[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Friday, 23 December 2005, 10:22 GMT
Egyptian Islamists deny Holocaust
Mohammed Mahdi Akef
Mr Akef said he wanted to expose "false American rule"
The leader of Egypt's opposition Muslim Brotherhood has joined Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in calling the Nazi Holocaust a "myth".

Mohammed Mahdi Akef accused the West of attacking anyone who questioned that the Nazis killed some six million Jews.

Mr Akef's remarks came only weeks after his group won a record 19% of seats in Egypt's parliamentary elections.

A Nazi watchdog group warned that a "very ugly wave of Holocaust denial is sweeping the Arab world".

Condemning Mr Akef's comments, the director of the Israeli branch of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Efraim Zuroff told the Arab press:

"The problem is that so far in the Arab world, very few leaders are willing to tell their own people that they have to understand that the Holocaust did take place."

'False rule'

The Brotherhood is Egypt's oldest and largest Islamist organisation.

It is banned from open political activity, though independent candidates allied to the group are allowed to stand for parliament.

In his weekly statement, the group's general guide condemned the international outcry that followed Mr Ahmadinejad's comments earlier this month.

Egypt's oldest and largest Islamist organisation
Founded by Hasan al-Banna in 1928
Group has influenced Islamist movements worldwide
Mixes political activism with charity work
Banned from open political activity
Rejects the use of violence and supports democratic principles
Wants to create a state governed by Islamic law
Slogan: "Islam is the Solution"

"Western democracies have criticised all those who adopt a view different from that of the people of Zion about the myth of the Holocaust," he wrote on the group's website.

Mr Akef said he wanted to "expose the false American rule which has become a nightmare of a new world order".

"He who announces himself party to their alliance is a 'democrat', while he who opposes their methods in the fight against terrorism is a 'terrorist'," he added.

"I am making these comments to all free people in the world, aiming to wake up the conscience in humanity. The sword of democracy is only unsheathed against those who raise the flag of Islam."

He also criticised the US for backing an international inquiry into the assassination of Lebanon's former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri to "drive a deeper divide between the Lebanese and Syrian people", while not censuring Israel's killing of Palestinian militant leaders Sheikh Ahmad Yassin and Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi in 2004.


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific