DAMASCUS — Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said the massive protests against his Islamist Egyptian counterpart brought the fall of “political Islam,” in statements posted on Wednesday on his official Facebook page.
“What is happening in Egypt is the fall of what is known as political Islam,” Assad said in an interview with Syrian state newspaper Ath-Thawra, excerpts of which were posted on the Internet.
“Anywhere in the world, whoever uses religion for political aims, or to benefit some and not others, will fall,” Assad said.
“You can’t fool all the people all the time, let alone the Egyptian people who have a civilisation that is thousands of years old, and who espouse clear, Arab nationalist thought,” he added.
“After a whole year, reality has become clear to the Egyptian people. The Muslim Brotherhood’s performance has helped them see the lies the (movement) used at the start of the popular revolution in Egypt.”
The full, pre-recorded interview is due to be published on Thursday, a day after massive street protests in Egypt ended with the ouster of the Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi.
There is long-standing animosity between the Damascus regime and the Muslim Brotherhood, and membership in the group has been punishable by death in Syria since the 1980s.
The Syrian branch of the Brotherhood today plays a key role in the exiled opposition National Coalition, which is recognised by more than 100 states and organisations as legitimate representative of the Syrian people.
Syria’s conflict broke out after Assad’s regime unleashed a brutal crackdown on a popular movement for regime change that broke out in March 2011.
More than 100,000 people have been killed in Syria’s war, says the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.