Aboud al-Zumour, the jihadist mastermind behind the assassination of Anwar Sadat, is now out of jail and ready to participate in the Egyptian political process.
Anwar Sadat was assassinated on October 6, 1981 during a military parade. He signed a peace treaty with Israel a year earlier, on March 26, 1979.
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Aboud al-Zumour is one Egyptian prisoner over whose long incarceration by the Mubarak regime few human rights groups or American diplomats shed a tear.
Convicted of masterminding the assassination of the late President Anwar Sadat, he was a close friend of Ayman Zawahiri, the man now leading al-Qaeda. He still speaks with admiration of his former cell-mate, who he says is a “very kind and nice man”.
He backs “resistance” against the “occupiers” in the Middle East – America and Israel. In his ideal Egypt, the sale of alcohol would be banned, beaches would be segregated and thieves would have their hands cut off – though, he says “it would not happen because no-one would steal”.
Until last week Islamists like him were at the radical fringe, but the first results from last week’s election have shown a staggering success for Islamist parties like Mr Zumour’s…
…”We want to join a coalition,” he told The Sunday Telegraph in an interview at his modest apartment not far from the pyramids of Giza.
“People must learn to trust and be comfortable with our Islamic vision, and know that we value peace and mercy and justice and development.”
Mr Zumour spent 30 years in prison for the Sadat killing before being released after the revolution that toppled Mr Sadat’s successor, Hosni Mubarak. He is now on the council of Gamaa Islamiya, another militant group previously responsible for numerous murderous attacks on tourists and civilian targets that has, like him, “gone straight”.