Former School Librarian, Now Radical Lawyer, On Trial

In a suit filed by Attorney General John Ashcroft on behalf of the Department of Justice, a defender of those who seem to need her the most, attorney Lynne Stewart is once again in the news. She's on trial for allegedly "aiding terrorism by relaying Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman's messages of war to his followers", according to the DOJ.

Today's New York Times has an article on Ms. Stewart, age 65, describing her (stereotypically!) as looking "much like the public school librarian she once was, wearing her gray hair in a proper bowl cut and dressed in a conservative black and brown dress and orthopedic lace-up shoes." She worked as a public school librarian in Harlem (NYC) in the 1960's.

Ms. Stewart insisted that she had always kept her distance from the sheik's politics. "I'm my own person, I have my own beliefs," she said. She said she had grown skeptical of religious fanaticism when she attended an evangelical Christian college. She insisted that she had never abetted or even endorsed the Islamic holy war preached by Mr. Abdel Rahman, an Egyptian cleric convicted of conspiring to blow up New York City landmarks.

"I'm not in the habit of fundamentalism," Ms. Stewart said.

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Stewart, sweet little grandmother-librarian-lawyer

"Stewart and the other defendants are accused of helping Omar Abdel Rahman, the imprisoned blind cleric convicted of terrorism charges in 1995, to send orders to followers in Egypt. In one such message in 2000, Rahman withdrew his support for a cease-fire with the Egyptian government.

"His words and speeches were as dangerous as weapons," prosecutor Christopher Morvillo told a Manhattan jury at the opening of a trial that is expected to stretch into the autumn. "The defendants pulled off a jail break" by going into the prison and disseminating Rahman's words. " Washington Post

Her dislike for Islamic fundamentalism isn't very convincing. . ."This claim has as little credence as attorney Kenneth Paul’s contention that Stewart’s co-defendant, Ahmed Abdel Sattar, did not consider the statement "Kill Jews wherever they are and wherever you find them" to constitute "a solicitation of violence or a terrorist statement." The Left’s response to Islamic fascism represents a scandal of American intellectual life: determined to portray Israel as an "imperialist" state and America little better, leftist academics have interpreted Islamic fundamentalism as an anti-imperialist cause worthy of sympathy."Front Page

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