Egyptian President-Elect Wants Plotter Of First WTC Attack Freed
CAIRO — President-elect Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood pre-empted the military’s choreographed swearing-in ceremony by taking his oath of office a day early in a televised speech to hundreds of thousands of supporters in Tahrir Square on Friday. But his rousing tribute to Egyptian sovereignty may be overshadowed by a promise likely to complicate relations with the United States: to work for the release of the Egyptian-born Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, jailed for plotting to bomb a series of New York City landmarks.
The comments appeared to come almost offhandedly in the context of a vow to free Egyptian civilians imprisoned here after military trials during the transition after the ouster of Hosni Mubarak.
“I see signs for Omar Abdel Rahman and detainees’ pictures,” he said, referring to placards held by the crowd. “It is my duty and I will make all efforts to have them free, including Omar Abdel Rahman.”
Mr. Morsi then resumed his main themes about the sovereignty of the people, the importance of unity and fidelity to the goals of the Egyptian revolution. “We will continue as free rebels to achieve the rest of the demands,” he said.
The Muslim Brotherhood moved quickly to try to shift the focus of Mr. Morsi’s pledge, saying in a statement on its Web site that the goal was a potential humanitarian extradition to Egypt and that there was no attempt to question Mr. Abdel Rahman’s 1995 convictions for plotting terrorism against targets in the United States or Egypt.
The comments could deepen existing American suspicions of Mr. Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood, an 84-year-old Islamist group with a long history of opposition to the policies of both the United States and Israel. Mr. Morsi, in particular, has a record of strident attacks on Israel over its treatment of the Palestinians, and in an interview with Shadi Hamid of the Brookings Doha Center, Mr. Morsi once said he harbored suspicions that still unknown hidden hands played a role in the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center.
“When you come and tell me that the plane hit the tower like a knife in butter, then you are insulting us,” Mr. Morsi told Mr. Hamid, as he later reported in Foreign Policy. “How did the plane cut through the steel like this? Something must have happened from the inside. It’s impossible.” (Mr. Morsi earned a Ph.D. in materials science at the University of Southern California.)
Oh, so he’s a 9/11 Truther too? Isn’t that lovely.
Let me save President Obama from having to respond. President-Elect Morsi, not just no, but hell no.