A top jihadi leader is urging Egyptian supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood to cease peaceful demonstrations and take up arms against the Egyptian military, which he dubbed "an army of infidels and apostates," according to a translation of his remarks.
Egyptian Muslims should "come and respond to the call of jihad" and "come and shed blood for the sake of establishing Allah's law," Sheikh Abu al Mundhir al Shinqiti said recently according to the Arabic media.
Waging jihad against the Egyptian military is "a religious duty and divine obligation," he said.
Shinqiti is a well-known radical thinker and jihadist who is close with the spiritual adviser of prominent terrorist Abu Musab al Zarqawi, the former leader of al Qaeda in Iraq.
Shinqiti’s call for jihad in Egypt came as the country’s court system upheld a ban on the Muslim Brotherhood, a decision that some fear could spark increased violence in a country already reeling from months of civil discord.
Shinqiti said that it is acceptable under Islamic law to kill Egyptian soldiers because "this army is apostasy from Islam and a pledge of allegiance to the enemies of Allah," according to his remarks, which were translated from Arabic and republished by the Long War Journal.
"Muslim women married to a member of the army should know that their marriage is nullified because [their husbands] are apostates," Shinqiti said.
Terrorism expert Aaron Zelin said that Shinqiti’s call for violence could reverberate on the ground in Egypt, where the military continues to struggle against pro-Muslim Brotherhood agitators and other terrorist forces.
"I believe Abu Mundhir al Shinqiti's release is quite serious," said Zelin, a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP). "It is very important for jihadis on the ground for one of the top global jihadi scholars to confer legitimacy on the jihad in Egypt and the Sinai."
The time for peaceful protests in Egypt has ended, according to Shinqiti.
"Peaceful change [...] is now impossible," he wrote, according to the Journal’s translation. "Every attempt to avoid fighting the Egyptian Army is like treating a disease with the wrong medicine."
Anyone who continues to advocate in favor of non-violence is "a criminal thug who wants the Ummah [Muslim community] to be eradicated and to be slaughtered," he wrote.
Egyptians should provide financial and moral support to any jihadi seeking to kill Egyptian soldiers, according to Shinqiti, who also accused the army of cracking down on terrorists in the Sinai region only to "protect Israel."
"The goal of the security campaign that the tyrannical army in Egypt is directing in the Sinai is to protect Israel and its borders after jihadi groups in the Sinai became a real threat to it," Shinqiti wrote.
He is not the only jihadist ideologue to advocate violence in Egypt since Muslim Brotherhood-backed President Mohamed Morsi was removed from office.
Egyptian police clashed with pro-Morsi rioters early Tuesday, injuring four, in one instance of the increasing violence across the country.
The calls for violence could influence terrorists who took up residence in the Sinai during Morsi’s rule, according to terrorism expert Khairi Abaza.
"Especially during Morsi’s [presidency], many [jihadists] came to Egypt and settled in the Sinai," Abaza, a scholar at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said.
"There are also Egyptian extremists who call" for violence, Abaza said. "There are a lot of calls."