The Blind Sheikh is a doctor of Islamic jurisprudence graduated from al-Azhar University in Cairo, the seat of Sunni Islamic learning for over a millennium. His area of expertise is sharia — Islam’s legal code and societal framework.
The jihadists who listened to him did so because he is an internationally recognized authority in the political ideology that draws on Islamic scripture to inspire attacks against the West.
The centrality of ideology tells us why terrorists obeyed the Blind Sheikh. It tells us why terrorists act. This is something we must grasp if we have any hope of defending ourselves and defeating our enemies.
He was a a doctor of Islamic jurisprudence and he plotted jihad mass murder on a grand scale. There is a lesson in this for policymakers, but are any heeding it?
“Omar Abdel Rahman, ‘blind sheik’ convicted in 1993 World Trade Center attack, dies at 78,” by Matt Schudel, Washington Post, February 18, 2017:
Omar Abdel Rahman, the “blind sheik” and Egyptian spiritual leader who was convicted in the 1990s of being a mastermind of terrorist plots to bomb the World Trade Center and other U.S. landmarks, died Feb. 18 at a federal prison in Butner, N.C. He was 78.
Kenneth McKoy, an official of the Federal Correction Complex in Butner, confirmed the death to the Associated Press, saying the cause was diabetes and heart disease.
Abdel Rahman, who was blind from an early age, denounced secularism among other Muslims and, in the 1980s, built an alliance with al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden while living in Afghanistan. He led a militant group in Egypt before moving to the United States in 1990.
In 1993, a bombing of the World Trade Center left six people dead and more than 1,000 injured. Abdel Rahman was later arrested and charged with being the mastermind of that plot and others to blow up the United Nations, Holland Tunnel, George Washington Bridge and other landmarks….