That set off a firestorm of unwanted fears on the U.S. right that theObama administration would be naïve enough to extradite SheikhOmar, the head of al-Gamma Islamiyya (the Islamic Group) one of
the world‘s most virulent terrorist organizations; responsible for the
bloody 1997 Luxor massacre in which fifty-eight tourists and fourEgyptians were murdered.
Still, in the bickering that turned the Sheik‘s purported exit into a
rallying point for Obama bashers, the full significance of Abdel-Rahman as a flashpoint for global terror has been lost. Further, thefailure by administration officials and critics to appreciate his key rolein the ongoing jihad could have deadly consequences in the future.
Today‘s anniversary of the Twin Towers bombing is an opportunity
for us to answer the question: just how dangerous is the blind Sheikh?
The Prince of Jihad
Blinded shortly after birth, Abdel-Rahmanhad memorized the Koran by the age of eleven. He earned a degree in Koranic studiesin 1972 from the Al Azhar University in Cairo, where he was influenced by the writingsSayyid Qutb, the Egyptian intellectual who was an ardent member of the MuslimBrotherhood. Founded in 1928, The
Brotherhood spawned two of Egypt‘s most violent terror sects: The
Islamic Group run by Sheikh Omar, and the Egyptian Islamic Jihadled by Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri. Both Abdel-Rahman and al-Zawahiri were jailed following the 1981assassination of Anwar Sadat and by separate routes, the two of thenfound their way to Afghanistan; al-Zawahiri aligning with Osama binLaden to form al Qaeda in 1988 and Sheikh Omar connecting withGulbuddin Hekmatyar, a warlord and future Taliban commander who became one of the conduits for the billions in U.S. covert military aidto the Mujahedeen.On his return to Egypt in 1990, the blind Sheikh was subjected tohouse arrest, but he escaped to the Sudan and despite his presence onmultiple watch-lists, succeeded in entering the U.S. in July, thanks, tohelp from the CIA for his aid in the secret Afghan arms campaign.