In arare interview last September with TIME's Dowell, the blind Egyptian cleric said "everyone feels that it is Islam which has been put on trial. The U.S. wants to use this case to put Islam down." Rahman also said that the West has misinterpreted the Islamic term jihad as terrorism. "Self-defense is legal in all religions. People who are defending their lands are called terrorists. Of course, this interpretation is useful to the West. It legitimizes attacks against any country in the Third World."