Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat- Fundamentalist sources revealed to Asharq Al-Awsat yesterday that the health of Dr. Omar Abdel Rahman has severely deteriorated. The spiritual leader of the Al-Gama’a Al-Islamiyyah, who has been incarcerated in America for the last 15 years, told his family in his last telephone conversation with them a few days ago to ‘pray for him’.
The source who spoke to Asharq Al-Awsat on the condition of said that ‘The Sheik, who was born in the 1920s, suffers from chronic headaches whose cause has not been diagnosed and sleep disorders, as well as the effects of diabetes and old age.’ He added ‘The blind Sheik still has difficulty getting around and so is confined to a wheelchair’.
The source revealed that ‘Abdel Rahman- who is serving a life sentence for conspiracy with regards to the New York City Landmarks bomb plot in the early 90s- told his family in his last phone conversation with them that: ‘There is nothing but the Quran to stave off the madness’. This is indicative of the harsh treatment the blind Sheik is facing at the hands of the American prison system, especially since he has spent the last 13 years of his sentence in solitary confinement.
The source revealed to Asharq Al-Awsat that the Sheik’s family will demand that he be returned to Egypt, and they will request permission to visit him in prison in the United States following the results of the Presidential elections which will take place in the first week of November. The Sheik’s family have twice requested permission to visit him in 2001 and 2004; both requests were denied.
Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman was born in the 1920s, and lost his eyesight at an early age. He later graduated first in his year at the Faculty of Theology achieving First Class Honors in 1956, whereupon he gained a Masters degree in Quarnic studies in 1967, and later gained a PhD in that same field from the Faculty of Theology in 1972. Sheik Abdel Rahman is serving a life sentence for seditious conspiracy, and conspiracy to conduct the bombings of the Lincoln and Holland tunnels under the Hudson river, as well as the FBI and UN headquarters in New York, in addition to trying to incite the assassination of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, and other political and religious leaders, during one of Mubarak’s visits to Washington.