended in July, when the military, responding to mass demonstrations against Mursi, toppled Egypt's first freely elected leader and launched a crackdown on his followers.

Thousands have been rounded up and many hundreds killed, particularly in the storming of a pro-Mursi protest camp which Islamists see as a massacre that proved the generals wanted to eradicate the Brotherhood once and for all.

Since Mursi's downfall, the Brotherhood has experienced an ideological crisis. For many youths, the ideas of democracy - and even the very concept of the nation state itself - have been discredited.

Magdy, 23, said his uncle was among those shot dead by police. He evokes Qutb by likening Egypt with the Jahiliya - the period before the emergence of Islam in 7th century Arabia.

"Does society have the features of the Jahiliya? Yes it does," he said.