|Egypt’s Islamists aim to install a global Islamic caliphate with its capital in Jerusalem, a radical Muslim preacher told thousands of Muslim Brotherhood supporters in a clip released Monday.
“We can see how the dream of the Islamic caliphate is being realized, God willing, by Dr. Mohamed Mursi,” Safwat Higazi told thousands of Brotherhood supporters at a Cairo soccer stadium as Mursi – the movement’s presidential candidate – and other Brotherhood officials nodded in agreement.
“The capital of the caliphate – the capital of the United States of the Arabs – will be Jerusalem, God willing,” Higazi said. “Our capital shall not be in Cairo, Mecca or Medina,” he said, before leading the crowd in chants of “Millions of martyrs march toward Jerusalem.”
Higazi is an unaffiliated Islamist who is barred from the United Kingdom for making statements endorsing terror attacks against Israelis. The clip, from Egypt’s Islamist-oriented Al-Nas television station, was aired last week and uploaded to YouTube on Monday by the Middle East Media Research Institute.
Members of the crowd carried banners emblazoned with slogans related to next week’s “Nakba Day,” when Palestinians and other Arabs mourn Israel’s creation in 1948.
“Tomorrow, Mursi will liberate Gaza,” an unidentified man cheers in the video before leading the crowd in chants of “Allah Akbar.”
“Banish the sleep from the eyes of all Jews,” the man repeats, accompanied by drumming. “Come on, you lovers of martyrdom, you are all Hamas… Forget about the whole world, forget about conferences. Brandish your weapons, say your prayers and pray to the Lord.”
Returning to the stage, Mursi vowed to pray in Jerusalem. “Yes, Jerusalem is our goal. We shall pray in Jerusalem, or die as martyrs on its threshold.”
Raymond Stock, an American translator and academic who spent two decades in Egypt, said the clip should come as a surprise to no one.
“This is what the Muslim Brotherhood really stands for: the extermination of Israel – and Jews everywhere – as well as the spread and control of radical Islam over the world,” he told The Jerusalem Post.
“How anyone can fail to see this boggles the mind – yet its denial is virtual dogma in the global mainstream media, US government and Western academia today,” said Stock, who has translated a number of books by the Nobel Prize-winning Egyptian novelist Naguib Mahfouz.
The Brotherhood won about half of Egypt’s parliamentary seats, but its main candidate Khairat al-Shater was disqualified last month from running for president and Mursi has struggled to win wide support.
Hard-line Salafi Islamists were parliamentary elections’ biggest surprise, taking around 25% of seats.
Instead, the two front-runners are Abdel Moneim Abol Fotouh – a former Brotherhood figure who has won the backing of a broad range of voters from liberals to Salafis – and Amr Moussa, a former foreign minister and Arab League chief.
A presidential election, which starts on May 23-24, will choose a replacement for Hosni Mubarak, who was toppled in February last year.
Poll numbers released Monday by the state-run Al-Ahram Center show Moussa leading the field with 39%, followed by Abol Fotouh with 24%, former Mubarak premier Ahmed Shafiq with 17% and Mursi in fourth with just 7%.
Stock said Amr Moussa has a significant chance of replacing Mubarak.
“Many people want Islamist values but are afraid that Islamist control of the presidency in addition to parliament could be bad for tourism and foreign investment. Others simply like Moussa,” he said. “He is a radical nationalist with a pragmatic streak, and from a Western point of view is the best we can hope for now that Omar Suleiman has been excluded.”
“But we can’t rule out Mohamed Mursi yet – the Brotherhood machine is extremely formidable, and nearly everyone has underestimated them before,” he said, adding that “the Salafis remain wild cards, as ever.”