The case of ‘blind sheikh’ Omar Abdelrahman and links to terror

Mashari Althaydi
Mashari Althaydi
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Blind Egyptian Sheikh Omar Abdelrahman who died last week in his cell in the US is a symbol of Islamized terrorist groups.
He was a student at Al-Azhar University, preacher and lecturer who became famous after he was tried for the assassination of Egyptian president Anwar al-Sadat.

The assassination was carried out by soldiers who believe in Qutb’s ideology, in reference to Sayyid Qutb, and they had received a clear fatwa (religious edict) to kill Sadat from Abdelrahman.

Abdelrahman immigrated to America but he did not give up his terrorist approach. He incited those there to target America’s security and he was tried on charges of issuing a fatwa to a terrorist cell and inciting it to attack the World Trade Center in New York in 1993.

This time Abdelrahman did not escape imprisonment and the American judiciary sentenced him to life in prison and he recently died in jail.

Those who want to ignore all these facts about Abdelrahman and insist on presenting him as a mere “blind sheikh” with an opinion truly lack insight

Mshari al-Thaydi

Terrorist groups’ supporters in Egypt tried to employ the chaotic energy of the so-called Arab Spring and organized campaigns to get the Egyptian government to urge the US to extradite Abdelrahman but their attempts failed.

Abdelrahman had sent a letter to Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi, who was a Muslim Brotherhood member, and congratulated him for winning the presidential elections. While delivering his first speech at Tahrir Square on June 29, 2012, Mursi announced he will do his best to release Abdelrahman.

In order to understand the gravity of the mistake to which Egypt was heading, let us remind of al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri’s latest speech when he spoke about Abdelrahman and praised him. Zawahiri denied Abdelrahman has backed down from what’s right, i.e. from his terrorist stance, and what’s meant is of course Al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya’s 1997 concept of revision.

The martyr weapon

In his speech entitled “carry the martyr’s weapon”, Zawahiri said Abdelrahman had sent him two letters from prison calling for targeting America and Israel, drowning their ships and downing their planes. Abdelrahman traveled to America after being imprisoned in Egypt for a few years on the Sadat case. He lived in New Jersey where he was arrested in 1993 and he was sentenced to life in prison for targeting the World Trade Center.

Omar Abdelrahman is the “sheikh” of terrorists in Egypt. There are other figures just like Abdelrahman who must be studied and examined in order to further delve into the mind of Islamized extremists. What’s good is that the statements, recordings and confessions of these men are all documented and they just await serious research.

Those who want to ignore all these facts about Abdelrahman and insist on presenting him as a mere “blind sheikh” with an opinion truly lack insight.

The article was first published in Asharq Al-Awsat.
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Saudi journalist Mshari Al Thaydi presents Al Arabiya News Channel’s “views on the news” daily show “Maraya.” He has previously held the position of a managing senior editor for Saudi Arabia & Gulf region at pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al-Awsat. Al Thaydi has published several papers on political Islam and social history of Saudi Arabia. He appears as a guest on several radio and television programs to discuss the ideologies of extremist groups and terrorists.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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