CAIRO — Al-Qaida's leader has announced that Egypt's majority Muslims should not fight their Christian compatriots, and instead focus their efforts on opposing the military-backed authorities who ousted the Islamist president last summer.
It was a rare call by Ayman al-Zawahri not to attack Christians, who largely supported the coup against Mohamed Morsy and were subsequently targeted by a wave of violence.
In an audio message posted on terrorist websites, al-Zawahri said it was not in the interest of Muslims to be engaged with the Christians because “we have to be busy confronting the Americanized coup of (Gen. Abdel Fattah) al-Sisi and establish an Islamic government instead.”
Sisi is Egypt's defense minister who overthrew Morsy. The head of the Coptic church supported the coup along with other groups.
“We must not seek war with the Christians and thus give the West an excuse to blame Muslims, as has happened before,” al-Zawahri said.
He railed against Sisi with particularly strong language, describing him as the same as the military strongmen who have led Egypt during the past 60 years.
“He is a mercenary, an Americanized puppet, an impostor, treacherous and sinful with a history of bootlicking,” al-Zawahri said.
He didn't spare Morsy, saying he had cooperated with secular Egyptians and surrendered to the Americans by acknowledging agreements with them and Israel. He said this was the reason for Morsy's downfall.
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