Sunday, February 27, 2011

From Egypt to 9/11

The Middle East is now in the midst of the Twitter and Facebook inspired revolutions that started in Africa. The first to go down was Tunisia’s Ben Ali in January 14, 2011 and followed by Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak less than a month after. Soon to follow is Libya’s Colonel Muamar Gadhafi. In between the three governments, there is the turmoil in Sudan, Bahrain and Yemen.

Going to Egypt, Vice President Hosni Mubarak became the President after his predecessor Anwar Sadat was assassinated by terrorists. Sadat was a prime mover of the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel and that infuriated the Jew hating Arab world. In fact, during Sadat’s funeral, only 3 out of 24 states sent representatives.

What surprises me about is something that not many people know. Sadat was assassinated after a Fatwa approving it was issued by a cleric named Omar Abdel-Rahman The cleric was acquitted of conspiracy charges related to the assassination.

I am not aware about the facts behind the trial but Abdel-Rahman was probably not convicted because a Fatwa can be argued as nothing more than any individual's interpretation of an Islamic law, just like any lawyer’s legal opinion.

The thing is, Abdel-Rahman was given a US Visa despite his inclusion in the terrorists watch list. Taking comfort in the fact that Arabic is largely foreign to Americans, he issued Fatwas calling for the destruction of the US.

“He traveled widely in the United States and Canada. Despite the U.S. support for the mujahideen in Afghanistan, Abdel-Rahman was deeply anti-American and spoke out against it, safe in the knowledge that he was speaking Arabic and unmonitored by any law enforcement agency. He issued a fatwa in America that declared lawful the robbing of banks and killing of Jews in America. His sermons condemned Americans as the "descendants of apes and pigs who have been feeding from the dining tables of the Zionists, Communists, and colonialists". He called on Muslims to assail the West, "cut the transportation of their countries, tear it apart, destroy their economy, burn their companies, eliminate their interests, sink their ships, shoot down their planes, kill them on the sea, air, or land.”
The end result is what we all know as a tragedy called 9/11. Abdel Rahman is now more popularly called the blind Sheik.