Jamada al-Awwal 6, 1425/ June 26, 2004 #73
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AHMED 'ABDEL SATTAR is NOT A TERRORIST. HE IS BEING TRIED FOR THE WORDS HE
SPOKE against the
[June 23, 2004. Br. Ahmed's defense attorney Paul spoke to the jury.
Please read carefully. It's an important statement not only of Br. Ahmed's
innocence but of the factual situation in Egypt. Ignore the numbers as it
is excerpted from court transcript.]
So what is this case about and what will the evidence
5 show? It is really a case about words. My client, Ahmed Abdel
6 Sattar, has been charged with very serious crimes based on
7 words that were spoken by him and others. Your job will be a
8 very difficult one because you will have to determine what was
9 my client's intent when he spoke those words. The government's
10 evidence will consist primarily of conversations between my
11 client and others, and it is from those conversations the
12 government will argue their case.
13 The reason we are here today, what brings us to this
14 very courtroom, is that my client has already spoken. He has
15 told this court he is not guilty of these crimes. And I submit
16 to you that after you have heard and had a chance to evaluate
17 the evidence or lack of evidence, you, too, will reach that
19 Though we all spent a very long time selecting you,
20 and you have each assured us that you will be fair and
21 impartial, as I stand here today I am very nervous; not just
22 because this is an important trial with much at stake for my
23 client, because it is that; but also because I recognize that
24 even though you have been told and will be told again by Judge
25 Koeltl that the government has the burden of proof throughout
1 this trial. The burden of proof remains at this table, the
2 government's table. It never moves over to this table. There
3 is no burden of proof by any defendant to have to prove
4 anything to you. And this is because my client, Mr. Sattar, as
5 he sitting here right now, is presumed innocent, and that
6 presumption of innocence remains with him as we sit here today,
7 as we sit here through the many months we will sit and listen
8 to evidence, as we sit here and listen to the summations, as we
9 sit here and listen to Judge Koeltl's instructions at the end
10 of the case. He is protected by that presumption of innocence
11 and it remains with him throughout, even at the time that you
12 get up to go into that jury room to begin your deliberations.
13 And it is only until and unless you are all satisfied that the
14 government has in fact established beyond a reasonable doubt
15 each element of each charge with regard to Mr. Sattar, and
16 then, and only then, is that presumption perhaps shattered.
17 And that is the law. And though that is the law, my
18 nervousness and fear stems from the reality of today's world,
19 which does not lend itself to people being very objective or
20 fair once they hear some of the words and names, you are going
21 to hear at this trial. Some of these you have already heard in
22 the government's opening remarks yesterday morning. Some of
23 them were even mentioned by Mr. Tigar in his opening remarks.
24 Quite simply, the mere mention of certain words or names
25 understandably make -- cause you to feel such anger or
1 discomfort that you may even flinch when you hear some of these
2 words and names. And you are going to have to fight against
3 those reactions if you are to truly fulfill your oath as a
4 juror and evaluate the evidence in an impartial, fair, and
5 objective way.
6 Words, places and names you will hear in no particular
7 order throughout this trial, words such as Jihad, Muslim,
8 terrorist or terrorism, the Islamic Group, fatwah, Sheikh, Abu
9 Sayyaf, the U.S.S. Cole, Luxor terrorist attack, World Trade
10 Center, Osama Bin Laden. Given the daily events of terrorism
11 around the world, which is all we read and hear about in the
12 papers and on TV, certainly since 9/11, you must not allow the
13 mere mention of these words and names to impair your ability to
14 be fair and impartial. We live in fear that something dreadful
15 might happen again to us here in the United States. This is
16 only normal.
17 However, as normal as that may be, you cannot allow
18 that fear to cloud your ability to objectively evaluate this
19 case. And as difficult as that may be, as we all sit in here
20 inside this courtroom that once was the very shadow of the
21 World Trade Center, you have been chosen to serve on this jury
22 because each of you, each and every one of you have assured us
23 that you will abide by the oath you took and be able to do just
24 that. We become a nation confronting an enemy that's
25 everywhere and nowhere. Our vulnerability has caused us all to
1 change, and we recognize that.
2 And, consequently, our government has been going after
3 those it sees as its enemy. Rest assured, ladies and
4 gentlemen, this man, Ahmed Abdel Sattar, is no enemy of the
5 United States. He is certainly not a terrorist. Nothing could
6 be further from the truth.
7 As you've already heard from the government, the
8 evidence in this case will include interceptions made by the
9 government of all of my client's telephone conversations,
10 e-mails and faxes for how long? Seven years. Seven years.
11 This resulted in approximately 90,000 interceptions of my
12 client. From these 90,000 interceptions you are going to hear
13 just a few, or at least a relatively small number from which
14 the government alleges has formed the charges in this case
15 against my client. It is for the most part based upon these
16 conversations that the government has charged Ahmed Abdel
17 Sattar with the following offenses: Conspiracy to defraud the
18 United States, conspiracy to kill and kidnap persons in a
19 foreign country, solicitation of crimes of violence. The
20 reason these charges sound so serious is because they are.
21 But when I tell you that this is a case about words
22 and nothing more, that is because as serious and violent as
23 these crimes sound, rest assured, there will not be any
24 evidence and not even one allegation by the government that
25 anything, that anything ever happened to anyone as a direct
1 result of anything my client ever said or did.
