Following are excerpts from an interview with Egyptian Salafi cleric Sheikh Murgan Salem, which aired on Tahrir TV on April 16, 2013:
Interviewer: “Today, we will be talking about the Boston bombings, which took place yesterday, during the marathon. There were casualties. People were wounded and killed. What is your analysis of what happened?”
Murgan Salem: “In the name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate. 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. 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.”
Interviewer: “But do you think that this could have been an Al-Qaeda operation?”
Murgan Salem: “No. this was not up to the standards of Al-Qeda. It was extremely amateurish. The standards of Al-Qaeda are much higher. By the way, I was not a member of the Al-Qaeda organization. But I knew all the people who belonged to it.”
Interviewer: “You were close to Sheik Osama and Dr. Ayman…”
Murgan Salem: “We were like one family. I am happy and proud to have been a friend of these brothers, but I cannot claim to have had the honor of being an Al-Qaeda member. The standards and techniques of Al-Qaeda are much higher. From what I saw on the news, 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.
“Over the past 30 years, there has been a qualitative leap in the war with America. American is waging a war in our countries, and we are the ones who reap its fruits. Those courageous heroes have shifted the battle over to America’s own turf.
“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.
“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.”
Interviewer: “To America and the West?”
Murgan Salem: “To France in particular, and to America and the entire West.”
Murgan Salem: “Because the [French] are leading the war against us. What brought France to Mali? Or America to Afghanistan and Iraq? Why don’t they let our nation be? Have we ever interfered in their affairs?
“France has accepted the banner of arrogance and enmity to Islam, so it will taste what it deserves. 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.”
Murgan Salem: “There is no doubt about it. The U.S. has completely collapsed, even if they are not hurrying to admit it. The American debt has reached how many trillions of dollars? They have a huge debt. Now poverty is spreading throughout America.
“We say to the Western peoples: Force your stupid governments to refrain from supporting the tyrants. France’s intervention in Mali will not go unanswered. I don’t think it will. I do not have any specific information, but I am sure it will not go unanswered – just like their intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan did not go unanswered. They will suffer catastrophes for this.
“With the utmost stupidity, France has accepted the banner of enmity [to Islam] – from the days of Sarkozy to Hollande. This stupidity will bring catastrophes upon them, just like it did upon America. Although I am not from Al-Qaeda, I can say, as someone who has known these people, that the path of Al-Qaeda is the path of the Koran, which calls upon [Muslims] to wage Jihad against infidels who attack them and intervene in their affairs. This is the path of Islam and the Koran, and not something invented by Osama Bin Laden.
“No, it was not invented by Osama or Ayman. It was sent down by Allah, and anyone who thinks he can defeat this path is delusional.”
Interviewer: “Who do you consider to be an infidel?”
Murgan Salem: “Anyone who does not accept Islam. They are either original infidels, like the Jews and Christians, or apostates, like the secularists, liberals, Communists, or socialists. Whoever does not accept Islam is an infidel. Allah said so, not me.”