According to Egypt's Al Ahram, "Major Egyptian Islamist parties and groups—including the Muslim Brotherhood, the Salafist Calling and Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya—have issued calls for a Tahrir Square demonstration on Friday under the banner of 'Saving the revolution.' … Several non-Islamist revolutionary groups, meanwhile, have expressed their refusal to participate in the event. These groups include the United Maspero Youth, the Egyptian Brothers Independent group, and the Free Front for Peaceful Change."
To appreciate this dichotomy—what Islamists are all about and why secularists want no part in Friday's march—consider who is among the characters spearheading tomorrow's mass protests: none other than Muhammad al-Zawahiri, the elder brother of al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, and a seasoned terrorist in his own right. According to Youm 7, Zawahiri appeared yesterday "at the head of hundreds of protesters," including "dozens of jihadis," demonstrating in front of Egypt's Military Council near Cairo. They waved banners that read, "We are a people who do not give in—Victory or Death!" and chanted "Jihad! Jihad! The [Military] Council must leave," all punctuated by cries of Islam's primordial war-cry, "Allahu Akbar!"
Sheikh Muhammad Zawahiri also confirmed that his followers of the notorious al-Gama al-Islamiya—the "Islamic Group," a terrorist organization famous for the 1997 Luxor Massacre, killing over 60 tourists—are going to be participating in this Friday's "million man" march, stressing that they will not relent until the Military Council hands over all power.
Zawahiri was only recently acquitted and released from prison, where, since 1998, he was incarcerated "on charges of undergoing military training in Albania and planning military operations in Egypt." Here's a video of him just released from prison—to triumphant jihadi tunes; here's another video where, surrounded by his followers, he praises jihad, calling all jihadis the "truest of Muslims." Ironically, it was a military court that acquitted him—he was arrested and imprisoned under ousted president Hosni Mubarak—and now, predictably enough, he's out to overthrow the military in order to transform Egypt into a Sharia state.
Like Ayman, his al-Qaeda brother, Muhammad once thought that only violence and jihad could empower Islamists; now he as well as countless other Islamists have learned that if they throw around some "democratic" slogans, participate in elections, and engage in peaceful protests, the world will ignore if not applaud them, even as their thoroughly jihadi slogans belie their true intent.
Raymond Ibrahim is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and an Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum.