Kemal Helbawy, a senior Muslim Brotherhood official based in Britain, has praised Osama bin Laden and suggested he was falsely accused of masterminding the 9/11 terrorist attacks, which Helbawy said were actually "planned" by Americans. One day after bin Laden was killed in a U.S. military operation, Helbawy participated in a question-and-answer session on the OnIslam.net website.
American claims about 9/11 were "a trick and bait they accused al-Qaida of," he said, and agreed with a questioner who suggested that news of bin Laden's death may have been "propaganda from America."
Helbawy said that "all evidences" about 9/11 indicate "that Americans are the ones who planned this matter, not the Afghans," adding that "The Plot of 911 story was not tight. It should be reviewed closely and all parties should be listened to."
Helbawy asked Allah "to have mercy upon Osama Bin Laden, to treat him generously" and "to make him join the prophets, the martyrs, and the good people." He called bin Laden a "great mujahid" (holy warrior) and emphasized that in assessing bin Laden, it is important to talk about "all aspects" of his life.
"We appreciate [bin Laden] as a rich man living in [Saudi Arabia] who left this luxurious life and moved to a hard life in mountains and caves," Helbawy said. "He helped his Afghan brethrens and participated in Afghan jihad effectively."
Helbawy's remarks are but one example of Muslim Brotherhood statements sympathetic to bin Laden or justifying violence against the West. The Muslim Brotherhood criticized bin Laden's death in a U.S. military operation as an "assassination" and faulted the United States for not bringing him to trial. The same statement defended "resistance" (violent jihad) as being necessary for innocent people to defend themselves against "oppression" as "is the case of the Palestinian people and Israel's Zionists."
Writing at The Atlantic's website, Eric Trager notes that the Brotherhood demands that Western countries "end the occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq, and recognize the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people" and that Washington "cease its interference in the internal affairs of any Arab or Muslim country."
The Brotherhood's reaction to bin Laden's death should "finally end the mythology -- espoused frequently in the U.S. -- that the organization is moderate or, at the very least, could moderate once in power." Trager concludes:
"In a way, the Muslim Brotherhood's statement is vintage bin Laden: it's Muslim lands, not America, that are under attack; it's Muslims, not American civilians, who are the ultimate victims; and, despite two American presidents' genuine, effusive promises to the contrary, Islam is the target."