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Omar Abdel Rahman

Omar Abdel Rahman mugshot

The arrest of Omar Abdel Rahman:

This Egyptian Muslim cleric is known as the "blind sheik"…

Omar Abdel Rahman

…for his role in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center in New York City.

aftermath of world trade center bombing

Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman lost his eyesight as a youth, due to childhood diabetes, and studied a braille version of the Koran. After graduating in Qur'an studies from Al-Aznar University in Cairo, he was promptly imprisoned as an enemy of the government.

He spent three years in Egyptian jails, accused of issuing the fatwa, or legal opinion, to assassinate Egypt's leader. Although not convicted in the assassination of President Anwar Sadat…

conflict in Egypt

...he was expelled from Egypt following his acquittal.

Rahman lived in Afghanistan in the mid 1980's and in July, 1990, Abdel-Rahman went to New York City on a tourist visa, despite being included on a U.S State Department terrorist watch list.

Though his tourist visa was revoked that November, he was given a green card by immigration authorities in April 1991 in Newark, New Jersey and became the spiritual leader of terrorists staging attacks in Egypt.

After the 1993 World Trade Center bombing…

Time Magazine cover after World Trade Center bombing

…the FBI investigated Rahman and managed to record him issuing a fatwa for acts of violence against civilian targets in the United States, including the United Nation's headquarters and various bridges and tunnels in the New York City area.

was arrested on June 24, 1993 along with nine followers and convicted of seditious conspiracy.

Omar Abdel Rahman court sketch

He was sentenced to life in prison in 1996 and is serving his time at the Butner Federal Medical Center in North Carolina.

Efforts to gain his release have failed.

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