2 Having said that, however, let me caution you, ladies
3 and gentlemen, that you are indeed going to hear evidence of
4 violence during this trial. And you got a bit of that from the
5 government's opening yesterday. There will be evidence of
6 violence regarding hostages who were held by a rebel group in
7 the Philippines. This group calls itself Abu Sayyaf. And in
8 or about March of 2000, it issued a long list of demands.
9 There were many demands. And these demands were issued on the
10 Philippine government in return for the release of the hostages
11 they were holding. And included on this very long list of
12 demands for the release of these hostages was a demand for
13 Sheikh Rahman to be released from prison here in the United
14 States. That is the connection of that incident to this case.
15 You will also hear evidence of violence concerning the
16 killing and wounding of many tourists at an archeological site
17 in Luxor, Egypt on November 17, 1997. In determining the
18 connection and importance of that incident to this case, keep
19 in mind that this act of brutal violence -- and it was an act
20 of brutal violence -- took place four months after there had
21 been a call for peace by the Islamic Group with the Egyptian
22 government. And this so-called peace initiative was supported
23 by Sheikh Rahman. If this is alleged to have in fact been done
24 by the Islamic Group, then I submit to you it was clearly done
25 by some splintered group operating on its own without authority
1 from anyone.
2 The government will also present evidence of violence
3 concerning the bombing of the United States naval vessel, the
4 U.S.S. Cole. This took place in Yemen on October 12, 2000 and
5 resulted in the death of many U.S. crew members, as well as the
6 wounding of several U.S. crew members.
7 What is the connection of this bombing to this case,
8 you may ask? Let me tell you. The only connection the U.S.S.
9 Cole has to this case is a phone call that Sattar received on
10 October 25, 2000 from an individual you have already heard
11 about and you will be hearing about during this trial, Rifa'i
12 Ahmad Taha Musa, or simply Taha. In this conversation Taha
13 told Sattar that he had reported -- had heard it reported that
14 one of the people responsible for the bombing involving the
15 U.S.S. Cole was an Egyptian male. What Taha wanted to know was
16 if this information could be utilized in any way for purposes
17 of negotiating with the U.S. Government in gaining better
18 prison conditions for Sheikh Rahman.
19 Taha apparently believed that if it could be suggested
20 that this incident somehow occurred as a reaction to the severe
21 prison conditions of the Sheikh, then perhaps the U.S.
22 Government would indeed reevaluate the Sheikh's severe prison
23 restrictions. Sattar told Taha that he had absolutely no way
24 of knowing whether this information could be utilized in any
25 way. But what he tells Taha is, he says, listen, I will pass
1 this along to one of the lawyers representing the Sheikh;
2 specifically, Ramsey Clark. I'll pass it along to Mr. Clark
3 and let him decide whether this can be utilized in any way in
4 negotiating with the government concerning Sheikh Rahman's
5 prison conditions.
6 As it turns out, Sattar never does pass this
7 information along to Ramsey Clark. In fact, the evidence will
8 show that nothing thereafter regarding the U.S.S. Cole was ever
9 discussed or happens until nine months later, on July 13, 2001,
10 when the conversation that Sattar had had with Taha is conveyed
11 to the Sheikh during a prison visit. That, ladies and
12 gentlemen, is the entire extent of any connection of the U.S.S.
13 Cole to this case. It is nothing but talk.
14 In fact, the government will admit and the Court will
15 so instruct you at the appropriate time that with respect to
16 the Abu Sayyaf kidnapping of hostages, with respect to the
17 Luxor killings, with respect to the U.S.S. Cole bombing, there
18 is no allegation that my client had anything to do with or
19 participated in any way in any of these events. Once again,
20 let me make this perfectly clear. The evidence will show that
21 in fact there are no victims who the government will refer to
22 and say, ladies and gentlemen, these people are the victims
23 caused by what Mr. Sattar said or did. That's not going to
24 happen. The government does not claim that Ahmed Abdel Sattar
25 or anyone else on his behalf ever caused harm to anyone, or
1 that any of his conversations or actions resulted in injury to
3 What it comes down to is that my client is charged
4 with intending or agreeing with others through his
5 communications that violence should occur. In fact, ladies and
6 gentlemen, the evidence will show that Mr. Sattar never had any
7 such intent. So what you as the jurors will have to decide,
8 after you have listened to all of the evidence in this case,
9 is, what was Ahmed Abdel Sattar's actual intent or state of
10 mind during these many conversations? How do you determine
11 what's intent based upon conversations or words that were used?
12 I submit to you, ladies and gentlemen, that in order
13 for you to be able to make a factual determination of the true
14 intent of my client when you listen to any communications he
15 may have had, you will have to ask yourself and evaluate two
16 important things. First, you will have to place these
17 intercepted communications in context. This means you will
18 have to evaluate the circumstances surrounding the
19 conversations at the time they were made. And, second, you
20 will have to evaluate and understand the person himself, his
21 background, his political and religious beliefs, who is this
22 person, Ahmed Abdel Sattar? What is he about? During this
23 trial we will attempt to show you both, who Ahmed Abdel Sattar
24 really is and in what context these intercepted conversations
25 were made.
