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'Islam will invade Europe and America'

Responding to France’s ban on the Islamic veil, the new head of the Muslim Brotherhood asserted Islam ultimately will triumph over the United States and Europe.

“I have complete faith that Islam will invade Europe and America, because Islam has logic and a mission,” said Muhammad Mahdi Othman ‘Akef, who recently took over the Egyptian-based movement after the death of leader Mamoun Al-Hudhaybi.

In an interview with the website alwihdah.com, translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute, ‘Akef said he is convinced “the Europeans and the Americans will come into the bosom of Islam out of conviction.”

“In 1993, I went to America and I published a book, ‘Political Pluralism and the Woman,’ that was distributed in the mosque,” he said. “Thirty [American] women converted immediately to Islam as soon as they read it. These are people who become convinced of the right path – but who will guide them there?”

Founded in 1928, the Muslim Brotherhood has been banned in Egypt since 1954, although it renounced violence in the 1970s. The movement, which has thousands of supporters and branches in other Arab nations, seeks to establish a strict Islamic state in Egypt.

‘Akef said he was among the first to express opposition to statements by French President Jacques Chirac, who “described the hijab [veil] as offensive in nature.”

A bill presented to France’s National Assembly yesterday by Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin bars Muslim headscarves, Jewish skullcaps and large Christian crosses from public classrooms.

‘Akef said he asked Chirac to understand the hijab is a “divine commandment.”

“I know that among the brothers in France, or the so-called Union of Islamic Organizations, there are smart people who can stand against this vile stream in the war on the hijab, represented by the stream of Turkey and Tunisia,” he said. “With Allah’s help, our brothers in France will be able to handle this matter however they see fit.”

In an interview with the Egyptian weekly Al-Arabi, ‘Akef called the U.S. a “Satan that abuses the region, lacking all morality and law.”

‘Akef criticized Washington’s claims that the U.S. is acting to spread democracy in the Arab world.

“These are [futile] words and false propaganda,” he said. “It is not logical that the U.S. – which destroyed Afghanistan, supports Israel’s daily ongoing aggression against the Palestinian people and occupies Iraq and steals its treasures – is acting to spread democracy in the Arab world.”

The Muslim leader said he expects the U.S. to collapse in the near future.

He told the independent Egyptian weekly Nahdhat Misr, “The matter of America’s attempt to take over the world is not new. What is new is that it appears with such a grim face, without morals, without principles, without law and without recognition of the need for the U.N. or the Security Council.

‘Akef said he is certain that “without the betrayal in Iraq, the Iraqis would have tormented the Americans with all kinds of torments,” and U.S. forces would have left.

“I expect America to collapse soon,” he said. “The elements of this collapse in America [already] exist, and Allah is the savior.”