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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review

Is Meir Kahane's assassin now a changed man?

By Richard A. Serrano


El Sayyid A. Nosair, then and now




Twenty years later, the first jihadist to commit murder in the United States wants you to finally know the truth about who he is and what he did


JewishWorldReview.com |

mASHINGTON — (MCT) Long before Sept. 11, the war on terrorism and two pressure-cooker bombs at the Boston Marathon, a young Muslim from Egypt walked into the ballroom of a New York City hotel and shot to death an outspoken rabbi.

El Sayyid A. Nosair, authorities say, was the first Islamic jihadist to commit murder in the United States. He later helped plot the first World Trade Center bombing from behind bars in 1993 and conspired to target the bridges and tunnels leading in and out of Manhattan.

Now serving life in prison, he has been out of the public eye for years.

But last fall, Nosair emailed me after reading a story I wrote about government secrecy in the prosecution of the Sept. 11 plotters. He wanted to talk about his religious beliefs, the crimes of his past and his attempts to win his freedom.

He said he condemns jihad as it is practiced today. Young men are throwing their lives away, killing innocents, he said. The families of the jihadists suffer for years, he said, something he has learned after more than two decades in prison.

In more than 60 emails, letters and phone interviews, he offered no regrets for the murder of Rabbi Meir Kahane in 1990. That killing, he said, was justified because the rabbi had called for war against Muslims. Kahane, founder of the ultranationalist Jewish Defense League, "openly advocated genocide and ethnic cleansing," he said.

But he warned some of the young men who have followed in his footsteps that killing bystanders, whether in New York or Boston, does nothing to further the 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," he said.

"Unfortunately," he wrote, "these kinds of acts will continue as long as the U.S. administrations continue, one after another, with unjust policies and acts imposed over the Muslim world."

If he could reach the younger jihadists, he said, he would counsel restraint. "Seek help in patience and prayer," he said, quoting the Quran.

Most important, he said, he reached out to me with the hope that by speaking out he could use his notoriety to help end the centuries-long unrest in the Middle East, where he believes in the two-state solution of Arabs and Jews living in peace. He said that when he was a youth his family was driven from their Egyptian village by "Israeli aggression," and his anger over that banishment ultimately led him to prison.

"It is my desire to form a connection with you," he said, "whereby we can do some things together for a lasting change and a viable solution."

Nosair is also trying to mount a case for freedom. Despite a confession to the FBI in 2010, he now says he really didn't kill Kahane, but was only present at the slaying. Despite the detailed evidence in the World Trade Center conspiracy case, he says the bombers themselves, not he, were the masterminds.


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None of his claims, or his admonitions to modern jihadists, have any credibility with prosecutors.

Andrew C. McCarthy, who led the team of federal prosecutors that sent Nosair to prison, said in an interview: "He'll never get out. He's never going any place."

Nosair, now 57, has spent more than 22 years in prison, much of it in solitary confinement. Photos he sent show him with graying hair and an expanding belly.

Nosair's wife divorced him long ago; he has not seen his family since 1995. One of his sons, who was 7 when his father went to prison, has traveled the country denouncing him in public lectures.

In those early years behind bars, Nosair was regarded as a highly dangerous inmate with "substantial influence over the Muslim populations at the various United States penitentiaries," prison records showed.

He has led prison demonstrations in which he and fellow Islamic inmates screamed and banged on their cell doors, and was indirectly involved in a prison killing carried out by Sunni Muslims, according to the records. He has threatened inmates in attempts to convert them to Islam.

He doesn't deny he once had influence. Of the Sept. 11 attacks, he said, "Maybe there was something I could have done, in my earlier life, to prevent such an occurrence."

Prison authorities initially suspected he may have had a role in Sept. 11, and Nosair was held in isolation for months. He remains in a special management confinement unit at a medium-security prison in Marion, Ill. He is appealing to the Bureau of Prisons to be put back with the general inmate population.

Nosair's first email arrived in late October. He complained that prosecutors overreached in the case against Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed as well as in his own case.

Nosair said he still idolized Omar Abdel Rahman, the blind sheik from Egypt convicted with him for plotting the 1993 World Trade Center attack. Rahman is serving a life sentence in a North Carolina prison. Although today he disagrees with Rahman's tactics, he still is inspired by his preaching from their days together at a New York-area mosque where Rahman urged Muslims to be strong.

"He understood to call the Muslims to stand up and fight for your rights," Nosair said. "He had done that in Egypt even though he faced prison. That's why I admire him."

Nosair immigrated to the United States from Egypt in 1981 and became a citizen. He worked as an engineer at the state courthouse in Manhattan and, while involved at two local mosques, became aware of Kahane. He also helped raise money, buy guns and recruit fighters to drive the Soviets out of Afghanistan.

On weekends he and others took up semiautomatic rifle training on Long Island; they collected detonators and wires. Soon, at the urging of the blind sheik, Nosair targeted Kahane.

"Everybody was under the spell of Rahman," said Jeanne King, a freelance writer once close to the Nosair family. "That's where the sheik got to him. He said, 'You've got to kill Kahane.'"

On the night of Nov. 5, 1990, Nosair shot the rabbi after Kahane called for American Jews to move to Israel before it was too late. He also wounded an elderly man and a postal detective, who in return shot Nosair in the neck.

A jury acquitted Nosair of murder in state court but convicted him on gun charges. The judge, who disagreed with the murder acquittal, sentenced Nosair to the maximum 22 years on the gun conviction.

Nosair was hailed a martyr by supporters carrying placards outside the courthouse. Many were followers of Osama bin Laden, who contributed $20,000 for Nosair's defense.

"He donated money just like any other Muslim did," Nosair said.

In state prison in Attica, N.Y., Nosair often was visited by old cohorts. "He was a star and a hero in the jihad," prosecutor McCarthy said.

Federal agents monitored the meetings, enlisted an informant and recorded bomb-making activities inside a safe house in Queens.

Prosecutors assembled a conspiracy case that included the first World Trade Center explosion that killed six people and injured more than 1,000 others, and federal charges for the Kahane murder. In October 1995, Nosair was convicted of all charges and was sentenced to life with no parole.

According to FBI records, he confessed in 2010, signing an affidavit that "when I shot Meir Kahane I considered myself to be a radical Muslim. During that time I viewed my actions as necessary."

If ever released, Nosair wrote, he wants to reconcile with his two sons, who have changed their names and moved at least 19 times over two decades to avoid their father's notoriety.

"He is my son, by birth," Nosair said of his oldest, Zak. "But he has disowned me and my way of life."

Zak Ebrahim, as he is known now, has no interest in reuniting with his father. Today he gives lectures promoting peace by drawing on his and his father's past.

Ebrahim has said he could not forget the first time he and his mother visited Nosair in prison, passing the "tall gray walls and fences and the armed guards" to find his father in an orange jumpsuit, sitting in a plastic chair deep inside Rikers Island.

"I was 7 years old when my father went to prison," Ebrahim said in a 2011 speech to the Lehigh Valley Peace Coalition in Pennsylvania. "Not a day goes by that I don't wish he had chosen a peaceful life with his family."

Nosair also is mindful of the lost years, and how much the world has changed since that night of his arrest for the Kahane murder.

"Amazingly," he wrote on Nov. 5, "today marks exactly 22 years since this incident happened. In 1990 I was a young Muslim activist. My whole desire was to bring peace to the Middle East."

Instead he is serving a life behind bars, often in solitary confinement, a life he said "where once you've done as much time as I have, you keep your sanity by clinging to your faith."


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© 2013, Los Angeles Times. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.