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September 11 suspect grills U.S. judge on religion

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Randall Mikkelsen
Reuters
Wednesday, Sept 24, 2008

Accused September 11 architect Khalid Sheikh Mohammed asked a U.S. military judge whether he belonged to an “extremist” religious group, at an unusual Guantanamo war-crimes court hearing on Tuesday

Mohammed, acting as his own attorney, asked Marine Col. Ralph Kohlmann about his views on religion and torture at a pre-trial hearing of five accused September 11 co-conspirators.

“We are well-known as extremists and fanatics, and there are also Christians and Jews that are very extremist,” Mohammed told the judge.

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“If you, for example, were part of Jerry Falwell or Pat Robertson’s groups, then you would not at all be impartial toward us,” he said, referring to U.S. evangelical Christian leaders who have denounced Islam as violent.

Kohlmann replied that he did not belong to a congregation. “When I have attended church, I was a member of various Lutheran churches and Episcopal churches, and I have not attended any of them for a long time because I have moved so often,” the judge said.

Kohlmann dismissed as “inaccurate,” an assertion by co-defendant Ramzi Binalshibh that he had a “Jewish name.”

  • A d v e r t i s e m e n t

Kohlmann was also asked about how he followed news coverage on the day of the attacks and replied that his memory was imprecise. He also said he had no opinion on the facts of the September 11 incident, which triggered U.S. President George W. Bush’s “war on terror.”

Binalshibh, Mohammed and three other defendants — Mustafa Ahmed al Hawsawi, Walid bin Attash and Ali Abdul Aziz Ali — are charged with conspiring with al Qaeda to kill civilians in the attacks.

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This article was posted: Wednesday, September 24, 2008 at 10:41 am





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