Cleric: Bin Laden my buddy (NEW YORK DAILYNEWS) BY JOHN MARZULLI 02/02/05)
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
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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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