A new video released Monday by the “Islamic State”-affiliated militant group “Sinai Province”, showing a militant advising other Islamist entities in Egypt, namely the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafi movement, to abandon “peaceful means” of applying of Islamic Sharia and to take up arms.
The well-produced video features a militant wearing a Jalabyia and gun holster, speaking in colloquial Arabic in a tone similar to that of a religious preacher. However the speaker’s face is blurred. The background of the video shows a 4×4 vehicle, often used by militants in Sinai.
The speaker, whose identity is unknown, claimed to advise members of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafi movement. “People tried to apply the Islamic Sharia law and religion” using flawed methods, he said. As he speaks, the video shows a picture of the 2013 Brotherhood and Salafi-controlled parliament, with the female members in the picture blurred out.
“Scholars have warned against using methods different to those of the Muslim prophet,” the militant says. “Peacefulness, democracy, and liberalism kill their preachers.” The video then shows the bodies of the victims in the Rabaa Al-Adaweya Square sit-in dispersal. “This is peacefulness and its result.”
“God chose retribution for people, while you [other Islamists] chose peacefulness,” he says. The video then shows a screenshot of a news website quoting Islamic anti-regime cleric Yusuf Al–Qaradawi praising democracy back in 2012, describing it as “the democracy of God”.
“We call upon Egyptians to fight for the sake of god. We invite you to take arms against tyranny,” the speaker says, adding that “soldiers of the Caliphate” have proven loyal in countering “tyrants”.
In the final scenes of the new video, convoys of around 12 pick-up trucks converted to carry heavy machine guns parade through what seems to be rural and semi-urban areas of North Sinai. The video also shows an explosives attack on an Egyptian military Armed Personnel Carriers (APC).
Despite mounting attacks across the country, Egyptian army officials and the government maintain they are winning the fight against militants. The army has not made any statement on Monday’s video.
This is not the first time the militant group denounces democracy and the “peaceful approach” by the Brotherhood. However, the Egyptian state has repeatedly accused the Brotherhood of violence and assassination, despite the group’s denials.
Sinai has become the scene of frequent clashes between the extra-state militants and the Egyptian armed forces, which has launched an intensified counter-insurgency campaign to curb militancy in the governorate. According to military’s records, hundreds of terrorists have been killed in the first and second phase of operation “Retribution for the Martyr”, which occurred in November 2015.
The violence in Sinai intensified following the ouster of former Islamist president Mohamed Morsi by then-minister of defence, now-President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, following mass demonstrations against Morsi’s one-year turbulent rule.