Egyptian Islamist Group Drops Guns, Turns to Print

(Reuters) Tom Perry - Members of the militant Islamic group al-Gama'a al-Islamiya massacred 58 foreign tourists in Luxor, Egypt, in 1997, part of a bloody insurgency that cost the lives of 1,200 people in the 1990s and that aimed to set up a strict Islamic order in Egypt. Today, however, its leaders have published calls to renounce violence, condemn al-Qaeda, and ditch the idea of taking state power in order to make Egypt more devout. "There should not be anyone in our ranks who thinks about restarting the wheel of violence again," wrote al-Gama'a leaders. Some analysts say their rejection of violence might help tame radicals outside Egypt. "Al-Gama'a leaders are well-known and respected in the Arab world. When such people publish new arguments, for sure it will affect some of their friends in other Arab countries," said militant Islam expert Diaa Rashwan.

2003-12-04 00:00:00

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