An Egyptian cleric formerly known as the “preacher of the revolution” during the revolt against President Hosni Mubarak warned Egyptian television viewers this week that Muslim Brotherhood sheiks have issued a fatwa permitting “anal jihad” for terrorists far from their wives, which is exactly what it sounds like.
In televised remarks on Egypt’s Al-Tahrir TV on June 26 and translated into English by the Middle East Media Research Institute, cleric Mazhar Shahin told his viewers that members of the Muslim Brotherhood were engaging in homosexual anal sex acts as a way to “wage jihad in the name of Allah.” It was a “new kind of jihad,” he explained, where “they practice homosexuality with one another, thinking, wrongly, that this constitutes jihad for the sake of Allah.” The acts are sanctioned if the jihadists are far from their wives. He does not explain how engaging in homosexual sex in private furthers the cause of establishing an Islamic caliphate – the goal of most mujahidin – but compares it with “sexual jihad,” an act he describes as when “somebody takes a woman and has sex with her because he is waging jihad.”
The anal jihad “catastrophe,” he continued, was proof that “the (Muslim Brotherhood) is a bunch of hopeless and desperate peddlers who have reached a state of foolishness, stupidity, filth, and so on, to the highest imaginable degree.” He emphasizes multiple times that this is not just deviant behavior performed by individuals straying from jihadist ideals, but rather, behavior sanctioned by Muslim Brotherhood sheiks. “Their sheiks permit them to do these things. This is despicable, foolish, and asinine,” he concludes.
Despite being a vocal opponent of Mubarak, Shahin has also been extremely critical of the Muslim Brotherhood. In 2013, while Muslim Brotherhood President Mohamed Morsi was still in power, Shahin was suspended as a cleric at his mosque after a sermon in which, according to the Associated Press, “he warned against Brotherhood control over state institutions including the police, military and the Islamic institute of Al-Azhar.” He was accused of speaking “like a TV station or opposition paper” and fomenting discord among Muslims.
The suspension did not stop him from preaching against the Muslim Brotherhood. In February, Shahin encouraged men to divorce their wives if they were supportive of the Muslim Brotherhood, telling husbands that having such a wife is “having a sleeper cell in your house.” “These are priorities,” he explained, “…Should I sacrifice my wife or Egypt? My wife, in the end, is just a person… But when I say sacrifice, I don’t mean I kill her. I mean that I divorce her, and I give her all of her rights, and I protect my country and my patriotism.”
Shahin’s speech against “anal jihad” is another sign of the deep rifts between Islamist jihadists and Muslims that reject them, and even among different sectors of the jihadist community itself. In another example of homosexuality surfacing as an alleged element of jihad, a parody of the jihadist group The Islamic State (formerly the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham) on Palestinian television implied that its members were gay, calling them “ISISsy”s.