A co-defendant in the trial of Lynne F. Stewart, a lawyer accused of aiding terrorism, worked with an associate of Osama bin Laden to draft an October 2000 call to Muslims worldwide to fight Jews and “kill them wherever they are,” the defendant’s lawyer acknowledged yesterday in court.
That sounds like a quote from the Qur’an, Sura 9:5, more commonly translated as “slay them wherever you find them.”
The lawyer, Kenneth Paul, conceded in his opening remarks to the jury that his client, Ahmed Abdel Sattar, had helped write the call, or fatwa, because he was angry about surging clashes at the time between the Israeli government and the Palestinians.
An astonishing defense. As if anything could justify a call to genocide.
Mr. Paul said the trial, being held in Federal District Court in Manhattan, would show that Mr. Sattar intended the message to be provocative but not “a terrorist statement.” The lawyer said, “It was never his intent for anyone to be killed.”
The fatwa was issued in the name of Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, a blind Muslim cleric who is serving a life sentence in an American prison for inspiring a terrorist conspiracy against the United States.
Yeah, it was never Sheikh Omar’s intent that anyone be killed. That’s why he had his followers leave such a small bomb in the World Trade Center in 1993.
Ms. Stewart, who was the sheik’s defense lawyer, is accused of helping him convey instructions to his followers in a militant group in Egypt to launch terrorist attacks.
Federal prosecutors have given Mr. Sattar, a Postal Service employee from Staten Island, a central place in their case against Ms. Stewart. They charge that Mr. Sattar, 45, was a liaison to Mr. Abdel Rahman’s most violent followers in Egypt and Afghanistan and through them to Al Qaeda.
They say Mr. Sattar laid plans with some of those followers to launch new terrorist attacks against the Egyptian government and sent messages through Ms. Stewart to Mr. Abdel Rahman to secure his approval from prison. The sheik is the spiritual leader of the Islamic Group, a militant Egyptian organization.