Cleric: Unrest due to ‘new global colonialism allied to world Zionism’

Ahmed al-Tayeb / AP

The State Department’s counterterrorism office is facing pushback after promoting recent remarks by a Muslim cleric who blamed regional unrest in the Middle East on what he called a “conspiracy” by a “new global colonialism allied to world Zionism.”

The State Department’s official anti-terrorism Twitter account last week tweeted out remarks made by a leading Muslim cleric who, during a speech in Mecca, linked terrorism by the Islamic State (IS) to a plot by supporters of Israel around the world.

Al-Azhar Grand Imam Ahmed al-Tayeb, a leading voice in Sunni Islam, made the comments during a counter-terrorism rally held in the Muslim holy city last week, according to AFP.

Al-Tayeb “blamed unrest in the region on a conspiracy by what he called ‘new global colonialism allied to world Zionism,’” according to the AFP report, which was linked to by the State Department’s Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications (CSCC).

Al-Tayeb went on to say that the “plot has exploited ‘confessional tension’ in conflict-hit Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and Libya,” according to the report.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei communicated the same view as al-Tayeb on Monday, when he tweeted that all of the Western world’s problems “stem from Zionist domination over governments.”

Al-Tayeb also said in his remarks that educational reform in Arab countries could help stem the spread of terrorism, a point that was mentioned in isolation by the State Department in its tweet related to the speech.