The London-based Saudi daily Al-Sharq al-Awsat has posted an interview with Egyptian cleric Wajdi Ghunaym (aka Wagdi Ghoneim, Wagdy Mohamed Ghoneim, Wagdi Ghuniem) in which he states that “MB offices have spread to more than 60 countries around the world, including Arab countries, Europe, and the United States:
I am an MB member to the core. We are Muslim Brothers, which is an honor; we are not MB dancers.” Cleric Ghunaym added: “The MB offices have spread to more than 60 countries around the world, including Arab countries, Europe, and the United States. The MB is an established reality on the ground; it is not an imaginary entity regardless ofthe fact that in the media outlets it is dubbed as banned organization. Some MB offices aboard have a sign stating “the MB’s General Headquarters. Thereare MB members in South Africa and they are doing well there and everywhere.”
Mr. Ghoneim went on to claim that he “put on combat clothing and expressed a desire to go to Gaza” and detailed some of the history of his travels and deportations stating that he now resides in Yemen:
Cleric Ghunaym said that he believes that the accusation leveled at him by the State Prosecution Office in Cairo might be because of his religious sermons during the Gaza war when he called for “opening the doors for jihadists against Israel.” He added: “In Yemen, I addressed people to prepare me to go for jihadists and to give me weapons to go to the battlefield. However, six crossings are closed in our faces. In fact, I put on combat clothing and expressed a desire to go to Gaza. In London, the British police detained me for 48 hours before deporting me. In the initial interrogation, the British antiterrorism squad accused me of appearing on the You Tube and professing my desire for martyrdom.” Cleric Ghunaym said that the Cairo Airport Administration prevented him from travel abroad eight times although he had won two administrative verdicts permitting him to leave Egypt. He noted that he was imprisoned in Egypt eight times. He said that he once asked the passport counter officer whether he would prevent him from travel if he were a dancer in the national dancing troupe. The officer replied” of course not.” He said that he left Egypt for good at the end of 2001, noting that he was imprisoned in Egypt in 1981, 1982, 1991, 1992, 1993,1994, 1995 and 1998, and was finally allowed to leave in 2001. Cleric Ghunaym said that the Egyptian security personnel had even monitored his movements in South Africa before leaving for Yemen where he sought to obtain a permanent residence permit in the Yemeni capital, which provides a safe haven for many deportees from Arab countries for political or ideological reasons. He said that he had been staying in Yemen for 10 months, and that he feels that Egypt is pressuring the Yemeni authorities to deport him. He added: “I left everything in Egypt; what do they want from me now.” He said that he would not return to Egypt out of fear of harassment or of being banned from practicing his preaching activity, and, perhaps, of being jailed again, as had happened to him several times before he immigrated to the United States. He added: “I have been imprisoned eight times in Egypt and was returned from the Cairo Airport eight more times; that is more than enough. I could live in Egypt like a king if I would abandon engaging in preaching, but I am a preacher of God’s sayings and want to continue my religious preaching without being prevented by anyone.”
Mr. Ghoneim is an Egyptian cleric known for his anti-Semitic speeches. In January 2005, Mr. Ghoneim agreed to be voluntarily deported from the U.S. based upon Department of Homeland Security concerns that his past speeches and participation in fund-raising activities could be supportive of terrorist organizations. Following deportations from Bahrain and South Africa, he appears to have settled in Qatar where MEMRI reported on remarks by Mr. Ghoneim which aired on Al-Jazeera TV and which praised violent Jihad and criticized the U.S. and Europe as “Godless” nations. Ghoneim is closely tied to the global Muslim Brotherhood and has been a frequent speaker or invited speaker at Brotherhood events including those sponsored by the Union of Islamic Organizations in Italy (UCOII), the Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland (ICCI), and the League of Swiss Muslims. Known for his anti-semitic speeches, global media have also reported that he is closely associated with Hamas. Ghoneim was recently identified as one of sixteen individuals on a Home office list of people banned from the U.K. on the basis of ” unacceptable behaviour by seeking to foment, justify or glorify terrorist violence in furtherance of particular beliefs and to provoke others to commit terrorist acts.
In July, the Egyptian newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm reported that Mr. Ghoneim was added by Egyptian authorities to a list of 90 leaders of the “International Organization of the Muslim Brotherhood”
(Source: Report by Muhammad Al-Shafi’i in London: “In Response to an Accusation of Being Affiliated in the Case of the Muslim Brotherhood International Organization, Cleric Ghunaym to Al-Sharq Al-Awsat: I Am an MB Member to the Core; the MB Has Offices in More Than 60 Countries Around the World” Al-Sharq al-Awsat Online Sunday, July 26, 2009)
(Note: translated source)