Following are excerpts from an interview with Muhammad Omar Abdel Rahman, son of Omar Abdel Rahman, the blind sheik imprisoned in the U.S. The interview was posted on the Internet on January 22, 2013.
Muhammad Omar Abdel Rahman: We have taken all legal means [to free Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman], including demonstrations, conferences, and the issuing of demands. These are all peaceful means. After the fall of the Mubarak regime, we held several demonstrations, followed by a protest [opposite the U.S. embassy in Cairo] for a year and 4 months.
We issued many warnings that a lack of response to our peaceful demands might encourage some Jihadi groups, who view the imprisonment of an Islamic icon like Dr. Omar Abdel Rahman in the U.S. as a direct affront to Islam. As we saw, some youths in Algeria took several people hostage, and tried to exchange them for Dr. Omar Abdel Rahman and for the Pakistani doctor Aafia Siddiqui.
We say: America should be held accountable for the actions of these groups. America got itself into this mess by kidnapping and imprisoning Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, followed by the kidnapping of Sheik Tal’at Fu’ad Qasim, of Abu Omar in Italy, and of Ahmad Salama in Azerbaijan. They were all kidnapped after President Bill Clinton made a decision, in 1993, to allow the CIA to kidnap these men, to interrogate them, and then extradite them to their countries.
Indeed, Sheik Tal’at Fu’ad Qasim was extradited to Egypt, where he was executed. The same is true of Ahmad Al-Naggar, who was kidnapped in Albania, and executed in Egypt. America should be held accountable for all these cases. It is America that proves, both directly and indirectly, that peaceful methods do not work with it. These guys undoubtedly wanted justice to be done, and that is why they carried out their actions.
We, Al-Gama’a Al-Islamiyya, the Building and Development Party, and all those associated with it, employ peaceful means. We call upon America and hope that it will respond to our demands, and will release Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman.
Interviewer: Is there any coordination between Al-Gama’a Al-Islamiyya and the kidnappers [in Algeria]?
Muhammad Omar Abdel Rahman: We, in the family and in Al-Gama’a Al-Islamiyya, operate in certain ways. Naturally, there is no coordination. Those guys are full of enthusiasm, but we have no connection or communication with them.