Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Sheik Handed Life Sentence in Bomb Plot Judge Sentences Nine Others in `War of Urban Terrorism'

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Sheik Handed Life Sentence in Bomb Plot Judge Sentences Nine Others in `War of Urban Terrorism'

Article excerpt

Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman and nine followers got long prison sentences Wednesday for plotting to blow up the United Nations, FBI offices, highway tunnels and other landmarks in the New York area.

Prosecutors called the case a "war of urban terrorism" aimed at altering U.S. policy in the Middle East.

Abdel-Rahman, a militant Muslim cleric and the spiritual leader of the conspiracy, delivered a long, impassioned speech in Arabic before he was sentenced to life in prison without parole. The sheik argued, "This case is nothing but an extension of the American war against Islam."

Occasionally slapping the table with his hand, he also accused the judge of bias and said he had not committed any crime. "It is impossible for me to build a bomb or place it anywhere," said the gray-bearded sheik. "This is not the work of a man who preaches Islam."

U.S. District Court Judge Michael Mukasey disagreed, saying, "You were convicted of directing others to perform acts that would have resulted in the murder of hundreds, if not thousands of people, and brought about devastation on a scale that beggars the imagination, certainly on a scale unknown in this country since the Civil War."

Mukasey also sentenced El Sayyid Nosair to life in prison for his role in the bombing plot and for killing militant Rabbi Meir Kahane in a New York hotel in 1990.

"Because of the bombing of the World Trade Center, the government made up this case," Nosair complained. He was convicted under federal racketeering laws in the Kahane killing after being acquitted in state court of murder.

Nosair's cousin, Ibrahim A. El-Gabrowny, 45, was sentenced to 57 years for the conspiracy and other charges, including possession of bogus passports and visas intended to get Nosair out of the country following a jailbreak.

`I'm Not A Terrorist' Mohammed Saleh, 39, said he had come to the United States to finish college and earn money to raise five children. …

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