Following are excerpts from an interview with Sheik Muhammad Mahdi 'Akef, Leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, which aired on Al-Hiwar TV on November 30, 2007.
Interviewer: During the Israeli aggression against Lebanon, you said that the Muslim Brotherhood was prepared to arm ten thousand young men, and to send them to Lebanon in order to support the resistance. Does this apply to Palestine too?
'Akef: This applies to any country under occupation. One of the principles of the Muslim Brotherhood is to rid the Arab and Islamic nation of any foreign rule. The Muslim Brotherhood must support all the forces of resistance in the Arab and Islamic world.
Interviewer: From where will they get the weapons?
'Akef: I don't know. I was talking about men, not weapons. I said we would recruit ten thousand men...
Interviewer: Armed men...
'Akef: No, you added the word "armed." The government must arm these people. When I fought in Palestine, the government knew about it. The government trained and armed us. As you know well, the military commanders worked with the Muslim Brotherhood. When we fought the English in 1951 in the [Suez] Canal, the government knew about it. We would undergo weapons training within [Al-Azhar] University.
'Akef: In no country and under no circumstances is it possible to launch resistance unless the government approves of this. Otherwise, we would be fighting the government, which is not our policy.
Interviewer: There are Sunnis, members of Al-Qaeda, who kill civilians in the name of Islam. There are Shiites who kill Sunnis in the name of Islam...
'Akef: All these things are American Zionist tricks. The Shiites attack one another, the Sunnis attack one another, and the Shiites attack the Sunnis. But the Muslim Brotherhood has a principle, which I declared from day one: The Shiites and Sunnis are brothers.
'Akef: I'd like to go back to the issue of Al-Qaeda. There is no such thing as Al-Qaeda. This is an American invention, so that they would have something to fight for...
Interviewer: What about Osama Bin Laden, Al-Zawahiri, and the Islamic state of Iraq?
'Akef: When one man, or two or three, fight this tyrannical global superpower – is it worth anything?
Interviewer: Thousands have carried out attacks in the Iraq in the name of Al-Qaeda...
'Akef: This is a lie. Who says so?
Interviewer: They do.
'Akef: No, the Americans and their collaborators say this.
Interviewer: But they claim responsibility for these attacks...
'Akef: Al-Qaeda has an ideology, which makes them...
Interviewer: You described it once as a perverted ideology.
'Akef: Of course it is. This is a perverted ideology, which employs methods that do not please Allah. How can I kill a Muslim when this is forbidden?