The General Manager of Al-Arabiya has published a commentary titled “Are the Salafis the bad guys?” which looks at the distinctions often claimed between the Salafis and the Muslim Brotherhood. The piece begins:
Monday, 24 September 2012 More often than not, whenever a terrible act is committed in our region the Salafis are accused. Even before a single bullet was fired from the Syrian opposition, President al-Assad had attributed heinous crimes of slaughter and destruction to them, and claimed that it was the work of Salafis affiliated with Saudi Arabia and the West! Prior to the fall of Hosni Mubarak, the voices of young revolutionaries in Egypt accused the Salafis of supporting Mubarak and the West, but then their ranks were blamed for the attack on the US Embassy. In Tunisia, Rachid Ghannouchi, leader of the ruling Ennahda movement, has previously praised the Salafis but has since begun to criticize them. Now he is calling on confronting them by force, with the former security forces of ousted President Ben Ali – now the forces of the Ennahda movement – pursuing them and surrounded their mosques, headquarters and leaders under the pretext that they were the ones who attacked the vicinity of the American Embassy and two American schools. In Libya, the Salafis face an even greater predicament having been expelled from the city of Benghazi with their political headquarters burned down, after being accused of the attack on the US Consulate and the killing of the US Ambassador. Of course, there are many other serious events I could mention, such as the attack carried out by Salafi jihadist groups on Egyptian forces in Sinai, who then crossed the border with Israel and killed a soldier there. So are the Salafis actually the bad guys, and the Muslim Brotherhood the good guys? Before we come to that, who exactly are the Salafis? In my opinion, such terminology and names no longer really express the truth of the matter. The Salafis now represent the raw state of the Muslim Brotherhood; they are not like the old, traditional Salafis known for their hardline stances on social issues such as women’s clothing, beard shaving, the length of a man’s thobe, music and so on.
Read the rest here.