1 Let's start with what the evidence will show about my
2 client. Unless you know who he is, where he comes from, what
3 makes him tick, you really cannot evaluate or begin to
4 understand his true intentions based only on his reported
6 He was barn in Cairo, Egypt in 1959, where several of
7 his immediate family still reside. In 1979 to 1981, he served
8 in the Egyptian army, which is the only time, I might add, he
9 ever possessed a weapon. He lived in Egypt until he came to
10 New York on a tourist visa and settled in Brooklyn in 1982. He
11 thereafter met and married his wife Lisa, an American citizen
12 who was born and raised in this country. She grew up in a
13 catholic home. And in 1993, she converted to the Muslim faith.
14 He and his wife have four children together and they currently
15 live in Staten Island. In 1985, he received his U.S. residence
16 card and in 1989 he became a United States citizen.
17 In 1988, Mr. Sattar began working at the U.S. Post
18 Office where he worked right up until the day he was arrested
19 in April 2002, which, I might add, is the only time he has ever
20 been arrested in his life.
21 Contrary to the government's argument and the serious
22 charges brought against Sattar, he is not a man of violence,
23 and everything he ever did was done in the open. His life was
24 an open book for you to see, for me to see, for them to see.
25 You will see from that and hear from his many interviews he had
1 with the press that what Sattar knew from living in this
2 country for many years was that if you wanted to make your
3 case, which for him was to make people aware of the horrific
4 conditions suffered every day in Egypt, as well as the American
5 government's terrible policies toward the Middle East, then you
6 had to do what I referred to as work the press. This means he
7 had to continue to be available to the press and make his
8 position known. He did this time and time again.
9 You will learn from his many interviews with the press
10 that Sattar's position regarding violence and terrorism is very
11 clear. He personally condemns terrorist acts of violence. In
12 fact, he condemns all killing, doesn't matter where it happens.
13 He believes that killing innocent people is not a solution for
14 anything. Does he sympathize, however, with those who
15 represent armed opposition? Yes. But only if it is in
16 self-defense to those who oppress the helpless, such as the
17 Egyptian government with its own people, and then only if
18 negotiations fail.
19 Is he saddened that America is no longer viewed in the
20 eyes of the Islamic world as it once was, namely, the oasis for
21 democracy and hope? Yes. Is he opposed to the American
22 government's policies when it comes to support for Egypt,
23 Israel and the Middle East? Yes. Do his politics and his
24 opposition to America's policies toward Egypt, Israel, and the
25 Middle East cause him to want any harm to come to this country?
1 No. Never.
2 You have already heard a great deal about Sheikh Omar
3 Abdel Rahman, and much of the evidence in this case will have
4 to do with the Sheikh. In fact, as I recall, Mr. Morvillo in
5 his opening, the very first thing he did yesterday, put the
6 picture of the Sheikh right up on that screen. Therefore, to
7 fully understand my client it is also important for you to have
8 some understanding of how and why was my client drawn to Sheikh
9 Omar Abdel Rahman. What was it about the Sheikh that attracted
10 Sattar to him? The evidence will show that Sheikh Rahman, like
11 Sattar, is Egyptian. He was considered by many Egyptians to be
12 very brave simply because he did not fear speaking out against
13 the cruel treatment of millions of Egyptians by the Egyptian
1 He didn't just express his opposition to the
2 government of Egypt in general terms by talking of the terrible
3 poverty and living conditions of millions of Egyptian citizens.
4 But he spoke out against the corruption of the government
5 itself and lectured on how Muslims should revolt against the
6 oppressor. To the sheikh that meant Nasser, Sadat or Mubarak.
7 And for the reason being they failed their own people.
8 Sheikh Rahman was a clerk, an Imam, or leader of
9 prayer, and an Islamic religious scholar. Sattar, a very
10 religious man himself, related to the sheikh's criticism of the
11 Egyptian government. He too views it as a government which
12 refuses basic rights for individuals who simply may oppose or
13 speak out against the inequalities that the government
14 encourages. Those who dare to speak out are rewarded in most
15 cases with imprisonment without any trial or opportunity to
16 defend oneself. And then ultimately the worse imaginable
17 prison conditions and torture.
18 And that, ladies and gentlemen, is for those who are
19 fortunate enough not to simply be killed or disappear without a
20 trace never to be heard from again.
21 Sattar was living in the United States for many years
22 before the sheikh came here on a tourist visa in 1990. And
23 since Sattar was born and lived in Egypt until he was 23 years
24 old, it is not surprising that he had not only heard of the
25 sheikh but admired him from afar. Sattar's own politics stem
1 from growing up in Egypt under one dictatorship after another
2 and seeing firsthand how the people have no hope for a better
4 Here in the United States he was politically
5 frustrated that the U.S. government would think only of Egypt
6 as an ally and friend since it is seen as a more moderate
7 Arabic country than some of its neighbors. To Sattar, however,
8 it is a country he loves but has always been governed by an
9 oppressive government. Everything about Sattar's politics --
10 everything -- is directed at wanting to see change in Egypt.
