1,171. 5/26/1998

On May 26, 1998, when Osama bin Laden “held a press conference in Afghanistan to announce that he had formed ‘the International Islamic Front to do jihad against the Crusaders and Jews,’ also present were the sons of the Egyptian cleric Omar Abdel Rahman, ‘the Blind Sheikh.’ They distributed small cards to the journalists attending the conference, on which was printed their father’s ‘will,’ which Rahman had supposedly written while serving a life sentence in an American prison for his role as the inciter of terrorist plots in New York in the mid-1990s. The cleric’s will read, ‘Extract the most violent revenge. …Cut off all relations with [the Americans, Christians, and Jews], tear them to pieces, destroy their economies, burn their corporations, destroy their peace, sink their ships, shoot down their planes and kill them on air, sea, and land.’ Sheikh Rahman’s will/fatwa seems to be the first time that a Muslim cleric had given his religious sanction to attacks on American aviation, shipping, and economic targets.”

 – Peter Bergen, The Longest War, Pages 29-30

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