Sana'a- Mar 6, 2011- Among the sit-inners in Sana'a province appeared Sheikh Abdul Majeed Al-Zandani, whom the U.S. has branded a spiritual mentor of Osama bin-Laden but who is also courted by the Yemeni government for his important backing.
The cleric, Sheik Abdul Majid Al-Zindani, has been on the United States Treasury Department’s list of “specially designated global terrorists” since 2004, suspected of fund-raising for Al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups.
Al-Zandani called in its speech before thousands of sit-inners at Sana'a University campus, demanding the ouster of President Ali Abdullah Saleh's regime, for the replacement of the government with an Islamic state.
His call was a marked contrast to the message of the rebellions that brought down the leaders of Tunisia and Egypt and now threaten the rulers of Libya, Bahrain, Oman and, to this point, Yemen, where uprisings have been seen as secular and inspired by democratic goals.
In the past, he has publicly opposed terrorism, if not jihad, or holy war, and his word as a spiritual leader carries considerable political and moral weight in Yemen....
Mr. Zindani spoke on an open-air stage before several thousand anti-government protesters, guarded by his own private security force of 10 men carrying AK-47’s and shielded from the scorching sun by two umbrellas wielded by aides. He called for Mr. Saleh to step down and described the fervor for reform as an opportunity. “An Islamic state is coming,” he said, drawing cries of “God is great” from some in the crowd.
He said Mr. Saleh “came to power by force, and stayed in power by force, and the only way to get rid of him is through the force of the people.”
Moreover, several clerics in Aden and other provinces in Yemen consider Al-Zindaini as a mark to deliver same speeches before thousands of protesters in Aden, Taiz, Abyan, and Hodeida province, calling them to fall the regime in order to establish the Islamic state in the Arab world.