Yemeni news sites and figures affiliated with the terrorist Brotherhood revealed on Sunday evening, November 22 that Yemeni preacher and terrorist leader Abdul Majeed al-Zindani arrived in Turkey from Saudi Arabia, where he had been staying for years.
Mohamed el-Sagheer, former advisor to the Egyptian Minister of Endowments under the former Brotherhood regime, confirmed Zindani’s arrival in Turkey.
“After long suffering, Sheikh Abdul Majeed al-Zindani managed to leave Saudi Arabia and arrived in Turkey,” Sagheer tweeted.
This came about two weeks after the Council of Senior Scholars in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia decided to consider the Brotherhood “a terrorist group that does not represent the approach of Islam, but rather pursues its partisan goals that contradict the guidance of our true religion, conceals religion, and practices what contradicts it in terms of division, stirring up discord, violence and terrorism.”
Zindani had resided in Saudi Arabia since 2015, when he came from Yemen after the Houthi coup in Sanaa and its occupation of Iman University, which was founded by the Yemeni preacher.
Since his arrival to Saudi Arabia, reports and media affiliated with the Brotherhood claimed that Zindani had been subjected to house arrest, and he has been in hiding since then, while some of his children and family members reside in Turkey.
In July, Zindani’s son, Ali, denied that his father was arrested in Saudi Arabia, posting on Facebook, “What is being circulated about the Saudi authorities summoning my father Sheikh Abdul Majeed al-Zindani and interrogating him is not true.”
Abdul Majeed al-Zindani (born in 1942) is considered the spiritual father of the Yemeni Brotherhood, the founder of Iman University in Yemen, and one of the first to lay the building blocks for Islamist organizations in Yemen. He also founded of the Commission on Scientific Signs in the Quran and Sunnah in Mecca and was chairman of the Shura Council of the Islah party, the political arm of the Brotherhood in Yemen, along with Sheikh Abdullah al-Ahmar.
Zindani joined the College of Pharmacy in Egypt in 1960 and studied there for two years, where he met many Yemeni students and was in contact with the Egyptian Brotherhood and Yemeni Brotherhood leaders residing in Egypt.
Zindani played a fundamental role in the formation of the Arab Afghan Movement, as he took over the affairs of the camps in Yemen for reception, training, intellectual mobilization and sending to Afghanistan. He acquired the status of the godfather of the Arab Afghans, while former al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was the man in the field.
Fatwas against South Yemen
During the conflict between late Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh and the southerners, Zindani played the religion card, viewing the southerners as infidels because they embrace Marxist ideology and that they accordingly must be re-Islamized. He even reached the point of counting all marriages that took place during the period of socialist rule in the south since 1978 as invalid because it happened under a communist state.
This atmosphere led to the 1994 war launched by the north against the south, which ended with the victory of the northern side and the departure of the southerners from the equation of unity. Ahmar and Zindani participated fiercely in that war. Zindani in particular played a prominent role, because he led the jihadist factions from the Arab Afghans, which were the vanguard of the battles.
President Saleh rewarded Zindani by granting him a plot of land on which he went on to build Iman University, which made him a philanthropist. But it also opened eyes to his new political role, which made him a target of the United States as a baron of terrorism, not because of his previous relationship with Bin Laden. His university had a role in preparing new generations with a fanatic and anti-Western Salafist ideology, which was clearly revealed after the events of September 11, 2001. When the Americans arrested an American al-Qaeda operative in Afghanistan, they discovered that he had studied at Iman University, and this is when the United States opened a file on Zindani.
After the February 2011 Arab Spring protests, Zindani jumped from President Saleh’s ship when he realized that it was beginning to sink, and then he found himself standing on dry land with Islah and the Hashid tribe. With Major General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, he weaved a theatrical thread to move part of the military establishment to the ranks of the protesters to raise the slogan “The people want to try the butcher.”
Zindani is considered a complex and problematic figure, moving between the limits of religion and politics. His general approach follows the ideological line of the Egyptian Brotherhood movement, which is characterized by a twisted and sinuous pragmatism, fortified with religion when it wants to gain a political goal, which it uses as a cover for its rhetoric and its desire for power.