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October Today in Terrorism

October 26, 1954: Attempted assassination of Egyptian President Nasser

On October 26, 1954 a Muslim Brotherhood member tried to assassinate Egyptian President Gamal Abdul Nasser in Alexandria but failed

ALEXANDRIA, EGYPT – Even groups that are the subject of much debate as to their make-up can get involved in terrorism.

Is there any association more divisive than the Muslim Brotherhood (MB)? Founded in Egypt by a schoolteacher and Islamic cleric named Hassan Al Banna in 1926 it is classified by nations anywhere from legitimate society to terrorist organisation. States among the latter are Egypt, the UAE and Saudi Arabia; among the former are Jordan and Qatar.

In truth, whether or not the MB is listed as a terrorist entityit is NOT in Canada – there is no doubt that some of its members have embraced violent extremism. In fact, one of those members was Sayyid Qutb, viewed by many as the father of modern Islamist terrorism.

Is it just me or does he look like Charlie Chaplin…a bit? (Photo: Public Domain)

In today’s Egypt the MB under President Morsi took power in 2011 in a free and fair election but were turfed out by the military less than two years later. To current President/General Sisi, there is no question the MB are a bunch of Islamist extremists.

And he does have some grounds to stand on.

On this day in 1954

An MB member tried to assassinate Egyptian President Gamal Abdul Nasser in Alexandria, firing eight shots at the platform where he was speaking. The head of state was uninjured but several on the stage near him were slightly hurt by flying glass. A 22-year old tinsmith from Cairo, Mahmud Abdul Latif, fired the shots.

 O free men, let them kill me where I stand!  

Nasser’s response to this attempt on his life

The assassination attempt was used as a pretext to crush the MB: a number of its members were executed and hundreds were imprisoned under brutal conditions, including Qutb, who himself was executed in 1966. Hmm, seems like the Egyptian reaction made things worse, not better. Still, something had to be done when the President is shot at, no? 

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By Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. and Director of the National Security programme at the University of Ottawa’s Professional Development Institute (PDI). Phil is a 32-year veteran of CSE and CSIS and the author of six books on terrorism.

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