What did you think of the killing of Osama bin Laden?
For us, Osama bin Laden never represented Islam. Islam is a peaceful religion. Violent groups are a minority among Islamic groups. . . .
Even though it was war, it didn’t give America the right to kill a person while the forces could capture him.
So bin Laden shouldn’t have been killed?
To be brought to justice, this would have been better for America. . . . America committed some mistakes. First, killing him instead of arresting him. Second, they violated the sovereignty of Pakistan, putting the president and the Pakistani government in a critical situation. I criticize bin Laden and al-Qaeda. It [Pakistan] is a corrupted regime. But we are talking about the state, not the regime. This gives an important message to others — to Saudi Arabia and all your allies — that they are not trusted.
The Muslim Brotherhood has had many problems in Egypt during the past 30 years. A lot of your members — including yourself — have been put in jail. You have come a long way to have this vast headquarters now. Two years ago, this would not have been allowed.
Yes, but this change was brought about by Egyptians. Because for the last two centuries, this region has been under interference from others on the outside.
Mubarak did not occupy the country.
Yes. He was Egyptian. This was an internal occupation. Who was supporting Mubarak? Not the army only. The army got rid of him. The main support to Mubarak was from the U.S.
You think the army got rid of him?
Yes, after they saw millions of people in the streets. . . . Your administration tried to give him a shelter as they do now with [Libya’s Moammar] Gaddafi and [Yemen’s Ali Abdullah] Saleh.
Was it the power of the people or the power of the mosques?
This revolution had many steps to it. . . . I was arrested myself before the assassination of [Anwar] Sadat for one year. We were all arrested and released after Sadat’s assassination. Then I became a member of the parliament from 1987 to 1990. Then I was arrested again and tried before a military court, and jailed for five years. And during the last seven years, I was arrested five times. Annually I was arrested.
Were you put in jail each time or just arrested?
Yes, put in jail. . . . The last time I was arrested was during the revolution . . . 58 hours in jail. The revolution did not start on 25 January. We had many battles — about the independence of the judiciary and about free and fair elections. We reached this point, and they launched a new campaign on Facebook, that is true.
People say the army is sympathetic to the Muslim Brotherhood.