11 And it was for this reason he looked to the sheikh as a symbol
12 and a spokesman for that very possibility. If any of his
13 politics is directed towards the United States, it is only as
14 it pertains to the United States foreign policy towards the
15 Middle East. He is a U.S. citizen who loves this country --
16 his country -- deeply. The fact that he may disagree with its
17 policies does not lessen his love for it.
18 So it was this admiration for the sheikh's politics
19 toward Egypt, coupled with Sattar's own Islamic activism, that
20 caused him to attend the sermons given by the sheikh at
21 different mosques here in New York City and New Jersey. When
22 the sheikh was arrested in 1993 and faced various charges in
23 this court, Sattar was approved by the court to work as a
24 paralegal, along with other paralegals, to assist several
25 lawyers who represented the sheikh.
1 One of the lawyers he met and worked with during this
2 time period was his co-defendant in this case, Lynne Stewart.
3 Another lawyer he worked with in assisting the sheikh was
4 Ramsey Clark who, as you heard several times, was the U.S.
5 Attorney general during the Lyndon Johnson administration.
6 Sattar also met at this time his other co-defendant,
7 Mohammed Yousry, a translator who also worked on the sheikh's
8 case. Both Sattar's closeness and belief in some, but
9 certainly not all -- and I emphasize "not all" -- of the
10 sheikh's opinions continued even after the sheikh was convicted
11 and sentenced to life imprisonment. To this day Sattar firmly
12 believes that the sheikh was unjustly convicted for the crimes
13 he was charged with.
14 As early as 1997, when the sheikh had already been
15 placed in solitary confinement in a special housing unit in
16 prison, he expressed his wishes to those who were working on
17 his case. What he wanted was a committee to be formed to
18 monitor his case, letters to be sent to both politicians and
19 newspapers, and for press releases issued to the media.
20 Whatever role Sattar found himself in after the sheikh was
21 tried and convicted was not one that he sought. It was thrust
22 upon him simply due to both his closeness to the sheikh as a
23 paralegal on his case and working on his case, and a believer
24 in the sheikh's courage against Egypt.
25 He attempted to satisfy the sheikh's wishes. He
1 helped form a committee to monitor the sheikh's case and gather
2 support for the sheikh even after he was convicted. This had
3 several purposes. One was to lobby and pressure prison
4 officials for better conditions of confinement for the sheikh.
5 This was necessary since the sheikh had been placed under the
6 most restrictive and severe conditions imaginable. He had been
7 segregated from other inmates and placed in solitary
8 confinement and was eventually cutoff completely from the
9 outside world and any contact with all visitors except his
11 Another purpose for the committee was simply to
12 attempt to keep the sheikh's name out there in the public
13 arena, both in the press as well as the Islamic world. It was
14 important to Sattar that the sheikh not be forgotten simply
15 because he was in prison. He felt it was his duty and
16 obligation that the sheikh's voice continued to be heard
17 throughout the Islamic community. This was important because
18 it was Sattar's belief that the sheikh was one of the few
19 remaining Arab leaders whose voice should not be silenced.
20 All of this required Sattar to play what I describe as
21 rough politics. He did this by becoming a demonstrator, a
22 communicator, and press secretary, all on behalf of the sheikh.
23 Clearly, ladies and gentlemen, Sattar was not, never
24 was, was never looked at or viewed as a policy maker. He was
25 never a decision-maker, or even, I might add, ever a member of
1 this group you have heard about referred to as the Islamic
3 However, having been placed in this role he found
4 himself communicating with individuals he had never
5 communicated with before or for that matter to this date ever
6 met. And from those communications the government has brought
7 these charges. Of course, being Egyptian and a political
8 activist Sattar was very familiar with the Islamic Group and
9 its movement for change within Egypt. He also knew that the
10 sheikh was one of the religious and spiritual leaders for the
11 Islamic Group.
12 So what is the Islamic Group? The Islamic Group was
13 one of many such groups within Egypt that had fought for many
14 years for change. Since its inception in the late 1970s until
15 the present, all of its activities and actions were exclusively
16 focused on and targeted toward the Egyptian regime. But by the
17 time the sheikh was incarcerated the Islamic Group was a
18 movement whose leadership was scattered over three different
19 continents in and out of prisons. It was an organization that
20 by 1997 was splintered and confused.
21 These factions and contradictions arose within the
22 various members in a power struggle over questions of the peace
23 initiative, whether or not they should attempt to become a
24 political party, and how the Islamic Group should communicate
25 and negotiate, if indeed at all, with the Mubarak government.
1 Due to Sattar's initial role as a paralegal for the
2 sheikh he communicated with many different individuals who
3 represented these varying factions. He became a messenger for
4 the sheikh. These individuals reached out to him, not the
5 other way around. Because they knew he was in contact with the
6 sheikh and the sheikh's lawyers. It was through these many
7 communications that he also came to speak with one of the more
8 militant individuals connected with the Islamic Group, this man
9 Taha. Like the others who reached out to Sattar, Taha was an
10 individual he had never previously spoken with or met.
11 Certainly not a friend as described yesterday by the
13 Let me take this moment once again to caution you. As
14 I indicated earlier, your true challenge, I think, in this case
15 is not to allow your emotions to get in the way of your being
16 objective and impartial. I say this now because in fact, as
17 you heard yesterday, you will hear about a statement issued by
18 Osama Bin Laden and signed by Taha and others in 1998 calling
19 for Muslims to kill Americans. It was a statement, I might
20 add, which the leaders of the Islamic Group both denounced and
21 criticized Taha for having supported. They felt it distracted
22 from their true enemy, the Egyptian government, and only caused
23 more problems for openly opposing America.
