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Alert: Egyptian Fundamentalists Threaten the US

MEMRI Special Dispatch - Egypt April 26, 2001 No. 211

In a conference in Cairo supporting Sheikh Umar Abd
Al-Rahman, who was convicted and imprisoned in the U.S. for
his involvement in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade
Center in New York, speakers threatened additional
terrorist attacks against American targets if their leader
in not released. Following are excerpts from a report
about the conference, published in the London-based Arabic
daily Al-Hayat, on April 25, 2001:

“The Sheikh’s defense attorney, Muntasir Al-Zayyat said,
‘When the Jihad organization (which the Sheikh heads) found
out that the CIA was involved in the extradition of three
of its people, from Albania to Egypt, it decided to get
involved in the bombings of the US embassies in Nairobi and
Dar es Salaam. Therefore, once [the US] harms a cleric at
the level of Sheikh Abd Al-Rahman, the revenge will be
[accordingly] stronger and more violent and its impact
wider.'”

“The conference convened in solidarity with Sheikh Umar Abd
Al-Rahman’s son and wife, who were denied entry visas by
the American authorities.”

Attorney Al-Zayyat said that the Muslim world “will not
allow the indefinite humiliation of a cleric of the
Al-Azhar institution, and the leader of the biggest Muslim
organization in the world. The Sheikh has a privileged
position not only within the Jihad organization, but also
among all the fundamentalist organizations around the
world. Despite the fact that the Sheikh’s attorneys
attempted to resolve the problem through the courts, while
the leaders of his organization Al-Jama’ah Al-Islamiya
practice restraint, it is inevitable that, as a revenge for
hurting the honorable Sheikh, one or a few of those who
love the Sheikh will turn to carrying out acts against
American interests around the world.”

Al-Zayyat, however, excluded the possibility that such
attacks would take place on Egyptian soil. He expressed
hope that the new American administration will “listen to
the voice of reason and release Abd Al-Rahman so not to
aggravate the hostility of the Muslim world, which suspects
that the US is acting against anything that is Arab and
Muslim.”

“We warn and warn,” Al-Zayyat added, “The U.S. will reap a
bitter harvest if she continues humiliating Dr. Umar…the
continuation of the Sheikh’s abuse may result in an
explosion of events targeted against US interests. Sheikh
Umar has many followers.”

The head of Abd Al-Rahman’s defense team, Dr. Abd Al-Halim
Mansur, placed the responsibility for the Sheikh’s life on
US President George Bush, and said that if any harm is done
to the Sheikh, “the consequences will be disastrous.”
Mansur argues that the Americans use the Sheikh as a
bargaining chip to pressure the Egyptian government. He
states, “Every once in a while they hint that they will
return the Sheikh to Egypt in order to scare the senior
Egyptian leadership and prevent them from taking
responsibility for the Sheikh’s life….”

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