NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Jurors in a terror trial in Manhattan federal court listened to the voice of the defendant Tuesday.
As WCBS 880’s Irene Cornell reported, the jury gained some insight into Mustafa Kamel Mustafa‘s thinking on al Qaeda’s terror attacks through his broadcast interviews being played in court. He is on trial on charges that he supported terrorism around the world.
On the subject of the Sept. 11 World Trade Center attacks, the interviewer heard in the recording points out that Mustafa — also known by the aliases Abu Hamza and Abu Hamza al-Masri — had long been talking about making the sky a very high-risk place for anyone who flies, Cornell reported.
“Why would you want to do that,” Mustafa was asked.
“Because the West is using God’s gift for flying to oppress nations, to kill and maim,” he replied.
Mustafa also declared “everybody was happy when the planes hit the World Trade Center” in the recording, Cornell reported.
Mustafa is an Egyptian imam who led a London mosque more than a dozen years ago.
The 55-year-old cleric was extradited in 2012 from England, where he turned Finsbury Park Mosque in the 1990s into a training ground for Islamic extremists, attracting men including Sept. 11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui and attempted shoe bomber Richard Reid. He is accused of setting up a purported terrorist training camp outside Bly, Ore., in 1999 and 2000.
Eva Hadley, a witness who goes by her Muslim name Akema, testified Tuesday that she unwittingly found herself in the middle of the al Qaeda training camp in Oregon, Cornell reported.
Hadley said she moved to Bly intending to set up a teaching farm for Muslims to can vegetables and care for animals. Then came two men from London — terror trainers sent by Mustafa, she testified. One of the them was one of Mustafa’s right-hand men who had run training camps for him in Afghanistan and served as a hit man for Osama bin Laden, she said.
After learning too much about the training camp, Hadley has spent 10 years in the Federal Witness Security Program under the constant guard of U.S. marshals.
Mustafa has one eye and claims to have lost his hands fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan.
The trial of Mustafa comes a month after a jury in Manhattan convicted Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, bin Laden’s son-in-law and al Qaeda’s spokesman after the Sept. 11 attacks, of charges that will likely result in a life sentence.
If convicted, Mustafa could face life in prison.
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