Demise of Omar Abdul Rahman

Edward Helmore reports in the Guardian, ‘. . . The Egyptian cleric died of natural causes at the Federal Medical Center, Butner, part of a federal prison compound in Butner, North Carolina, according to spokesman Greg Norton. He had been incarcerated at the Federal Correctional Complex, Butner, for nearly 10 years and struggled with diabetes and coronary artery disease . . . in 1991 when Abdel-Rahman was given a green card and permanent US resident status. The New York Times reported the CIA had approved the visa application for Abdel-Rahman, who had supported the anti-Soviet mujahedin in Afghanistan during the 1980s. In the US, Abdel-Rahman established a following among Muslims in Brooklyn and New Jersey while maintaining influence across the Middle East . . . In 1995, government prosecutors accused Abdel-Rahman of plotting a series of assassinations and synchronized bombings, including attacks on the United Nations headquarters, a federal government building in Manhattan as well as tunnels and a bridge linking New York City and New Jersey. At his sentencing, Abdel-Rahman claimed he had committed no crime “except telling people about Islam”. click here.

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Although he became blind in infancy, Abdul Rahman learned Braille and achieved hifz of the Quran at a tender age of 11. He graduated from Al-Azhar in Cairo with the highest honours and went onto complete a PhD on the Muslim duty of Jihad, a controversial topic which could have led many to fear persecution. In his mosque sermons he would openly criticise the evil practices of the Egyptian leaders of his time and encouraged people to stand up against them. Abdul Rahman was arrested and tortured on more than one occasion in Egypt during the times of Gamal Abdel Nasser and Anwar Sadat. He was also a strong proponent of Sunni-Shia unity. click here.

Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un.