Jailed World Trade Center bomber condemns modern terrorism and warns ‘young jihadists’ to stop killing innocent bystanders
A jailed terrorist who helped to plot an early attack on the World Trade Center has condemned modern jihad and said young men are throwing their lives away by killing innocent people.
After being imprisoned for shooting and killing a high-profile rabbi in New York, Egyptian El Sayyid A. Nosair, now 57, went on to help mastermind the 1993 bombing of the Twin Towers from prison.
But Nosair, described as ‘a star and a hero in the jihad’, has attempted to distance himself from radicals behind recent atrocities like last month’s Boston Marathon bombings, which claimed three lives and left hundreds wounded.
Extremist: El Sayyid A. Nosair, seen left as a young man, confessed to shooting and killing high-profile Rabbi Meir Kahane, seen right in 1985, in a New York hotel in 1990
He spoke out despite having being convicted of involvement in the 1993 terror attack that killed six people and could have resulted in the loss of thousands of lives.
Nosair is thought to have become the first Islamic jihadist to commit murder on American soil when he shot Rabbi Meir Kahane in the ballroom of a New York City hotel in 1990.
The father of two, who has remained behind bars ever since, exhibits no remorse over the killing, which he claims was justified because Rabbi Kahane had called for war against Muslims.
But Nosair told the Los Angeles Times that by murdering innocent bystanders – as seen in New York, Boston and elsewhere in the years since – extremists did nothing to further their cause.
There is a difference in the ‘passion’ that jihadist young men aspire to today and what I was trying to accomplish back in the late ’80s and early ’90s,’ Nosair told the newspaper, adding that he would urge young jihadists to practise restraint.
‘Seek help in patience and prayer,’ he said.
Nosair – who is attempting to mount a case to win his freedom – confessed to the murder of Rabbi Kahane to the FBI in 2010, but now claims he was only present at the assassination.
He also claims the bombers in the 1993 World Trade Center attack were the masterminds, not him, despite evidence to the contrary.
But his new claims – and his remarks on modern jihad – have been dismissed by the team of prosecutors who helped to put Nosair behind bars.
Federal prosecutor Andrew C. McCarthy, who said Nosair was a ‘star and a hero in the jihad’,
Nosair, who is divorced from his wife and estranged from his two sons, has led prison demonstrations and has threatened fellow inmates to try and force them to convert to Islam.
He was initially suspected to have played a role in the September 11 World Trade Center attacks, and has said there may have been ‘something I could have done, in my earlier life, to prevent such an occurrence’.
Nosair became a U.S. citizen after immigrating from Egypt in 1981, and worked as an engineer in the state courthouse in Manhattan.
He targeted Rabbi Kahane at the urging of Omar Abdel Rahman, the blind sheikh who would later be convicted with him on conspiracy charges relating to the 1993 World Trade Center attack.
After shooting the rabbi on November 5 1990, Nosair was cleared of murder by a jury in state court but convicted on gun charges. He was sentenced to the maximum 22 years by a judge.
His meetings with old cohorts who visited him in jail were monitored by FBI agents, who recorded bomb-making activities underway in Queens.
Nosair was sentenced to life with no parole in October 1995 after prosecutors assembled a conspiracy case encompassing the World Trade Center explosion – which killed six people and injured over 1,000 – and federal charges for the murder of Kahane.