Egypt's new president vows to work for the release of 'The Blind Sheik'
Mohammed Morsi. Egypt's newly elected president, called for the "humanitarian" release of Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, the Egyptian-born terrorist convicted after the 1993 World Trade Center attack of plotting to bomb several New York City landmarks.
Mr. Morsi referred briefly to Mr. Abdel Rahman in an almost offhand aside in the context of a vow to free Egyptian civilians imprisoned here after military trials under the rule of the generals. "I see signs for Omar Abdel Rahman and detainees' pictures," he said. "It is my duty and I will make all efforts to have them free, including Omar Abdel Rahman."
A Brotherhood spokesman said later that Mr. Morsi intended to ask federal officials in the United States to have Mr. Abdel Rahman extradited to Egypt on humanitarian grounds. He was not seeking to have Mr. Abdel Rahman's convictions overturned or calling him a political prisoner.
An Obama administration official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, shrugged it all off as empty talk, saying, "There is zero chance this happens."
Few Egyptians appeared to notice Mr. Morsi's comments about Mr. Abdel Rahman, and it was not clear whether they might play into suspicions among some in Washington of the president-elect's roots in the Muslim Brotherhood, an 84-year-old Islamist group with a history of opposition to the policies of the United States and Israel.
Don't you love the Times? The Muslim Brotherhood has "a history of opposition to the policies of the United States and Israel." They also have a history of calling for the destruction of Israel and the west, but that doesn't seem to interest the New York Times - although it may be of interest to their readers.
No matter. There is little chance The Blind Sheik will be released or extradited, or otherwise handed over to Egypt. But it's interesting to see what's in the mind of President Morsi as he assumes power of the largest Arab country.