Characteristics: The group wears black masks and carries black flags bearing the confession: “There is no god but God.” The group is known to be well-organized and in possession of highly-advanced weapons.
Background: An earlier iteration of the group was led by Shokri Mustafa, who became radicalized in Egypt’s prisons during his imprisonment from 1965 to 1971; Mustafa was executed in 1977 after the group assassinated Muhammad al-Dhahbi, the former Minister of Waqf. At this time the group was largely driven underground.
While there has been some limited evidence to suggest the presence of Takfir wal-Hijra “networks” in the Middle East and North Africa throughout the period after 1977, there is no evidence to indicate anything but a nominal relationship between these groups and either the earlier or later group operating in Egypt.
Ideology: Initially the Jama’at al-Muslimin, the media began using the name Takfir wal-Hijra—roughly meaning “Excommunication and Emigration”—because of the group’s belief that jihad is not possible in today’s world, and thus members must isolate themselves physically and emotionally from society.
The group adheres to a particularly extreme interpretation of Sayid Qutb’s teachings. This interpretation claims as apostates nearly all who are not themselves members of the group, including all state leaders who do not govern under a strict interpretation of shari’a, any peoples governed by such leaders and thus complicit in their leadership, and any religious leader who does not condemn such leaders as apostates.