24 You will also see a videotape that was broadcast in
25 September of 2000. In this tape Taha is seen along with Osama
1 Bin Laden and others where they, like others before and others
2 after them, called for the release of Sheikh Rahman. Again, I
3 implore you not to let the mere mention or even in this case
4 viewing of Osama Bin Laden prejudice your ability to
5 objectively evaluate the evidence as it pertains to Sattar.
6 That Sattar had contact with many different individuals,
7 including Taha, who was more extreme than others, says nothing
8 about his own beliefs and certainly nothing about his intent.
9 Don't allow yourself to apply guilt against Sattar simply by
10 those he associated and spoke with. In other words, avoid the
11 trap of guilt by association, because it's such an easy and
12 unfair trap to fall into.
13 I told you some of what you will learn about the
14 person of Ahmed Abdel Sattar, as well as how he came to be
15 communicating with others, in order to assist you in
16 determining the intent behind these words that you are going to
17 hear, but, as I said, you will also have an opportunity through
18 the evidence in this case to evaluate and form an understanding
19 of his intent by putting his conversations in context of what
20 was happening at the time they took place.
21 As with any conversation, you cannot just look at the
22 literal meaning of the spoken words to determine one's true
23 intent. You have to look behind and beyond the words
24 themselves. This is true of the communications my client had
25 involving the fatwah, the peace initiative, and the efforts to
1 assist an individual in Egypt, which we also heard about
2 yesterday -- Atia.
3 Let's start with the fatwah.
4 To simply look at the words alone, there is absolutely
5 no way to describe them except to say they are hateful and they
6 are ugly. I don't believe anyone would disagree with that.
7 But in what context were they used? When were they used? Why
8 was this statement issued in the name of the sheikh? What was
9 Sattar's true intent, meaning, and purpose in assisting Taha in
10 writing this fatwah or statement? Was it something done and
11 expressed in the heat of the moment?
12 The evidence will show that this statement was issued
13 in early October 2000. It was not issued in a vacuum of world
14 events. Since many of you may not recall the news events being
15 reported during this time of what was happening in Israel, let
16 me remind you.
17 On September 28, 2000, Ariel Sharon, who at that time
18 was the hardline head of Israel's parliamentary opposition,
19 made an extraordinary visit to Jerusalem's holiest site, the
20 compound around al-Aqsa Mosque. This was considered by many in
21 the Muslim world to be nothing more than a provocation. It was
22 clearly done to provoke and instigate a reaction on the part of
23 the Palestinians, and it achieved its goal. There were, in
24 fact, demonstrations.
25 It was also during this time on October 2, 2000, that
1 a French cameraman captured shocking footage which was
2 continually broadcast over the TV day in and day out. I am
3 sure many of you may actually remember those vivid images very
4 well. It was footage of a 12-year-old Palestinian boy being
5 protected by his father who was hovering over him against a
6 wall, pleading with those who were shooting, and in this case
7 it was the Israeli soldiers shooting at the Palestinians who
8 were demonstrating, and he was against this wall hovered over,
9 pleading, putting his hands up telling them to stop. And the
10 footage went on and it showed not only the shooting of the
11 father but the killing of that 12-year-old boy.
12 It was during this time period, and in this context,
13 that conversations were intercepted between Taha and Sattar.
14 In these conversations you will hear how Sattar expressed
15 sadness over what had happened in Israel. He was also upset
16 that even though the Palestinian people and Islamic community
17 around the world were demonstrating against what was happening,
18 there were no so-called Arab leaders speaking out and
19 expressing their own outrage over these incidents.
20 You will learn that Sattar is a firm believer that
21 when atrocities are committed against his people, the great
22 leaders should stand and speak out, stand strong and speak out
23 against such actions. You will also hear how he felt that the
24 Arab world community was abandoned by their leaders during this
25 time. It was clear to Sattar that it was his duty to have the
1 sheikh respond to what was happening in Israel, whether in jail
2 and isolated from the world or not.
3 So when Taha called Sattar and tells him that he wants
4 to write a statement in the name of the sheikh to respond to
5 the news and he asks Sattar if he would edit it and assist him,
6 Sattar agrees. Taha then writes this statement, or fatwah, in
7 the name of the sheikh and sends it to Sattar to review, which
8 Sattar does. He changes the title of this statement to make it
9 clear that it is directed at the Israelis, and then he sends it
10 out for it to be issued on a Web site.
11 To Sattar this statement simply represented a way to
12 get the people talking and wake the Arab leaders up to at least
13 speak out regarding what was happening to the Palestinian
14 people. He never, ever, considered this statement to be either
15 a solicitation of violence or a terrorist statement. To him it
16 was only a statement to defend those who were being trampled on
17 by Israel. It was an attempt to show those who were being
18 oppressed that there were leaders still out there, such as
19 Sheikh Rahman, who had not forgotten them.
20 Were the words terrible? Absolutely. But what was
21 Sattar's true purpose and intent in agreeing to assist in the
22 writing of this statement? It was done to have the sheikh's
23 voice heard during a major world event. It was also Sattar's
24 own reaction in the heat of the moment to the silence of other
25 Arab leaders for not speaking out on behalf of those who have
1 no voice of their own.
