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A high-ranking Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood official has linked the deadly Boston attacks to the U.S.-backed French war in Mali.
Essam Elerian, vice chairman of the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), wrote in a statement posted in Arabic on his Facebook account that the “events began with the sending of French battalions to Mali in a war against organizations that are said to be part of al Qaeda.”
Elerian expressed sympathy with the families of the victims, but said the attacks “do not stop us from reading into the grave incident.”
“Who interfered in democratic transformations, despite the difficult transition from despotism, corruption, poverty, hatred and intolerance to freedom, justice, tolerance, development, human dignity and social justice?” he asked. “Who created Islamophobia through research and media? Who funded this violence?”
A common criticism of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood has always been that it delivers one message in English to an international audience, and another message entirely in Arabic to its domestic audience. If anyone is ever looking for an example of this, they need to look no further than the Islamist organization's reaction to the bombing of the Boston Marathon.
In English, the Brotherhood's political party released a statement "categorically reject[ing] as intolerable the bombings committed in the U.S. city of Boston," and "offer[ing] heartfelt sympathies and solemn condolences to the American people and the families of the victims."
In Arabic, senior Brotherhood leader and the vice chairman of the group's political party Essam el-Erian took a different tack. In a post on his Facebook page, he condemned the Boston attack -- but also linked it to the French war in Mali, the destruction in Syria and Iraq, and faltering rapprochement between the Turkish government and Kurdish rebels.
El-Erian is making the case that all of these setbacks -- from Boston to Baghdad -- are somehow connected. "Who disturbed democratic transformations, despite the difficult transition from despotism, corruption, poverty, hatred, and intolerance to freedom, justice tolerance, development, human dignity, and social justice?" he asked. "Who planted Islamophobia through research, the press, and the media? Who funded the violence?"