Al-Zandani calls on militant groups to renounce violence, engage in dialogue
In an interview with the daily newspaper Akhbar Al-Youm, Al-Zandani said “If these groups refuse to renounce violence, then the government and the Yemeni people should take decisive action against them in order to restore security and stability.”
He denounced violent acts, killing of soldiers, and targeting of public services and foreign interests by armed groups, calling on the government to enter into dialogue with these groups on condition that the groups renounce violence.
He indicated that it's not permissible to fight Muslims, soldiers or civilians, citing words of the Prophet Mohammed: “Whoever trains the gun on us is not one of us.”
Speaking about the newly-elected President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi, he said that all Yemenis have willingly chosen Hadi, and now they are looking to him for reforms.
Al-Zandandi stressed that the first step to solve the disputes with the militant groups starts with holding a national dialogue, which the government already announced in order to overcome the multiple challenges currently facing Yemen.
Regarding the attacks on foreign interests, he has pointed out that it’s forbidden to target the interests of foreigners whose countries have agreements and conventions with Muslim states.
Al-Zandani said that fighting Muslim soldiers or pulling guns on citizens or even attacking Western countries which have treaties and conventions with Muslims is forbidden in Islam.
"What’s the crime the peaceful Westerners have committed when they are killed inside Muslim states?" Al-Zandani asked.
He questioned the sense of terrorist groups, and said, "The government is chosen by the people. We complained about the former regime, but now we have a new government and a new President. What do these groups want?"
"You [terrorists] said that you did not intend to fight Muslims, but you do intend to fight other countries and attack their interests. The interests you attack will prompt these countries to ask our government to hand you over to them. If the state refuses to hand you over, these countries will wage a war against us [Yemen]," he said.
Last month, the US ambassador to Sana'a, Gerald Feierstein, said in an interview with London-based Al-Hayat newspaper that Al-Zandani is a source of concern for the US and for the entire international community, considering him a terrorism supporter who poses a danger to the US as well as the entire world.
For its part, the Islah party, the main party in the opposition coalition known as the Joint Meeting Parties, to which al-Zandani belongs, has expressed regret over the US ambassador's comments about Al-Zandani.
Islah, which is a wing of the Muslim Brotherhood Movement in Yemen, said in a statement released last month that "the allegations of having links with terrorism against Al-Zandani have been brought up by many US officials before and on different occasions, and the party has repeatedly showed willingness to open Al-Zandani's file, in which they found that all allegations against him are baseless." The party stressed that the accused is innocent until proven guilty.
The statement stressed that Al-Zandani himself has announced more than once and in more than one media outlet his willingness to stand for public trial in a national court on charges made by Americans, but no one responded to him.
“If the allegations were not fabricated by the former regime, they were invented by its media outlets in order to politically blackmail Al-Zandani and his party,” read the Islah party statement.