JEDDAH: The leader of the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Al-Nusra Front admitted ideological links with the Muslim Brotherhood in an interview with Qatari state-funded Al Jazeera news channel.
Abu Mohammad Al-Julani said that while the militant group differed greatly from the Muslim Brotherhood, the two organizations shared the same ideology.
“Al-Qaeda’s ideology is derived from the Holy Qu’ran, Sunnah and Prophet Muhammad successors’ teachings,” Al-Julani said.
He said of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood’s Sayyid Qutb: “He (Qutb) derived his ideology from the same source that we derived ours from.”
But he added: “Although this may be similar to many factions, Al-Qaeda has been interested in practical and serious views: jihad.”
Al-Nusra Front — also known by their Arabic name Jabhat Al-Nusra — is Al-Qaeda’s formal affiliate in Syria and one of the most powerful rebel groups fighting the Assad regime.
He later revealed in the interview that Al-Qaeda not only adopted the same ideological approach, but also shared the same educational teachings as the Muslim Brotherhood.
He explained that books by Qutb were used in the teachings at Al-Qaeda’s mujahedeen preparation centers, where the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood is described as a jihadi movement. “We must study all the jihadist movements in the arena,” Al-Julani said.
The Islamic scholar Hassan Al-Banna founded the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt in 1928, and Qutb later shaped it.
Saudi Arabia formally designated the group as a terrorist organization in 2014.
In 2016, the Al-Nusra Front announced in a video that the group was breaking its links with Al-Qaeda and changed its name to Jabhat Fatah Al-Sham — the front of the liberation of Al-Sham, the historical Arabic name for the Levantine region.
“We declare the complete cancelation of all operations under the name of Jabhat Al-Nusra and the formation of a new group operating under the name ‘Jabhat Fatah Al-Sham,’ noting that this new organization has no affiliation to any external entity.”