Taken in isolation, Bodi’s advocacy of Islam Taliban-style might seem little more than an attempt to be contentious. But in matters of Islamist zeal a remarkable pattern of endorsement runs throughout the Guardian’s commentary. It began, more or less, in January 2004, when the paper published a speech by Osama bin Laden in the form of a regular opinion piece, prompting waggish comments about the al-Qaeda figurehead being “recruited as a Guardian columnist.” Dubious humour aside, at least readers were clear about the author’s political affiliation. However, the Guardian has subsequently published no fewer than 14 opinion pieces by members of, or advocates of, the Muslim Brotherhood, the radical group whose militant ideas directly inspired bin Laden. Curiously, the commentators’ links with the group were not disclosed to readers.
One recent example, a piece by the Brotherhood’s Egyptian vice-president, Khairat el-Shatir, is the first to acknowledge the writer’s membership of this illegal organisation. In Shatir’s article, titled No Need to be Afraid of Us, we were, improbably, told: “The success of the Muslim Brotherhood should not frighten anybody: we respect the rights of all religious and political groups.” Shatir’s reassurances are at odds with comments by the Brotherhood’s president, Muhammad Mehdi Akef, who last year told the Egyptian newspaper al-Arabi: “Islam will invade Europe and America because Islam has a mission.” Speaking in December, Mehdi described the Holocaust as “a myth” and insisted that, when in power, the Brotherhood would not recognise Israel, whose demise he “expected soon.” Mehdi views "martyrdom operations" in Palestine and Iraq as a religious duty and has described all Israelis – including children - as “enemies of Islam.” And yet Guardian readers are assured that the Brotherhood “has long espoused non-violence.”