Yusuf Nada (aka Youssef Nada) has given an interview which recently appeared on the official website of the Muslim Brotherhood. Nada, the self-acknowledged “foreign minister” for the Brotherhood, is most well known for his role as head of the Al Taqwa Bank. Al Taqwa, which had both a Bahamas-registered bank and a Swiss corporate office, was set up in 1988 on principles of Islamic finance and had a shareholder list comprised of many Muslim Brotherhood figures including the family of global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi who also served as the bank’s Sharia advisor. Very little is actually known about the Al Taqwa’s operations but it, along with with Nada and the other directors, was designated in November 2001 as terrorist entities in connection with the financing of Al Qaida. As recent posts have discussed, terrorism charges against Nada and his associates have recently been dropped in Switzerland and Italy for lack of evidence. Nada was recently named by the Egyptian government as a terrorism financier and is being tried in absentia by a military court. He continues to reside in Campione di Italia, an italian enclave inside of Swiss territory where he has lived in a luxurious villa for many years.
In the interview, Nada engages in a typical pattern of obfuscation and outfight falsehoods. For example, he makes the following statement about the closing of Al Taqwa Bank:
The one responsible for selling off Al-Taqwa bank was forced into selling it off with a complete loss 5 years ago. The compensations case was rejected because Switzerland claimed that the reason was putting me on the list and that America was the one that put me in the list and ordered the Security Council to put me in its lists. Consequently, all world countries were obliged to adhere to this.
This statement seems to imply that the bank was closed as a result of the November 2001 designation, but in an interview with the New York Times, Nada said that Bank Al Taqwa was liquidated in February 2001 in as a result of large losses in Indonesia and Malaysia following the the Asian financial crisis. (In interviews with Al Jazeerah, Nada stated that of about $500 million in total capital, the bank had invested between $100-120 million in Asia. However, another source claims that the Bank had virtually all of its capital invested in one unidentified project)
In another part of the interview, Nada makes the following statement about U.S foreign policy:
The world hasn’t agreed so far on definition for terrorism. The US administration adopted such a slogan to implement a well-studied plan to fight Islam which is, like the communist ideology, an ideology that opposes the US policy. This was highlighted by the US administration whose president said that” as we eliminated communism in 70 years, we will eliminate this new ideology, Islam.
Needless to say, no U.S. government official has ever argued for the elimination of Islam. (The reference maybe to “Islamism” not Islam and could be a translation issue)
When asked about Al Qaida and “jihadists”, Nada characterizes them as “religious adolescents” who are acting against injustice, albeit with incorrect tactics:
I see that Al-Qaeda and the so called jihad groups can’t be called an ideology. They constitute a phenomenon like other phenomena that appeared at the end of the twentieth century in many places all over the world like Kokesclan in America and Badminderhof in Germany, the Red Brigades in Italy and the Pasc in Spain and the Republican Army in Ireland, the Red Army in Japan and others. The only difference is that these are Muslim who convinced themselves and those whom they managed to recruit that their risks are divine orders. What raises eyebrows is that they were convinced that they can change the countries and their armies through the use of knives, guns and Kalashnikov. Therefore, they are trained on using them. I see that it is a stage of religious adolescence which has been fueled by the material, social and moral injustice and tyranny of rulers and the use of oppression and violence to impose rule and sidelining the judiciary that may impose justice.
When asked to evaluate the recent takeover of the Gaza strip by Hamas, Nada engages in rhetoric denying that the group actually seized power:
I do not think that Hamas seized power in Gaza. It actually stopped and prevented killers and thieves from maintaining their crimes of killing and robbing people. They did not say that they seized power. Hamas is extending its hands for reaching an agreement for the sake of the country and people. The Palestinian Liberation Organization is no longer representing all Palestinians. It must be restructured to include all powers.
Finally, when asked about the ability of Nada and other “activists” to continue their Dawa (missionary) activities in the face of “international and foreign challenges”, Nada assumes victim status, even claiming that he ” sacrificed money position and other worldly pleasures” for the sake of the Muslim Brotherhood when, in fact, he earned many millions of dollars though his business activities in Saudi Arabia that doubtless could not have taken place without his membership in the Brotherhood.
The remainder of the interviews is comprised of Nada’s opinions about the trial, the possibility of a U.S. alliance with the Brotherhood, and the future of the Egyptian regime.