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SITE Publications
Sheikh Omar Abdul-Rahman (The Blind Sheikh) Releases Letter from Prison
By SITE Institute
March 1, 2005

On Friday, February 25, 2005, a letter began circulating on jihadist message boards allegedly written by the Blind Sheikh, Omar Abdul-Rahman. The letter is dated January 2, 2005, and describes the conditions he has been facing in his Missouriprison cell.

Since his incarceration, the Sheikh has been subject to Special Administrative Measures (SAMs) limiting contact to only his wife and attorney.

In this regard, the Sheikh is not allowed to circulate letters from his cell. It is unclear, then, how this letter was initially released. In 2000, his attorney Lynne Stewart distributed a message to his followers through Reuters New Service. According to her indictment, ?On or about June 14, 2000, Stewart released a statement to the press that quoted Abdel Rahman as stating that he ?is withdrawing his support for the cease-fire that currently exists.? As this was a violation of the SAMs, Stewart has been subsequently charged with providing support for terrorism.

The new letter, titled ?Letter from US Prison: O People of Sacrifice and Dignity,? opens with explicit descriptions of the conditions the Sheikh is currently facing in prison. Rahman complains of religious discrimination, unhygienic conditions, and guard bias toward other prisoners. ?I stay like that day and night.? He argues, ?What loneliness, what cruelty. By doing this they want to make me terminally ill to exact revenge because I am a Muslim. Are these the human rights they boast about so much and [with which they] fill the air waves and news media, while persecuting us so that we are unable to speak or raise our voice??

The Sheikh also discusses in graphic detail the search procedures used by the guards before and after he leaves his cell to see a visitor. Regarding the search procedure he states that ?they do this twice to me on each visit so that I melt from shame and embarrassment and wish that the earth would open up and swallow me rather than they do this to me.?

In concluding his message, Rahman calls for Muslims to rise up against his mistreatment, arguing that he is not the only one who has been silenced by the prisons. ?O Men of Allah!? He writes, ?Rise up from your deep slumber. Rise up with your resounding voices. Set out, O Men of Allah, and let your voices be heard in every place, and say it with all your strength and loudly, without fear. Rise up, O Men of Allah and like one ****, show the truth and negate the evil. And don?t give in to those who aggress, lest the fire take hold of you.?

A full translation of the message is provided to our Intel Service members.

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