German convert to Islam describesmeeting 9/11 suicide pilot

17th August 2004, Comments 0 comments

17 August 2004, HAMBURG - A German who converted to Islam testified Tuesday to a Hamburg court about how he became acquainted with the main 11 September suicide attacker, Mohammed Atta, in a city mosque. The 23-year-old witness, whose name was withheld in line with ethics guidelines, was testifying at the trial of Mounir al- Motassadeq, a Moroccan student accused for the second time on charges of aiding murder and being a member of the Hamburg terrorist cell. According to the witness, Motassadeq was in Att

17 August 2004

HAMBURG - A German who converted to Islam testified Tuesday to a Hamburg court about how he became acquainted with the main 11 September suicide attacker, Mohammed Atta, in a city mosque.

The 23-year-old witness, whose name was withheld in line with ethics guidelines, was testifying at the trial of Mounir al- Motassadeq, a Moroccan student accused for the second time on charges of aiding murder and being a member of the Hamburg terrorist cell.

According to the witness, Motassadeq was in Atta's inner circle. The group became more and more committed to "jihad" or a holy war on behalf of Islam and regarded suicide attacks as a legitimate form of combat, the witness told the Hamburg state superior court.

Motassadeq denied at the first trial that he was part of the terrorist cell, but has exercised his legal right to remain silent at the re-trial. He was freed from jail after his first conviction was overturned on appeal and is seeking re-admission to university.

The state's evidence is based mainly on the network of friendships in the mosque group, with prosecutors saying Motassadeq must have had advance knowledge of the 11 September 2001 attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.

Last week, the court read out a US Justice Department document in which a captured conspirator denied Motassadeq was privy to the plot.

US investigators believe Atta, an Egyptian who had been at university in Hamburg, led the attack, killing himself by steering a hijacked jet into one of the twin towers of the World Trade Center.

"Israel and the United States were the enemy for the group," said Tuesday's witness, who had also testified to the first trial.

Atta and the others were of the opinion that Jews dominated the US financial world and media. Atta had repeatedly said they must do something to stop this. The 23-year-old witness said he could tell from this that some kind of action was planned.

"I never imagined it would be something so huge," he told the court.

The witness said he had converted to Islam while was still attending school in the city, and had made Atta's acquaintance in 1997 in Hamburg when Atta was giving classes on Islamic doctrine.

DPA

Subject: German news
 

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