(Al-Monitor) Rifai Taha, the former president of Gamaa Islamiyya’s Shura council in Egypt, said that al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri should be praised and called on Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi to allow Zawahiri’s return to Egypt.

In an interview with Al-Hayat, Taha spoke of his relationship with late al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. Taha said that bin Laden refused to target Americans in Saudi Arabia and Yemen. Bin Laden said to some of his companions — among them Taha — who were preparing a strike against the United States to force it to release Gamaa Islamiyya’s “emir,” Dr. Omar Abdel Rahman, that “preserving security and stability in Saudi Arabia, Yemen and the Arab states serves Islam and the nature of the battle with the United States.” Taha considers al-Qaeda members mujahideen [holy Islamic warriors].

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