Visa Recipient’s Group Signed Bin Laden’s Declaration of War on America
News that the U.S. State Department issued a visa to Hani Nour Eldin, a member of Egypt’s Gama’a al-Islamiya or Islamic Group, has sparked a roaring controversy over the circumstances and appropriateness of the decision.
But one crucial point appears to have been largely overlooked in the controversy. Not only is the historical leader of Gama’a al-Islamiya none other than Omar Abdel Rahman: the “blind sheikh” who was convicted in 1995 of plotting terrorist attacks on targets in New York City. Not only is Gama’a al-Islamiya formally designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S. government.
Gama’a al-Islamiya is also, in the person of Abdel Rahman’s successor Refai Ahmed Taha, one of the five signatories of Osama bin Laden’s 1998 “World Islamic Front Statement Urging Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders.”
The statement, of which a translation is available here, amounts to bin Laden’s declaration of war on the United States of America. It specifically directs Muslims to attack not only American military personnel but also civilians. Thus, it reads: “The ruling to kill the Americans and their allies – civilians and military – is an individual duty for every Muslim who can do it in any country in which it is possible to do it.” The statement continues, “We – with Allah's help – call on every Muslim who believes in Allah and wishes to be rewarded to comply with Allah’s order to kill the Americans and plunder their money wherever and whenever they find it.”
According to German domestic intelligence reports cited by the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung in 2003, a Syrian-born German citizen by the name of Mohammed Haydar Zammar agitated for jihad by distributing bin Laden’s “Declaration of War” in Hamburg mosques. Zammar is regarded as the al-Qaeda recruiter who assembled the Hamburg Cell that would go on to plan and execute the 9/11 attacks.