Al-Qaida leader tells Morsi backers to take up arms

CAIRO (AP) — Al-Qaida’s leader says the military coup that ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi is proof that Islamic rule cannot be established through democracy. And Ayman al-Zawahri (AY’-muhn ahl-ZWAH’-ree) is calling on Morsi’s followers to abandon the ballot box in favor of armed resistance.

In a 15-minute audio message posted online late Friday, al-Zawahri also lashes out at the Egyptian military, the country’s secular and liberal elites and the Coptic Christian minority, accusing them of conspiring against Morsi because he is an Islamist.

But he says Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood shares the blame, because it “tried its best to satisfy America and the secularists” by relinquishing “jihad.”

Egypt’s army ousted Morsi, the country’s first democratically elected leader, on July 3 after days of mass protests demanding his removal. The coup has divided the nation into rival camps, with an array of liberal and secular Egyptians supporting the military’s move and Morsi’s supporters and Islamist allies rejecting it.

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