Egypt’s new government is sparking growing outrage in the U.S. for its attempts to win the release of Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, the blind cleric behind the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center.
In Cairo, President-elect Mohamed Morsi proclaimed to hundreds of thousands of supporters in Tahir Square on Friday that he will gain the release of Rahman, who is in a federal prison in North Carolina after having been convicted of masterminding the bombing that killed six and unsuccessfully plotting to blow up other landmarks, including the United Nations.
Although a U.S. official told FoxNews.com the sheik will never be freed, the fact that Egypt’s newly-installed Muslim Brotherhood government is asking has top elected officials here seething.
“It’s disgusting for a head of government to state in his inaugural speech that a man who attempted to commit mass murder should be freed,” Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., told FoxNews.com. “The fact that he said this in his first speech says to me that this is from the heart, and the Muslim Brotherhood has been trying to convince us that they have changed.
“We need to be more on guard than ever,” King added.
Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., weighed in, calling Morsi’s speech “an insult.”
“President Morsi’s offensive statements are an insult to the memories of the victims of the World Trade Center bombing. … Rest assured, (Rahman) will stay right where he belongs – in jail for the rest of his life,” Schumer said.
Hani Hour Eldin — a member of Egypt’s parliament, as well as a member of the State Department-recognized terrorist organization Al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya — recently traveled to Washington to press the case for Rahman’s release but apparently was rebuffed. When asked for comment on Cairo’s push for Rahman’s release, State Department officials referred FoxNews.com to a prior statement by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in which she said Rahman guilty verdict and life sentence were “correct” and that the evidence was”clear and convincing.”
Talk of releasing Rahman is “a non-issue and it’s not going to happen,” said one U.S. official who asked not to be identified.