London imam chides prosecutor at NYC trial - KMSP-TV

London imam chides prosecutor at NYC trial

Posted: Updated:
Mustafa Kamel in London in 2003 (AP file photo/Alastair Grant) Mustafa Kamel in London in 2003 (AP file photo/Alastair Grant)
NEW YORK (AP) -

Confronted by a prosecutor, an Islamic cleric accused of supporting terrorist operations in Yemen and in the United States tried Tuesday to soften his most incendiary statements about the Sept. 11 attacks, Osama bin Laden and a 1998 kidnapping of 16 tourists in Yemen in which four hostages were killed.

Many answers 55-year-old Mustafa Kamel Mustafa gave at his Manhattan trial to questions posed by Assistant U.S. Attorney John Cronan came reluctantly, with Mustafa criticizing the prosecutor for what he said was a "cut-and-paste" effort to mischaracterize statements.

"Try to concentrate. Ask one at a time," he chided Cronan, shortly before U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest admonished Mustafa for failing to answer questions properly.

"We do need to obey the rules of cross examination," she said. "Don't make speeches."

"Sir, I will be asking the questions of you," Cronan said pointedly when Mustafa tried repeatedly to answer a question with a question of his own.

Cronan for the most part ignored Mustafa's insults as he used the testimony as an opportunity to replay audio of statements the government believes best support charges that Mustafa conspired to aid terror organizations, including al-Qaida, by providing a satellite phone to the Yemen hostage takers, by trying to open a training camp in Bly, Oregon, and by sending men to training camps in Afghanistan.

Cronan asked if Mustafa had praised the Sept. 11 attacks.

"We were all happy," Mustafa said, explaining that attitudes toward Palestine and foreign policies led to a feeling of euphoria among some people after the attacks.

Mustafa, educated as a civil engineer, said he called for an investigation of the attacks and questioned whether explosives might have been responsible for the fall of the buildings.

"Plenty of people at the mosque and al-Qaida hated me for my statements about 9/11," he said.

Cronan noted he had stated publicly that he loved bin Laden and asked if that was still so.

"For the good in him," Mustafa said, though he also said bin Laden's 1998 fatwa stating that Americans should be killed wherever they are found was "a piece of nonsense" and he believed bin Laden was undisciplined.

Mustafa conceded he told an ex-hostage from the Yemen kidnapping who interviewed him at his London mosque while writing a book that the attacks were "Islamically justified."

When Cronan asked him if he said in an interview a month after the hostage taking that foreign visitors to Yemen were "like dumb animals, whoever imprisons them can do what he likes with them," Mustafa responded with a question: "Where is the clip?"

As he backtracked from some statements, Mustafa had various excuses, saying he gets tired or that his diabetes interferes with his thinking.

"I'm not trying to justify anything. ... I'm just saying my main language is Arabic," Mustafa said.

Mustafa, extradited in 2012 from England, also denied knowing Sept. 11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui and shoe bomber Richard Reid, both of whom reportedly had attended London's Finsbury Park Mosque in the 1990s.

  • Manhattan NewsManhattan NewsMore>>

  • Andy Golub's NYC Bodypainting Day

    Andy Golub's NYC Bodypainting Day

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 10:43 PM EDT2014-07-31 02:43:52 GMT
    The saying art is autobiographical takes on a whole new meaning when your canvas is a fully nude human body, as it is for artist Andy Golub. Andy along with 30 other artists and 45 Technicolor models paraded around several Manhattan hotspots over the weekend for NYC Body Painting day. Believe or not, this is completely legal in New York City.
    The saying art is autobiographical takes on a whole new meaning when your canvas is a fully nude human body, as it is for artist Andy Golub. Andy along with 30 other artists and 45 Technicolor models paraded around several Manhattan hotspots over the weekend for NYC Body Painting day. Believe or not, this is completely legal in New York City.
  • Protestors rally against NYPD's 'broken windows' policing

    Protestors rally against NYPD's 'broken windows' policing

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 10:07 PM EDT2014-07-31 02:07:39 GMT
    Emotions about police brutality were still raw at a protest in Harlem Wednesday night. Eric Garner died after police put him in an apparent choke hold. Cops stopped garner for the minor offense of selling loose cigarettes in Staten Island. Officers had been enforcing the so-called broken windows policy.
    Emotions about police brutality were still raw at a protest in Harlem Wednesday night. Eric Garner died after police put him in an apparent choke hold. Cops stopped garner for the minor offense of selling loose cigarettes in Staten Island. Officers had been enforcing the so-called broken windows policy.
  • WTC shipwreck mystery solved

    WTC shipwreck mystery solved

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 6:08 PM EDT2014-07-30 22:08:14 GMT
    Archeologists say they've solved a mystery that started with the rebuilding at ground zero. During the excavation at the World Trade Center Site, workers uncovered part of an old ship. No one knew where it came from. Now after years of study, researchers believe the sloop dates back to 1773, built from wood harvested from Pennsylvania, the same kind used to build Independence Hall.
    Archeologists say they've solved a mystery that started with the rebuilding at ground zero. During the excavation at the World Trade Center Site, workers uncovered part of an old ship. No one knew where it came from. Now after years of study, researchers believe the sloop dates back to 1773, built from wood harvested from Pennsylvania, the same kind used to build Independence Hall.
Powered by WorldNow

KMSP-TV
11358 Viking Drive
Eden Prairie, MN 55344

Phone: (952) 944-9999
Fax: (952) 942-0455

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices