The diplomats said the Brotherhood was using the Salafists for attacks
on other elements of the opposition that helped oust President Hosni Mubarak
in February, Middle East Newsline reported. They said the Brotherhood was exploiting its quiet
cooperation with the military regime to attack Christians and Sufi Muslims
in Cairo and Alexandria. In March, at least 25 people were killed in
Salafist-led clashes with Christians in the Cairo area.
"The Brotherhood wants to present an image of moderation and
non-violence," the diplomat said. "When it needs dirty work done, it calls
The first mass appearance of the Salafist movement was reported on April
1. On that day, about 3,000 Salafists, including foreign nationals,
demonstrated outside the state-owned Al Ahram daily for an Islamic state.
Egypt receives $1.3 billion in annual military aid from the United
States. In 2011, the Egyptian Air Force has been preparing for the arrival
of the first of 20 advanced F-16 Block 52+ multi-role fighters from Lockheed
The diplomats said the Salafists have benefited since the military
regime began more than two months ago. They said dozens of Salafist
prisoners, including those convicted of security offenses, have been
released with the promise that they would not attack government
At the same time, the Brotherhood, which has launched the Justice and
Freedom Party, has adopted the militancy of Al Qaida supporters in Egypt.
This included Brotherhood leader Mohammed Badie, who has called for jihad,
or Islamic war, against internal and external enemies.
"Many Christians are afraid for the future because of the fanatics in the
mosques," Egyptian Human Rights Federation director Naguib Gabriel said.
"Every day, people ask how they can get to the U.S. and Canadian embassies."