Al-Qaeda's late leader Osama bin Laden was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood before taking up arms against Soviets in Afghanistan, his successor Ayman al-Zawahiri said in a video message released Thursday, dpa reported.
"Sheikh Osama bin Laden was in the Muslim Brotherhood organization in the Arabian Peninsula. When the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan began (in 1979), he immediately went to Pakistan to meet the mujahideen and assist them," al-Zawahiri added in the hour-long video reposted on Jihadology, a US-based website on extremist groups.
"The organization's instructions to him were that you are not to go any further than Lahore (in Pakistan). Go to the Jamaa Islamiyya in Lahore, leave the aid there and they will deliver it ... but the sheikh was not convinced, and he found his way to (the border town of) Peshawar and then to the mujahideen."
Al-Zawahiri said that the Muslim Brotherhood then expelled bin Laden, warning him that if he was captured as a Saudi citizen in Afghanistan, a diplomatic crisis could take place between the now-defunct Soviet Union and Saudi Arabia.
The Brotherhood is an international Islamist network which originated in Egypt more than eight decades ago
Al-Zawahiri, who was filmed in the video wearing a plain white robe and turban, spoke casually and apparently without a script, swaying slightly from side to side.
The tape is the third in a series of al-Zawahiri's reminiscences about the al-Qaeda founder, who was killed in a US raid on a safe house in Abbottabad, Pakistan, in May last year.
Al-Zawahiri, an Egyptian surgeon-turned-terrorist, also recalled that bin Laden had a sense of humour.
"He loved innocent laughter and innocent jokes," al-Zawahiri said