The mastermind behind the 1993 World Trade Center bombing has died in a U.S. prison. Omar Abdel-Rahem, who was known as “the Blind Sheikh’ was serving a life sentence for the attack, which killed 6 people and injured 1,000 more. Here’s 5 facts about the Egyptian-born terrorist.
1. He was blind from a very young age
Omar Abdel-Rahmen, AKA “The Blind Sheikh” lost his eyesight, due to complications from diabetes, when he was a young child growing up in a village alongside the Nile River in Egypt. His disability did not stand in the way of his studying however, as he learned braille, which he went on to use to study a specially adapted version of the Koran.
2. Long history of terror
Omar was accused of causing the death of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, following his assassination in 1981. The cleric was an outspoken critic of the politician and had issued a fatwa, calling for Sadat’s death, shortly prior to his murder. Omar was arrested and held in an Egyptian jail, where he claims he was tortured by being hung upside down, beaten with sticks and given electric shocks. He was eventually acquitted in 1990 and went into exile.
3. Entered into the USA under suspicious circumstances
Omar entered in to the USA in 1990, via a tourist visa that was granted to him in Sudan. U.S. authorities claimed that despite being on the State Department’s terror group list, Omar managed to get through immigration without issue, due to a computer error. However, they struggled to explain why he was later awarded a green card, allowing him permanent resident status. According to the NY Times, the cleric’s visa was approved by the CIA, whom he had worked closely with in Afghanistan when he was fighting the Soviet Union as a Mujahedin back in the 1980s.
4. Deadly legacy
Upon his arrival on US soil, Omar wasted no time getting down to business. He continued his hate speech and radical preaching in his new home town of Brooklyn, quickly building up a loyal following among fundamentalist Muslims in the states, in addition to maintaining a strong following throughout the Middle East. Abdel was linked to the 1990 murder of New York Rabbi Meir Kahane, the 1992 assassination of an Egyptian anti-fundamentalist writer, and various terrorist attacks on tourists in Egypt. He was also accused of plotting to kill Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak during a visit to the states in 1993, in addition to planning the murder of a Jewish legislator and a Jewish New York State Supreme Court justice.
5. Life in jail
Omar was facing deportation at the time of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Following the attack, he was rounded up, along with a group of his followers, and put on trial. Although he was never actually directly charged with carrying out the atrocity, he was convicted of conspiring with those who did. Abdel was also convicted of planning a “day of terror” in the USA, comprising of multiple assassinations, in addition to synchronized bombings of the UN headquarters, a major federal government facility in Manhattan and tunnels and a bridge linking New York City and New Jersey.
HollywoodLifers, what do you think about the deadly legacy that Omar Abdel-Rahmen left behind him? Let us know in comments beow!