2 It clearly was never his intent for anyone to be
3 killed. It is also clear that it was received in the Islamic
4 community the way it was intended. It provided the sheikh's
5 voice to the debate against Israel's policy toward the
6 Palestinians and people in fact demonstrated and spoke out. It
7 was not issued for any other purpose than this and it certainly
8 was not issued by Sattar with the intent on his part to either
9 conspire to kill or to solicit violence.
10 Let me talk about what the evidence will show
11 concerning the peace initiative.
12 What was the peace initiative? The initiative was
13 pronounced by the Islamic Group on July 5, 1997. It was the
14 Islamic Group's attempt to negotiate in peace with the Egyptian
15 government. It was an attempt to gain something in return for
16 taking the position that the Islamic Group would negotiate in
17 good faith and through peaceful means. What they wanted to
18 achieve was a positive response from the Egyptian government.
19 They had hoped that in return for this peace
20 initiative the Egyptian government would release prisoners who
21 were being held without ever having been afforded due process
22 or, at a minimum, they wanted better treatment for those who
23 were being held in the dungeons of the Egyptian prisons. Years
24 went by with the initiative in place and nothing really
25 significant ever happening by way of a response from the
1 Egyptian government. In fact, in late 1999, four members of
2 the Islamic Group were murdered by the Egyptian government and
3 it appeared, to some at least, that the peace initiative was
4 not working and in its existing form.
5 What developed thereafter were different positions
6 from many individuals. Ultimately this resulted in at least
7 two different factions that differed on how to best negotiate
8 with the Egyptian government. One faction was located from
9 within Egypt and it had contact with the prisoners themselves.
10 They wanted to continue to negotiate the way they had been for
11 years. This faction realized that even though there had been
12 very little progress and change on the part of the Egyptian
13 government, certainly toward the prisoners, certainly in
14 releasing them, giving them better conditions, however, they
15 were fearful that the government would retaliate against the
16 prisoners if there was a breakdown in negotiations.
17 The other faction located outside of Egypt felt the
18 Islamic Group should take more of a hardline position. In
19 other words, they believed that unless the Egyptian authorities
20 began to do something to show their good faith, such as the
21 release of prisoners, better prison conditions, or at least due
22 process for new prisoners, then why should they continue to
23 take a peaceful approach?
24 This other faction believed in negotiating with the
25 Egyptian government from a position of strength. Like in any
1 negotiations between two parties, it was their belief that even
2 if they were incapable or had the ability to do this they
3 should at least let the Egyptian government believe that they
4 might very well.
5 In other words, the Egyptian government need not know
6 that they had not the ability or capability. And those who
7 felt this way, like Taha, believed that the government would
8 never do anything unless there was this concern or fear on
9 their part. And though this group also accepted the initiative
10 in principle, they refused to offer it free of charge to the
11 Egyptian government. In other words, they refused to endorse
12 the initiative unconditionally and without benefits in return
13 for the Islamic Group and others. They felt the initiative had
14 hurt, not helped, the Islamic Group and that the Islamic Group,
15 as well as the prisoners, would have been better off if the
16 initiative was implemented in stages.
17 They believed that unless they negotiated from a
18 position of at least potential strength the Egyptian government
19 would never respond. Why should it? They had nothing to fear
20 and it wasn't exactly in the government's interest to release
21 those who they believed were working against its very
22 existence. This is what Sattar was facing when he talked with
23 Taha and others about the initiative.
24 You will hear from Sattar's conversations with the
25 sheikh's son, and others, that he was simply pushed into this
1 role and placed in the middle of these different factions. He
2 did, however, feel very strongly that all viewpoints should be
3 heard and presented to the sheikh. What Taha wanted was simply
4 not to be shut out by those who felt differently. He also
5 wanted support from the sheikh so that he would not be ignored.
6 Sattar simply felt that Taha's position should at least be
7 heard because he too felt the peace initiative was not working.
8 Sattar believed that based on history at least the
9 Egyptian government would only negotiate out of fear of
10 possible military actions.
11 That doesn't mean, ladies and gentlemen, that he
12 believed or had any such intentions that military or violent
13 acts should actually be carried out or that the Islamic Group
14 should return to the days of violence. It simply meant that
15 the Islamic Group should negotiate by putting more pressure on
16 the Egyptian government and renegotiate from a position of
17 strength, even if in reality the Islamic Group had absolutely
19 Sattar was asked to find out what the sheikh's
20 position was on this matter and at least support the idea that
21 Taha's position be considered -- nothing more, nothing less.
22 And that is all Sattar attempted to do by communicating with
23 the sheikh about the initiative.
24 That brings me to another subject of this indictment
25 which you will be asked to consider as well, as mentioned by
1 Mr. Morvillo yesterday. This has to do with an individual
2 named Atia. There are several conversations between Sattar and
3 individuals in Egypt regarding this man Atia that take place
4 over several months. This isn't just one or two conversations
5 contained within a few weeks. Sattar found himself connecting
6 Taha and others with those inside of Egypt who were allies of
7 Atia and were trying to help him get out of the country and
8 away from the Egyptian authorities.
