Address: P.O. Box 356, Kingsville, MD 21087
for one year. $1 for sample]
Disclaimer: The views expressed are not necessarily shared by the editors.
Critical responses up to 250 words are accepted
And incline not to those who do wrong, or the Fire will seize you; and
ye have no protectors other than Allah, nor shall ye be helped.
Judge Presides Over the Trial of
Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman
Presiding over the trial of Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman and 10 other
Muslim defendants charged with conspiracy is Judge Michael B.
Mukasey, an orthodox
His wife works as an administrator for
the Ramaz School, a center for Jewish learning headed by one Rabbi
Haskell Lookstein. Judge and Mrs. Mukasey are frequent visitors to
On Jan. 18, 1994, Kunstler and Kuby, who were then
respresenting Ibrahim El-Gabrowny, one of Sheikh Omar's
codefendants, filed a motion for recusal (to remove Judge Mukasey
from the case). Although the motion was filed on behalf of El-
Gabrowny, Sheikh Omar and most, if not all, of the defendants in the
Case had already experienced bias from the judge and agreed that he
should be removed.
In the motion, Kunstler and Kuby argued: The school where Mrs.
Mukasey is an administrator is well-known for its extreme Zionism
and promotion of aliya - the political credo that all Jews should
emigrate to Israel. Just days before the U.S. bombing of
Mukasey's boss, Rabbi Lookstein arrived in Israel with a delegation
from the Ramaz School for the purpose of showing solidarity with the
Israeli government. The Rabbi made it known that the purpose of the
delegation was "to see and be seen in Israel, expressing regret at the
fact that the Israelis felt abandoned by their "best friends - the Jews in
The feeling of abandonment, he said, was a result of the
U.S. and U.N. condemnations of the Israeli settlement policy.
Lookstein also encouraged American Jews as a whole, who felt close
to Israel, to go there in the next six months (Jerusalem Post, Dec 4,
Kunstler and Kuby continued that a Jerusalem Post article about
the Ramaz School, entitled "School With a Mission," quoted Lookstein
specifically claiming that the goal of the Ramaz School was the
promotion of aliya. Indeed, Lookstein asserted that 400 graduates of
Ramaz now live in Israel - 20 percent of the students who graduated
since the school's founding (Jerusalem Post, July 20, 1990).
Although aware of the Mukasey's Israeli links, the American
joined the American Jewish Congress in
filing an amicus curiae (friends of the court) brief on Jan. 28. The
AMC and the American Jewish Congress argued against removal of
the Zionist judge from the case. The joint motion of the two
organizations purported that there was not sufficient evidence of bias
to warrant Mukasey's recusal. The American Jewish Congress,
represented by Attorney Marc D. Stern, and the AMC, represented by
Robert Crane, said they believed "their participation may assist the
Court in deciding" whether Judge Mukasey should preside over the
trial of the Muslims, most of them Arabs. With the apparent
endorsement of both Muslim and Jewish groups, Mukasey
categorically denied El-Gabrowny's motion. The deadline on motions
by the defendants elapsed soon thereafter, and with it any hope of
securing an impartial judge to preside over the trial.
The offices of the AMC, an organization which is self-described
as "serving the interests of the Muslim community in the U.S.," were
quickly deluged with angry Muslim callers protesting the action, as
news of the joint AMC/AJ Congress motion spread through the
community. In response to tremendous community pressure, AMC
Executive Director Abdurrahman Alamoudi retracted the
organization's endorsement of the motion in a letter to the judge dated
Feb. 3. The Muslim community was informed that the entire episode
had been a mistake, and that Robert Crane, whom Alamoudi had left
in charge while travelling, had acted without the latter's knowledge.
But AMC President Mohammed Cheema, in a letter dated April 19,
1994, saying that Alamoudi was "wrong in assuming the authority on
a policy matter without seeking clear direction from the Board of
Directors," repudiated the Alamoudi apology. He reaffirmed the
original AMC position, supporting Judge Mukasey. And Robert
Crane, a former Reagan foreign policy advisor, remained on the board
of AMC's Legal Defense Association, with the stature of a man who
has neither erred, nor seen disciplinary action by his board.
As for Kunstler and Kuby, after months of legal preparations in
defense of the Muslims, during which they assisted Sheikh Omar with
legal advise at every turn, they were finally thrown off the case by the
judge under various pretexts.
Cover sheet of the joint motion filed by the American Jewish Congress and
the American Muslim Council, supporting Judge Mukasey's right to preside
over the trial of the Sheikh and other Muslims.
2002-12-20 Fri 19:53ct