NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Would-be shoe bomber Saajid Badat testified Tuesday that he heard terror suspect Mustafa Kamel Mustafa speak twice about the importance of suicide bombings.
As WCBS 880’s Irene Cornell, Badat testified by video link from London because he fears he would be arrested if he traveled to the United States, where he has been indicted on terror charges.
Badat, a former al Qaeda operative, said he became so thoroughly indoctrinated in jihad and the value of suicide bombings that he believed such attacks were an obligation for Muslims, just like prayer and fasting.
He said he met Mustafa at London’s Finsbury Park Mosque, a reputed training ground for Islamic extremists, and heard him speak twice about suicide bombings.
Badat then traveled from London to Afghanistan for terrorist training, he said. Badat testified he, along with fellow accused shoe-bomb plotter Richard Reid, had been all set to blow up himself and a plane full of innocent people in December 2001 — Osama bin Laden had sent him off with a hug and wished him good luck. But Badat said he had a last-minute visit with his parents, who told him they didn’t want a terrorist for a son, and he backed out of the plot.
Badat also testified that he met one of Mustafa’s followers at a training camp in Afghanistan. The man had been sent there by the defendant, Badat said.
Mustafa — also known by the aliases Abu Hamza and Abu Hamza al-Masri — is on trial in New York on charges that he supported terrorism around the world. He is also accused of setting up a terrorist training camp outside Bly, Ore., in 1999 and 2000.
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. Badat also testified in that trial.
If convicted, Mustafa could face life in prison.
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