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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.
Qur'an, XI:113

Why a Zionist 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 Jew. 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 Israel.

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 Iraq, Mrs. 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 America." 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, 1990).

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 Muslim Council (AMC) 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.
United States of America v. Ibrahim El-Gabrowny
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