CAIRO (Reuters) – Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood said on Monday that U.S. soldiers should be withdrawn from Afghanistan and Iraq after the killing of Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of the September 11 attacks that led to two U.S.-led wars.
Al Qaeda leader was killed in a firefight with U.S. forces in Pakistan on Sunday, U.S. President Barack Obama said.
“With Bin Laden’s death, one of the reasons for which violence has been practiced in the world has been removed,” Essam al-Erian, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood’s governing body, told Reuters.
“It is time for Obama to pull out of Afghanistan and Iraq and end the occupation of U.S. and Western forces around the world that have for so long harmed Muslim countries,” he said.
U.S. and other Western countries have troops based in Afghanistan. U.S. soldiers are due to leave Iraq at the end of 2011 under a security pact with Baghdad. Washington also has forces based in the Gulf.
The Brotherhood renounced violence as a means to achieve political change in Egypt decades ago. Since President Hosni Mubarak was toppled in Egypt on February 11, the Brotherhood has created a formal political party to contest elections.
“The revolutions taking place across the Middle East are proof that democracy has a home in the Middle East and we do not need foreign occupation any more,” Erian said.
He said there could be a violent reaction to Bin Laden’s death in areas of the world where al Qaeda had a foothold.
“Afghanistan, Pakistan, Morocco and Algeria might react violently as the influence of al Qaeda is pervasive there.”
He said Islam should not be equated with terrorism or the kind of violence espoused by Bin Laden.
“It is time for the world to understand that violence and Islam are not related and that relating them has been an intentional mistake by the media,” Erian added.
(Reporting by Marwa Awad; writing by Edmund Blair; editing by Mark Heinrich)