Harsh Sentences in Terror Plot

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NEW YORK CITY: Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman and nine of his followers were sentenced to lengthy jail terms in a Manhattan courtroom today following their October convictions for conspiring to blow up several New York landmarks, including the United Nations and the Lincoln and Holland tunnels. "This case is nothing but an extension of the American war against Islam," Abdel-Rahman told U.S. District Judge Michael Mukasey through an interpreter. The 57-year-old Egyptian faces a mandatory life sentence for a separate conviction for plotting to kill Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak. TIME's William Dowell reports: "Because the case was tried here, it implicates the U.S. in what has up to now been an Egyptian domestic problem. American leaders do not fully understand this, since the case itself concerned a major criminal conspiracy. The Mubarak regime will probably collapse before too long, either from a military coup or from a fundamentalist revolt. At that point, the U.S. will be seen as allied with the failed regime, which will make relations with Egypt very difficult. Losing Egypt would be dangerous for the U.S. because it is the center of gravity for the Arab world with nearly half of the Arab population."