9 The evidence will show that Sattar attempted to do
10 nothing more than assist Atia in escaping from Egypt. He did
11 not even know who this person was at first -- this person who
12 was trying to get out. All he came to realize was that Atia
13 was a fellow Egyptian in need of help. If Taha had any
14 additional agenda beyond wanting to communicate his own point
15 of view to Atia, Sattar did not share in that agenda. Sattar's
16 only concern was to help a brother get out of Egypt.
17 It certainly was no secret to Sattar that if anyone
18 was a fugitive from the Egyptian authorities he was in grave
19 danger if caught. The result would be torture and/or death.
20 And it was for this reason, and this reason alone, that Sattar
21 assisted in providing the communication link for Atia to others
22 in attempting to flee Egypt. Tragically, as it turned out,
23 Sattar's worst fears were realized. Atia was in fact captured
24 and killed by the Egyptian police on October 18, 2000. Sattar
25 understandably was devastated because he felt responsible. It
1 was his belief at the time that the Egyptian authorities had
2 somehow intercepted his communications with Atia and his allies
3 and, consequently, were able to track him down.
4 It is interesting to note that the only evidence in
5 this case where anyone -- anyone -- is ever a victim during
6 either the time period that the government maintains was a
7 conspiracy to kill or kidnap or the conspiracy to solicit
8 violence was the killing of Atia, and that was done by the
9 Egyptian police.
10 In conclusion, let me just say that both the
11 allegations that Sattar conspired with others to kill and
12 kidnap persons in a foreign country as stated in Count 2, and
13 that he solicited others to engage in violent terrorist
14 operations as stated in Count 3, were to have taken place from
15 September '99 through the date of his arrest in April 2002.
16 The evidence will show during this entire period of
17 time the United States government was intercepting all of my
18 client's communications right up to one month before he was
19 arrested. Amazing as it might seem but for those 7 years,
20 beginning in March '95, when coincidentally he was actually
21 assisting in the defense of the sheikh during his trial, and
22 continuing these interceptions all the way to March 2002, they
23 listened to every word spoken, e-mailed or faxed by my client.
24 They listened very carefully to my client during this entire
25 period. They listened to his communicating with Taha in
1 assisting the fatwah, in issuing the fatwah. They listened to
2 his assisting Atia, and they listened while he received the
3 sheikh's opinion on the initiative. And yet it is obvious that
4 during this entire time the government did not believe that any
5 of my client's communications was of very much concern.
6 Certainly he did not present any cause for alarm or fear of a
7 realistic, imminent threat or danger to anyone.
8 I submit to you that the government did not believe,
9 nor did it have any reason to suspect, that any of my client's
10 communications would result in the killing or kidnapping of
11 anyone or that a crime of violence was actually being solicited
12 and about to be committed. Why do I say this? Because the
13 evidence will show that the communications with the sheikh
14 concerning his withdrawal of support for the initiative was in
15 May and June of 2000. The conversations regarding the
16 assistance to Atia took place for several months and continued
17 to October 2000. And the fatwah -- this fatwah that was issued
18 in October 2000 -- and yet the government did not arrest my
19 client until April 2002, over 1-1/2 years after the fatwah.
20 You can be sure, ladies and gentlemen, that if the
21 government really suspected or feared something was about to
22 occur, or there was any concern that my client was a real
23 threat to anyone, they would not have awaited to arrest him
24 until 1-1/2 years later. And you can't just casually sweep
25 this fact under the rug as Mr. Morvillo did yesterday at the
1 very near end of his opening remarks. You can't just say, oh,
2 the reason for the delay in any arrest was really due to
3 national security interests that took precedence over any
4 criminal investigation. Really? Took precedence over someone
5 about to be killed or violence about to happen? I don't think
7 I submit to you that it's more likely that Sattar
8 wasn't arrested for over 1-1/2 years because the U.S.
9 authorities never had any cause to fear Sattar because he was
10 never a true danger to anyone.
11 All of what I have said only underscores the
12 importance for each of you to keep an open mind and wait until
13 you have heard all of the evidence. If you do that, and you
14 evaluate the facts of this case objectively in a fair and
15 impartial way, then you will have upheld your oath as a fair
16 and impartial juror that you have assured us you would do, and
17 no one could ask more of you than that.
18 I am also confident that if you do this and apply the
19 facts of the case to the law as given to you by Judge Koeltl at
20 the end of this case, then you will agree that the government
21 has failed to prove Ahmed Abdel Sattar guilty beyond a
22 reasonable doubt as to any of the charges and your verdict
23 should be just that -- not guilty.
24 Thank you.
As Salaamu Alaikum,
I agree with most of your analysis of the leadership in the major groups.
All have failed to varying degrees to support family values in the true
since. Many reject women and children either in very diplomatic demeaning
ways or just outright. Only one of big groups has tried an organized
effort to assist familles who are struggling with the issue of
The others have just paid lipservice to the equality of
while accepting our labor and expertise to further the gains of some in
the community. Many women are just token leaders in these organizations.
