CAIRO (AP) — A leader of al-Qaida's Iraqi branch called Saturday on Egyptians to fight their army and derided the Muslim Brotherhood as "evil" for seeking power through democracy.
The audio message by Abu Mohammed al-Adnani highlights the militant movement's attempt to use Egypt's July 3 coup, which toppled the country's first freely elected president, to bolster a hard-line ideology favoring armed struggle over peaceful politics.
In the 32-minute audio, al-Adnani derided the Brotherhood, from which ousted President Mohammed Morsi hails, as "a secular party with an Islamic cloak, worshipping power and parliaments, and their jihad is for democracy and not for God's sake."
It is "more evil and malevolent than the secularists, and if seizing power necessitates bowing to the Devil, they will bow without hesitation," he said.
Al-Adnani is official spokesman of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, which is battling Baghdad's Shiite-led government. The audio could not be independently verified but appeared on a website commonly used by militants.
The Egyptian army overthrew Morsi after millions took to the streets demanding his removal. On Aug. 14 the military-backed government moved to break up sit-ins of his supporters, leaving hundreds dead.
The Brotherhood has called for protests that it said should be non-violent, although some have turned into clashes with police or civilians. The Aug. 14 crackdown also sparked retaliatory attacks against churches and government buildings as well as a flare-up in the insurgency waged by militants in the Sinai Peninsula.
Al-Adnani called on Egyptians, Syrians and Iraqis to "renounce peaceful calls and to carry weapons and join jihad for the sake of God ... We advise those in the Egyptian army to repent and to defect."
He described the militaries of Arab states as "armies of the oppressors," ''renegades" and "infidels," especially the Egyptian army "which tries to prevent God's rule and establish secular rules."
He said 2011's Arab Spring uprisings went astray by focusing on rallies, rather than armed struggle.
"Muslims who came out unarmed to remove injustice missed their way when they thought that redemption is achieved by getting rid of rulers and that change comes through demonstrations," he said.
He said dignity and freedom from oppression "can only be achieved through the rattle of the swords, shedding blood and sacrifice of life," he said.
He told Brotherhood members: "You have suffered yourselves from the reality of democracy and the loss of your power that you have sought for a century when the army snatched your power within one night and left you either arrested, dead or homeless."