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Cleric: Bin Laden my buddy (NEW YORK DAILYNEWS) BY JOHN MARZULLI 02/02/05)Source: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/wn_report/story/277033p-237320c.html NEW YORK DAILY NEWS NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Articles-Index-TopPublishers-Index-Top
A federal jury in Brooklyn yesterday watched a secretly recorded videotape of a Yemeni cleric boasting about his relationship with Osama Bin Laden.

"We talked and chatted like normal people," Mohammed Al Hasan Al- Moayad told a pair of FBI informants meeting him in a wired hotel room in Frankfurt, Germany. Al-Moayad added that he provided Bin Laden with financial support and taught him Islamic law. "He called me ´his sheik,´" he said.

As a result of the January 2003 sting operation, Al-Moayad and an associate are charged with conspiring to funnel cash, weapons and other support to Al Qaeda and Hamas. Prosecutors allege some of the money directed to the terror groups was raised in a Brooklyn mosque.

Al-Moayad´s link to Bin Laden may be the most explosive reference on his résumé - but the cleric points out that he knew the terror kingpin "a long time ago" when Bin Laden´s holy warriors were battling the Russians in Afghanistan.

While defense lawyers argue Al-Moayad was a teacher figure to Bin Laden, former Attorney General John Ashcroft described him more ominously as a "spiritual adviser."

"Big deal, he knew [Bin Laden] in the 1980s, that´s a yawner," Al- Moayad´s lawyer William Goodman told reporters.

Al-Moayad told the informants he had no prior knowledge of the 9/11 terror attacks, but acknowledged having met another convicted terrorist, Sheik Omar Abdul Rahman, and a top Hamas leader.

An informant, who posed as a former Black Panther planning to donate $500,000 to Al-Moayad, pressed the cleric for a guarantee his cash would provide mujahedeen fighters with weapons, communications equipment and training, as well as reach the cleric´s charitable causes in Yemen. (© 2005 Daily News, L.P. 02/02/05)

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