A radical Egyptian Salafi cleric said that the terror attack in Boston this week was meant to send a message to the West, that terrorists are alive and well.
The cleric, Sheik Murgan Salem, also warned that similar attacks were expected in France. Salem made the comments during an interview on Tahrir TV on April 16, 2013. The interview was translated and posted to the internet by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).
“Obviously, I do not know who carried out that operation, but if it was done by the mujahideen, it serves as a message to America and the West: We are still alive,” he said.
“Contrary to what you say, we have not died. The [Americans] wanted to send a message to the entire world that they had finished off the mujahideen – not just the mujahideen of Al-Qaeda, but the mujahideen all over the world. I do not know who carried out this attack, but if it was indeed the mujahideen, it was meant as a clear message to America and to the West,” continued Salem, who said the terror attack “was not up to the standards of Al-Qaeda. It was extremely amateurish. The standards of Al-Qaeda are much higher.”
The cleric goes on to say that he was “like one family” with both former Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden as well as current leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri.
“From what I saw on the news,” said Salem, “this was the work of amateurs. I do not know who did it, but they have managed to get the message across: We can reach you whenever and wherever we want.”
“I do not rule out the possibility that this was carried out by people born in the U.S. I do exclude the possibility that it was done by the Al-Qaeda organization. This is not the work of Osama Bin Laden or Ayman Al-Zawahiri. I think it was done by people resentful of the policy and arrogance of America and Europe. It is not just America,” he said.
“The Americans have passed their arrogance over to France. France, which led the first Crusade, is now leading the war against Islam and the Muslims. They must taste the bitter retribution for their deeds. This is not a threat, but a warning of what might happen to them,” said Salem.
“France has accepted the banner of arrogance and enmity to Islam, so it will taste what it deserves,” he continued. “I cannot be held responsible for over one million [Muslims] in the West, who were harmed by French and American policy. More than one million [Muslims] were born in the West. I cannot be held responsible for them. I do not know what they may do. The [Westerners] are facing a deluge, and they will be destroyed.”
Three people were killed in Monday’s explosions, which U.S. President Barack Obama condemned on Tuesday as “an act of terror.”
Investigators said the bombs were hidden in pressure cookers put in backpacks. The attackers packed the bombs with metal pellets and nails to cause maximum suffering.
An eight-year-old boy who was killed in the bombing attack was identified as Martin Richard.
He was waiting, together with his mother and sister, to give his father, who was participating in the race, a hug as he crossed the finish line when the bombs went off.
In addition to killing Martin, the bomb took his sister’s leg and injured his mother.
Massachusetts resident Krystle Campbell, 29, was also named as one of the dead. The third victim was a Chinese student.
A leader of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood on Tuesday linked the Boston bombings to an anti-Islam conspiracy.
In a post on his personal Facebook page Muslim Brotherhood Vice President Essam el-Erian suggested the attack was part of a global plot to discredit Islam, citing violence in Mali, Syria, Somalia and other Muslim nations.
“Our sympathy with the families of the victims, and the American people do not stop us from reading into the grave incident,” he wrote.
The Freedom and Justice Party officially condemned the Boston attacks, saying they “categorically” rejected the “intolerable” attack, claiming it violated the principles of Islamic Sharia law.
The Pakistani Taliban, meanwhile, denied involvement in the Boston marathon bombing, but openly applauded the heinous attack.
“Wherever we find Americans we will kill them, but we don’t have any connection with the Boston explosions,” Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) spokesman Ihsanullah Ihsan said, according to reports.