Two weeks ago, in an unofficial inauguration ceremony at Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt's new Muslim Brotherhood President Mohamed Mursi took off his mask of moderation. Before a crowd of scores of thousands, Mursi pledged to work for the release from US federal prison of Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman.
According to The New York Times' account of his speech, Mursi said, "I see signs [being held by members of the crowd] for Omar Abdel-Rahman and detainees' pictures. It is my duty and I will make all efforts to have them free, including Omar Abdel-Rahman."
Otherwise known as the blind sheikh, Abdel Rahman was the mastermind of the jihadist cell in New Jersey that perpetrated the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. His cell also murdered Rabbi Meir Kahane in New York in 1990. They plotted the assassination of then-president Hosni Mubarak. They intended to bomb New York landmarks including the Lincoln and Holland tunnels and the UN headquarters.
Rahman was the leader of Gama'a al-Islamia - the Islamic Group, responsible, among other things for the assassination of Anwar Sadat in 1981. A renowned Sunni religious authority, Rahman wrote the fatwa, or Islamic ruling, permitting Sadat's murder in retribution for his signing the peace treaty with Israel. The Islamic group is listed by the State Department as a specially designated terrorist organization.
After his conviction in connection with the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, Abdel-Rahman issued another fatwa calling for jihad against the US. After the September 11, 2001, attacks, Osama bin Laden cited Abdel-Rahman's fatwa as the religious justification for them.
By calling for Abdel-Rahman's release, Mursi has aligned himself and his government with the US's worst enemies. By calling for Abdel-Rahman's release during his unofficial inauguration ceremony, Mursi signaled that he cares more about winning the acclaim of the most violent, America-hating jihadists in the world than with cultivating good relations with America.
And in response to Mursi's supreme act of unfriendliness, US President Barack Obama invited Mursi to visit him at the White House.
Mursi is not the only Abdel Rahman supporter to enjoy the warm hospitality of the White House.
Caroline B. Glick is the senior Middle East fellow at the Center for Security Policy in Washington, D.C., and the deputy managing editor of The Jerusalem Post, where this article first appeared.
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