According to a report in the independent Egyptian weekly Roz Al-Yusouf, Egyptian MP Ragab Hilal Hamida, from the Muslim Brotherhood, said during a parliamentary session discussing the Inter-Arab Agreement on Combating Terrorism, that the Koran encourages terrorism, and that he supports the activities of Osama bin Laden, Ayman Al-Zawahiri, and Abu Mus'ab Al-Zarqawi.  The report also stated that another MP from the Muslim Brotherhood, Sheikh Ahmad 'Askar, supported Hamida's statements, and that MPs from the governing National Democratic Party (NDP) did not denounce them, but instead joked with Ragab.
In a subsequent interview with MP Hamida, Roz Al-Yusouf gave him a chance to retract his statements; however, he reiterated his position.
The following are excerpts from the interview. 
"'Terrorism' is Not a Curse When Given its True Meaning"
Question: "Does it make sense to you that a Muslim should claim that the Koran incites to terrorism?!"
Hamida: "I said these things in an [Egyptian] parliament session dealing with the Inter-Arab Agreement on Combating Terrorism. I noticed that the report of the [Parliamentary] Committee for Defense and National Security and the Egyptian Foreign Ministry were inaccurate when [they] dealt with terrorism, since [they] dealt with it in general [terms]. I specifically wanted to explain that [the term] 'terrorism' is not a curse when given its true meaning. [When interpreted accurately,] it means opposing occupation as it exists in Palestine, Afghanistan and Iraq!...
"From my point of view, bin Laden, Al-Zawahiri and Al-Zarqawi are not terrorists in the sense accepted by some. I support all their activities, since they are a thorn in the side of the Americans and the Zionists... [On the other hand,] he who kills Muslim citizens is neither a jihad fighter nor a terrorist, but a criminal and a murderer. We must call things by their proper names!"
Question: "Do you regard the Palestinians who are prepared to sacrifice their lives as terrorists?"
Hamida: "Yes. According to the shari'a, a Palestinian who is prepared to sacrifice his life deters the enemy, in the way [sanctioned by the Koran]: 'Make ready against them your strength to the utmost of your power, including steeds of war, to strike terror into the hearts of the enemies of Allah and your enemies, and others besides, whom ye may not know, but whom Allah knows.'" 
"This Palestinian is therefore [called] a terrorist, but he does not care that he is called a terrorist, since the Koran calls him so! We must realize that all religions forbid the killing of Muslim citizens. But anything related to countering occupation - is not a crime or [an act of] violence, but rather jihad or 'terrorism' in the sense of deterring and scaring [the enemy], and this is emphasized by the language and by shari'a!"
"It is [Our] Duty to Repel any Enemy of the Islamic and Arab Countries, Using 'Terrorism' Rather Than Using Violence"
Question: "Do you think that this is the [appropriate] time to repeat such provocative statements, when we are trying to improve the image of Islam in the West and to refute the accusation that [Islam] is a religion of terrorism, as [some] are claiming?"
Hamida: "Islam does not need improvement of its image... But there are some ignorant Muslims who do not understand the tenets of their faith... It is [our] duty to repel any enemy of the Islamic and Arab countries, using 'terrorism' rather than using violence. We need an accurate definition of [the term] 'terrorism' in the negative climate in which we live - a climate that makes no distinction between a criminal and one who is prepared to sacrifice his life or a terrorist. In defining [this term], we must not be influenced by American pressures, but consider the issues in the light of shari'a. They should not tell us to fight terrorism and to fight it as they command us to. The Americans are the ones who perpetrate violence in the Arab countries!..."
"Islam Encourages Terrorism and Jihad - [Though] Not Terrorism in the Common Sense of the Term"
Question: "How do you regard [the possibility] that some organization or country hostile to Egypt and to Islam might use your remarks to distort the image of our religion and criticize us abroad?!"
Hamida: "If some respectable organization came to me and asked me, it would [receive an answer and] understand what I mean. Islam encourages terrorism and jihad - [though] not terrorism in the common sense of the term - to prevent our holy places and our property from being easy prey for [our] enemies. As for killing civilians in Islamic and Arab countries - that is forbidden by the law and by shari'a. And those [who carry out these acts] are criminals and murderers according to the faith!"
Question: "So what are bin Laden and Al-Zawahiri doing [against] Saudi Arabia, [along with] their followers who support them in the name of Islam?!"
Hamida: "Bin Laden has nothing to do with what occurs from time to time in Saudi Arabia. They have never killed a single Muslim! Those [operations] were carried out by spies and agents of the America and Israel, who do not wish to see stability in the [Suadi] kingdom, since it has [adopted] a position hostile towards them under the rule of Emir Abdallah, both before and after the death of King Fahd!"
Question: "Aren't you afraid that you might be accused of inciting to terrorism under the [terms of] the agreement approved by the [Egyptian] parliament [a few] days ago?"
Hamida: "This is nothing new for me. I have already been imprisoned for several years on [charges of this sort]. Some accuse me of [endorsing] Islamist [views] more extremist than those of the Muslim Brotherhood. I used to belong to the Jihad organization and to Jama'at Al-Takfir Wa Al-Hijra organization, and I do not deny it!
"In the future, I will answer anyone who attacks me for my views, especially since all the organizations, without exception - judicial and other, in Egypt and abroad - are [nothing but] 'market stalls' full of spies that receive bribes from the Americans. In the future I will tell them that America and Israel are the only violent [parties], and that they are responsible for the wave of killing and violence that is sweeping over the world!"
Question: "What will you do if one of your constituents criticizes you for supporting terrorism and terrorists, and accuses you of saying that the Koran incites to terrorism?!"
Hamida: "I will make an effort to correct his [mis]conceptions and explain the ramifications to him. I support all of bin Laden's and Al-Zawahiri's operations against occupation, but if they [ever] issue a fatwa [that condones operations] against civilians in some Arab or Muslim country, I will be the first to condemn them!"
Question: "Didn't Al-Zawahiri recently [appear on] Al-Jazeera [TV channel] and explicitly call to renew the terrorist operations in Egypt?!"
Hamida: "This was because of his opposition to the American policy and to Washington's meddling in Egypt's domestic affairs. All parties, associations and journalists oppose the American control in the region..."
 Ragab Hilal Hamida was elected as an independent candidate in the recent elections but belongs to the Muslim Brotherhood. The recent Egyptian parliamentary elections, held in November-December 2005, saw the election of 88 MPs who belong to the Muslim Brotherhood; they now constitute about 20% of the Egyptian parliament.
 Roz Al-Yusouf (Egypt), January 28, 2006-February 3, 2006.
 The term turhibun ("strike terror"), which appears in this verse, is used in modern Arabic to denote terrorist actions.
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