Militant Islam Monitor > Satire > Released Egyptian friend of subway bombers-blames West for blasts- wants to return to live in UK - but worried about 'trouble'
Released Egyptian friend of subway bombers-blames West for blasts- wants to return to live in UK - but worried about 'trouble'
Muslim who rented apartment turned bomb factory described terrorist as "kind and very nice" - afraid ticket to UK will run out
"...Their knowledge of Islam was very superficial," he said. "They have seen oppression in Iraq, Palestine, Afghanistan and Bosnia."
El-Nashar then issued an appeal for world governments to "stop oppressing people, killing and bombing people so that ignorant and emotional people don't have an excuse for such activities.."
An Egyptian chemist released without charge yesterday after three weeks of questioning over the July 7 London bombings said he wants to return to the UK.
But Magdy el-Nashar said he was concerned that media coverage of his arrest could lead to trouble if he comes back.
Egyptian authorities found no evidence to link the former Leeds University student to the attack or to Al Qaeda.
He knew two of the suicide bombers casually - helping find Lindsey Germaine a place to live in Leeds - but said he was innocent of any involvement.
Interviewed for BBC Radio 4's Today programme, he said: "I consider Britain as my second home after Egypt. I have been in Britain for five years and I really like it.
"I really want to tell everybody that I am clear, I am innocent.
"The British media, not all of them but some of them, showed me as like a bad person, a terrorist or something like that and they make a big propaganda. This is my concern.
"I have to travel to Britain in five days because I booked a ticket for a return, on the 14th. But maybe I may lose my ticket now because if my side is not clear in Britain, to the public, I will be in trouble.
"Because if someone has seen my picture on the front page as a terrorist or something like that and then he did not know that I am innocent and sees me in the street what would he think?"
He told the programme that he had not been interviewed by British police while he was in custody.
He was detained in Cairo after Britain notified Egyptian authorities they suspected he may have had links to some of the terrorists, three of whom were from Leeds.
El-Nashar had returned to Egypt on holiday a week before the attacks; Egyptian authorities arrested him on July 14, a week after the bombings.
He explained that he met one of the suicide bombers, Jamaican-born Lindsey Germaine, in Leeds during the last Muslim month of fasting, Ramadan, which was in October and November.
El-Nashar said Germaine asked him in June for help finding a place to live in Leeds before he moved there from London with his wife and child.
He said he found a home for Germaine through his landlord and was then introduced by Germaine to a man called Mohammed, who turned out to be Hasib Hussain, also one of the July 7 bombers.
El-Nashar said he helped Germaine because he was a "new convert (to Islam). He was very kind and very nice".
Egyptian chemist knew two London attackers
An Egyptian chemist freed Tuesday after three weeks in custody for questioning about deadly bombings in London said he casually knew two of the attackers, reported AP.
He called one of them "very kind and very nice."
After his release, the clean-shaven Magdy el-Nashar told reporters outside his home that he had nothing to do with the July 7 mass-transit attacks, which killed 52 people and the four bombers.
"I am very happy for my innocence and Egypt's innocence, my first country, but sad for what happened in Britain, my second country," said el-Nashar, who had studied at Britain's University of Leeds since 2000, earning a doctorate in biochemistry in April.
He was detained in Cairo on July 14 after Britain notified Egyptian authorities they suspected he may have had links to some of the attackers, three of whom were from Leeds.
The 33-year-old chemist said he met one of the bombers, Jamaican-born Jermaine Lindsay, in Leeds during the last month of the Muslim period of fasting, Ramadan, which was in October and November.
El-Nashar said that in June, Lindsay asked for help finding a place to live in Leeds, saying he wanted to move there from London with his wife and child.
He said he located quarters for Lindsay through his landlord and was then introduced by Lindsay to a man called Mohammed, who turned out to be Hasib Hussain, another of the July 7 bombers.
Hussain said he had a van and would help Lindsay move his belongings from London.
El-Nashar, a Muslim, said he helped Lindsay because he was a "new convert (to Islam). He was very kind and very nice."
El-Nashar said Islam was not an issue in the attacks, and he called the suicide bombers "young, emotional and ignorant"
"Their knowledge of Islam was very superficial," he said. "They have seen oppression in Iraq, Palestine, Afghanistan and Bosnia."
El-Nashar then issued an appeal for world governments to "stop oppressing people, killing and bombing people so that ignorant and emotional people don't have an excuse for such activities."
The Interior Ministry said el-Nashar was freed after authorities found no evidence against him. London police had no comment on the release.
El-Nashar called his detention "a nightmare," especially when interrogators suggested he was "the mastermind behind the London bombings."
Still, he said he was detained in a hotel with his own "air-conditioned room and excellent food."
"I will miss that," he said, adding that he was not mistreated and was only questioned by Egyptian authorities.
El-Nashar said his release was held up by the failed mass-transit attacks in London on July 21 and deadly bombings at the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheik two days later.
He said he has a ticket to return to Britain on Aug. 14.
"I want to go back again. But I am afraid, honestly, I am afraid. Propaganda against me made people think I am terrorist. My picture is everywhere. Some said I am the first man (behind the attacks). The most-wanted man. If I walk down the street and someone recognizes me, he might kill me," el-Nashar said. "I am innocent."
He returned home before dawn Tuesday ¡ª to the surprise of his family, which had not been informed of his release.
"We heard the knock at the door, and his father went down to answer. He started screaming, 'Magdy! Magdy is here!'" said his mother, tears in her eyes. "You can imagine, a mother's heart when her son comes in after what happened."
She said she had only been able to speak to her son once by telephone since his detention and that the family hadn't been allowed to visit him. She would only give her name as Umm Magdy ¡ª Arabic for "Magdy's mother," a traditional way for conservative Egyptian women to identify themselves in public.
"My heart was torn every day (he was gone). I wasn't eating or sleeping," the mother said. "I was always sure of his innocence, but I was always afraid of the unknown."
El-Nashar's neighbors gathered outside the house Tuesday, cheering his release.
"He is in good health, thank God," El-Nashar's younger brother, Mohammed, said. "There were never any charges against him."
But his mother insisted, "I won't let him go to London now unless the British government officially announces he is innocent."
El-Nashar had just completed his doctorate in biochemistry at Leeds when the attacks occurred. He returned to Egypt to submit his certification to the government research center that sponsored his studies in Britain.
At the time of the bombings, British media reported that traces of TATP were found in el-Nashar's apartment during raids in Leeds. That was the material used by failed shoe-bomber Richard Reid in 2001. The reports linking TATP to el-Nashar were never confirmed.