Simon al Zawaheri was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. The Brotherhood with regard to their religious and mystical leanings are Sufi or more specifically Qutbist, for those who follow Sayyid Qutb. This is the philosophy of the Muslim Brotherhood which is essentially NeoPlatonic and does not distinguish between matters of belief, so long as people adhere to their movement. This is why the outwardly Shia al Zawaheri and the outwardly Sunni bin Laden can be comrades and brothers. 
The Muslim Brotherhood traces its roots to a group known as the Assassins. They were a group primarily based in Neoplatonic thought tracing their mysticism, magic, and philosophy to Pythagoras, steeped in Sufism, and the other early Greek philosophies.
We are all familiar with the Qutbists Osama bin Laden and Simon al Zawaheri and their work through Al Qieda. It needs to be noted that as long as bin Laden has been forwarded as an enemy, the US has never charged him for 9/11. His familiar face became the poster boy figure for our government's fear of Islam although his beliefs are Qutbist.
The Muslim Brotherhood show of reconciliation with the branches of Islam is because for them the death struggle between sects is irrelevant. As long as you agree with their goals, you are a good Muslim.
When its base is actually turned over for examination we find tenets not of Islam, but philosophy and more specifically, Western Postmodern Philosophy.
Why would an oppressed people seeking freedom support them? The people themselves are rallied for protest. These figures along with alBaradei stepped into a leaderless revolt and claimed leadership. This got bolstered by both media and foreign government's willingness to deal with them. Because of the persecutions starting with Nasser they have evolved to a softer stance.
According to John Reilly at a conference given of esoteric fascism " I don't want to dwell on Islamicist ideology; I don't know that much about it. Still, we should note that recent Islamicist terrorists quote Evola with facility ." 
Evola is considered a principal father of what is known as the "Tradition" or Perennial Philosophy. According to John Reilly's further assessment this philosophy gravitates toward radical Islam and its further radicalization as a façade. My thoughts are its ability to co-opt and exert control.
Religious people as a whole look to scholars to interpret meaning. This is seen across the board within monotheism. Many of those we look to at the core follow these philosophies also through Neo Platonism.
Christian their second largest inroad is in your faith. Like the Muslim Brotherhood they are not rooted in fundamental Christianity which is based in Scripture. Their base is Christian Philosophy. Their desire also is Armageddon or the Christian version of the Day of Rage. Their goal is the return to Paradise which they will rule. Whichever religion is co-opted a few of the telling drivers are a shift from the tenets of faith to a radicalized stand against the enemy. Instead of the good, focus becomes militant.
With regard to policy why would the US government be supportive then?
This philosophy of religion has been carried at different timeframes by each of the religions. Its innovations for philosophical thought have come out of Islam, Kabbala, Hindu, and Taoism among others. Whether right, left, or center in thought, each has an established counterpart in the others philosophy of religion.
Like the Qutbist it is not an agreement of the tenets of faith set in a Holy Book, it is the agreement with goals and direction that define Orthodoxy.
"The Protestant Reformation was messy, and along with much good, there were plenty of ugly problems. The same will be true of what is emerging globally now. What some see as a breakthrough and blessing, others will see as a catastrophe and apostasy. What will happen will depend not just on "them," but on all of us.
So today I'm reflecting on the possibility that this hopeful dimension of the Egyptian revolution can spread, not just through the Arab world and the Muslim world (remembering that the two aren't the same thing -- there are many Arab Christians and many non-Arab Muslims), but through the whole world. Whether we call this a spiritual revolution or reformation, whether we call it a manifestation of tikkun olam, shalom, salaam, ijtihad, or the kingdom of God, this moment becomes a spiritual and moral summons that we must all consider and either join, oppose, or absent ourselves from. In that, we are no longer observers sitting on our couches watching history unfold on TV or online: we are all potential activists, invited to take a revolution of hope onto the streets and into all dimensions of our lives, making history for our children and grandchildren." 
While these concepts sound noble and just, Mr. Mclaren has shown himself like the Qutbist who declares those who do not line up inside the philosophical direction they have chosen as apostate to be dealt with and rid of. He like they are only too willing to jackboot those that believe differently. This difference for him and them is agreeing with Holy Writ and not Religious Philosophy.