Used to show that "see we appreciate women." It makes the majority of
women continue to be quiet due to they don't want to be the ones to upset
the progress of women by making some noise and maybe getting the token
sisters in trouble. Some representation to some is better than none. Even
if the representation is not truly effective or has any real power.
I must make this comment concerning the leadership of Imam WD Mohammed.
Although I have experienced some great harm by some who claim to support
him and you have witnessed some of it, he has been a positive catalyst for
economic development for Muslims in general and for his people in
particular. We need to broaden our horizons as Muslims and communicate
with the world. However, we need to be sure who we really are first. This
is where all of the major groups have fallen short in my sight. There has
been a failure to develop an "Islamic Agenda." Whenever you going to meet
at the table with another group (who has an organized agenda) you must
know who you are and what you really want. If not they will spot your
weaknesses and either pull you on their side or just discard you. Since
Muslims have a lot to offer this system we are being vacuumed up into its
Our national leadership has failed terribly in recognizing the need for
"true inclusion." Some have attempted in some ways but the same annoying
tendencies to look at race, economic status, ethnicity unfortunately
prevail. I feel this has happened due to the lack of the participation of
women in the process. Women, with all of our faults can in most cases
(especially when our families are concerned) look past a lot of things
most men just can't seem to look past.
Now, this is the problem and test for the Jamaat. How do you become the
catalyst for change and not fall into the same situation as those you
criticize? How do you
become the advocate for change that can bring these forces to the table or
at least some of their followers? We must realize as Muslims that we are
the community Allah has put together. We are very diverse (which is a huge
challenge); however we are "it." As much as you complain about the big
guys they are your brothers. How do you get your brother to see or at
least recognize that your points or at least agree to disagree?
None of you can do it alone. This is a fact. By now all of you should see
this reality. ISNA can only go so far with embracing Jamaat al-Musimeen,
WD can only go so far without being totally accepted (not just the
convention smiles and superficial unity shown by ISNA and
and all of "US" are very vulnerable as long as all of our "LEADERS"
continue to play the who can urinate the farthest game.
As long as you are separate, make no continuous attempts to join forces
and just barrage each other with insults (no matter how correct the
analysis) the Shaytan has all of "US" where it wants "US"-TRAPPED!
Food for thought from a mother, wife, businesswoman and active Muslimah
in this world.
Much Love for All and Respect for those who try their best
Muslim Women's Political Action Committee
HOW THE JEWS USED O'REILLY AGAINST MUSLIM STUDENTS IN CALIFORNIA
by Sis. Karen English [Jamaat al-Muslimeen California]
campaign to put Muslims in their place, so to speak, much ado was made
about the plan by 11 graduating Muslims of UC Irvine (out of 6000
students) to wear green satin stoles bearing the
words: "There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is His Messenger" and "May
Allah increase me in knowledge."
In an attempt at the usual overkill, several Zionists groups on campus
took their complaints to the
American Jewish Council,
exported their outrage to Israel, and then went whining to Bill O’Reilly
Bill O’Reilly took the ball and ran with it---embellishing the
misinformation, having two Jewish students as guests on his program to
present their "case", and twisting it in the pursuit of ratings. He
devoted two segments to the situation and had former Secret Service Agent
Ronald Williams on the show, who called UCI "a hotbed for Islamic radical
The gist of the controversy was in the deliberate misunderstanding of the
word, "shahada", claiming it was a form of shahid. They claimed shahada
referred to: a suicide bomber and by allowing the Muslim students to wear
these stoles, the university was silently endorsing a culture of death.
They also claimed the sashes didn’t just represent Palestinian freedom
fighters and their crusade against Israel, they also glorified actions of
those 15 martyrs who brought the world trade center to the ground on top of
citizens. They also added that the word is a Hamas’ call for Muslims to
By June 16 the ZOA was threatening UCI administration that they will suffer
dire consequences if they did not stop Muslim students from wearing the
sashes during their graduation ceremonies. It was not known how far the
ZOA would go to stop the Muslim students from graduating with their green
sashes but their threats were taken seriously by the Chancellor and the
UCI Police Department. Security was to be at a maximum.
Alhamdullilah, Chancellor Ralph Cicerone reponse to the Zionists was that
the students’ right of _expression is protected by the Constitution.
"UC Irvine has never encouraged or prevented such expressions… We are
simply doing our part as a public university to defend the 1st Amendment
rights of all individuals in our society." There followed a news
conference where the Muslim representative calmly explained the purpose of
On June 19th, the graduation took place without incident. Alhamdullilah,
the Muslim graduates walked across the stage to receive their diplomas,
the best of their attire, the green stoles around their necks.
In all probability the
Hillel of B’nai B’rith, the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA),
JDL were simply exercising the same tried and true tactics that Zionists
have always pulled out of their arsenal: intimidation and cries of
anti-semitism. Their numbers are small thus the growing need to stamp out
any show of solidarity among Muslims. However, this latest attempt at
manufacturing an "issue" only succeeded in further revealing their whiny,
bullying character, of which even non-Muslims are growing tired.
In this country one of their greatest weapons is their mouth. They are
loud and shrill and are quick to scream anti Semitism---as a matter of
form. It has worked for so long they believe that it will always work.
Overkill is their tried and true method.
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2004-06-27 Sun 13:06ct