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Qaida founder blasts successor bin Laden for 'immoral terror'
By Yossi Melman, Haaretz Correspondent
One of Al-Qaida's founders, Sayyid Imam al-Sharif, has waged a harsh verbal attack on the terrorist organization's leaders Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri.
Sharif's criticism of the Al-Qaida ideology and the failures of its leadership have unleashed a heated debate within the global Jihad movement and it has been publicized in several western media outlets.
Sharif, who is serving a life sentence in a Cairo prison, recently wrote a book in which he said, "every drop of blood that was shed or is being shed in Afghanistan and Iraq is the responsibility of bin Laden and Zawahiri and their followers."
The Al-Qaida figurehead also said called the September 11 terror attacks immoral and counterproductive.
"Attacking America has become the shortest road to fame and leadership among the Arabs and Muslims," wrote Sharif, who also goes by the nom de guerre Dr. Fadl. "But what good is it if you destroy one of your enemy's buildings, and he destroys one of your countries? What good is it if you kill one of his people, and he kills a thousand of yours? That, in short, is my evaluation of 9/11."
Sharif also criticizes Muslims who move to the West only to perpetrate terror attacks in their adopted countries. "If they gave you permission to enter their homes and live with them, and if they gave you security for yourself and your money, and if they gave you the opportunity to work or study, or they granted you political asylum" wrote Sharif, then it is "not honorable" to "betray them, through killing and destruction."
According to Reuven Paz, an expert on Islamist movements, Sharif is considered one of the leading ideologues within the Egyptian group that cultivated Jihad starting in the 1970s.
Together with Zawahiri, he struggled against Egypt's leadership and also fought against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.
Sharif's writings have enraged Zawahiri's followers, who claim Sharif is working for Egyptian intelligence.
Dr. Paz said that American intelligence sources who study global Jihad have in recent months expressed hope that Sharif will influence the younger generation