Alleged Terrorist Leader Indicted
NEW YORK -- The reputed leader of the terrorists who killed Egyptian President Anwar Sadat was charged yesterday in a conspiracy to kill Americans that included efforts to secure the "Nuclear Bomb of Islam."
Ayman Al-Zawahiri was charged with conspiracy in the bombings of embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, as was a second alleged terrorist, Khaled Al-Fawwaz.
The indictments raise to 15 the number of people charged in the Aug. 7 bombings that killed 213 people.
The indictment, which supersedes a previous indictment, alleges that three days before the bombings, Al-Zawahiri threatened to retaliate against the United States for its capture of members of his group, Al-Jihad.
It also alleges that Osama bin Laden, accused of orchestrating the embassy bombings, issued a May 1998 statement titled, "The Nuclear Bomb of Islam."
The statement said that "it is the duty of the Muslims to prepare as much force as possible to terrorize the enemies of God," according to the indictment.
Al-Zawahiri, believed to be with bin Laden in Afghanistan, allegedly leads Al-Jihad, an outlawed group that had claimed responsibility for the 1981 assassination of Sadat. It has been waging a bloody campaign to topple Sadat's successor, Hosni Mubarak, and install strict Islamic rule.
Al-Fawwaz is in custody in London awaiting extradition. Bin Laden was last known to be hiding in Afghanistan.
Prosecutors said in court papers that by February 1998, Al-Zawahiri had merged his group with bin Laden's terrorist organization, al Qaeda, to oppose non-Islamic governments with force and violence.
The two leaders then allegedly endorsed a fatwah or religious edict stating that Muslims should kill Americans, including civilians, anywhere they are found.
The indictment described Al-Fawwaz as an al Qaeda member who repeatedly helped get messages from terrorism leaders to the media, including an August 1996 declaration from bin Laden against Americans meant to "expel the heretics from the Arabian Peninsula."
Southern Baptists Rebuke Clinton
ATLANTA -- The Southern Baptist Convention, the largest U.S. Protestant denomination, rebuked President Clinton, himself a Southern Baptist, for declaring June as National Gay and Lesbian Pride Month.
"Our love for our president compels us to rebuke him and publicly to deplore his most public endorsement of that which is contrary to the word of God," read a resolution approved at the end of the Southern Baptist Convention's annual meeting.
The resolution, however, also said that the group deplores a series of attacks that have taken place against homosexuals.
The resolution stopped short of the recommendation of Southern Baptist Convention President Paige Patterson, who wanted Clinton's home church, Immanuel Baptist in Little Rock, to discipline Clinton for his support of homosexuality. The disciplinary motion against the president was ruled out of order because Southern Baptist churches are considered autonomous.