Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Central Ohio connection to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing — 15 Years Ago Today

On February 26, 1993, a bomb exploded in the parking garage of the World Trade Center, announcing that war had come to America.

Seven people were murdered that day by Islamic extremists:

John DiGiovanni, 45 (Valley Stream, New York)
Robert Kirkpatrick, 61 (Suffern, New York)
Steven Knapp, 47 (Manhattan, New York City)
William Macko, 57 (Bayonne, New Jersey)
Wilfred Mercado, 37 (Brooklyn, New York City)
Monica Rodriguez Smith and her unborn child (Seaford, New York)

Memorial to the souls lost on 2/26/1993 (destroyed on 9/11)

Another 1,042 people were injured, some severely. The Islamic terrorists who committed this act had intended to kill tens of thousands, if not more.

This day should be important to us in Central Ohio, in that one of the unindicted co-conspirators in this terrorist act, Siraj Wahhaj, named as such by US Attorney Mary Jo White, is a regular speaker in our area. In just the past two years, Wahhaj has been the keynote speaker at fundraising events for Sunrise Academy, Masjid Abubakar Al Siddique, CAIR-Ohio, the Islamic Foundation of Central Ohio, and most recently, the Noor Islamic Cultural Center.

On March 10, 2006, he was the keynote speaker at the Sunrise Academy (the area’s full-time Islamic school) sports complex fundraiser at the Makoy Center in Hilliard. I discussed the event in my article, “Hometown Jihad: The School Gym that Terror Built”. Here’s the announcement (click to enlarge):

Then on February 16, 2007, Wahhaj again appeared in Central Ohio for a fundraiser for Masjid Abubaker Al Siddique on Sullivant Ave held at Sunrise Academy. This mosque is part of the Islamic Society of Greater Columbus (ISGC). Here is that announcement (click to enlarge):

On June 6, 2006, Siraj Wahhaj was back again in Columbus for a fundraiser for CAIR-OH. I wrote about this event previously, “CAIR’s Blood Money”. CAIR-OH later bragged how the Wahhaj fundraiser had netted them more than $100,000 in one evening to help spread their hate speech and terror apologies. Here is the CAIR press release following the event (click to enlarge):

This past September 9th, Wahhaj was the keynote speaker for the Islamic Foundation of Central Ohio (IFCO), appearing on behalf of his friend Ahmad Al-Akhras, CAIR national vice chairman and president of IFCO. (See our post here, “Mayor Coleman advisor brings hate shiekh to town”, which discusses in detail Wahhaj’s virulent hate speech and violent rhetoric.)

And most recently, Wahhaj was the featured speaker at the Noor Islamic Cultural Center in Hilliard on December 19, 2007 for their Eid celebration.

Very few Muslims in our area agree with the extremist ideology of Siraj Wahhaj and his local allies. In fact, these events were attended by only a very tiny minority of supporters from the Muslim community. But these same supporters are not only very vocal, but are well-funded, control several of the prominent Islamic institutions in town, and have the ear of our local and state political establishment (as has been observed, Wahhaj’s 2006 CAIR-OH fundraiser was followed in 2007 by an appearance by Governor Strickland, “Not in our name, Gov. Strickland”). As we remember what happened on February 26, 1993 and September 11, 2001, it would do us well to remember all those who have been murdered and vow to be vigilant in confronting the hate and extremism that is alive and well in Central Ohio.

Andrew McCarthy, the Assistant US Attorney in charge of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing prosecutions, published an article about the attacks today that is worth reading in its entirety. As you read the excerpt below and the rest of the article, remember that the violence at work on that day 15 years ago is still with us:

On the morning of February 26, 1993, Islamic militants steered a nondescript Ryder van through the winding darkness of the parking garage under the World Trade Center. They had spent years planning this moment in secret meetings at mosques and jailhouses, in rural outposts that served as paramilitary camps, and in safehouses where explosive compounds were mixed in makeshift labs.

Loaded into the van’s rear compartment was a 1,400-pound chemical bomb.

The explosive detonated at a few minutes after noon. The hyper-intensive shockwave bored a six-story canyon into the bowels of the complex. Seven people were killed (one of the six officially listed murder victims having been well along in her pregnancy), over a thousand were injured, and the structural damage would cost nearly a billion dollars to repair.

Amid the terror, the dark cloud that envelops us still 15 years later, was a silver lining. This time, the “battalion of Islam” — as the “blind sheikh,” Omar Abdel Rahman, liked to refer to the cells in his emerging jihad army — had failed.

It had been the intention of the World Trade Center bombers to annihilate tens of thousands of Americans, in addition to rendering the world’s most significant financial district uninhabitable. Detonation was consciously timed for maximum carnage: high noon on a Friday, when as many as 120,000 business professionals, laborers, diners, tourists, and area residents typically swarmed the Twin Towers and their immediate Wall Street environs.

More diabolically, not content with their sophisticated, powerfully combustible urea-nitrate mixture, the jihadists laced the compound with deadly sodium cyanide and attempted to boost the explosion with hydrogen tanks. The aim was a horror virtually unimaginable back then (though it is, today, an omnipresent fear): wide dispersal of a lethal, aerated chemical, killing the thousands too distant to be obliterated by the sheer force of the blast.
May God bless the souls of those lost that awful day. And may we never forget.