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Omar Abdel-Rahman

Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman known in the United States as "The Blind Sheikh", was a blind Egyptian Muslim leader who served a life sentence at the Federal Medical Center, Butner in Butner, North Carolina, United States. A resident of New York City, Abdel-Rahman and nine others were convicted of seditious conspiracy, his prosecution grew out of investigations of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Abdel-Rahman was the leader of Al-Jama'a al-Islamiyya, a militant Islamist movement in Egypt, considered a terrorist organization by the United States and Egyptian governments; the group was responsible for many acts of violence, including the November 1997 Luxor massacre, in which 58 foreign tourists and four Egyptians were killed. Abdel-Rahman was born in the city of al-Gamalia, Dakahlia Governorate, Egypt, on 3 May 1938, he lost his eyesight. He studied a Braille version of the Qur'an as a child, had it memorized by age 11 and was sent to an Islamic boarding school, he developed an interest in the works of Sayyid Qutb.

He studied at Cairo University's School of Theology and earned a Doctorate in Tafsir from Al-Azhar University in Cairo. His thesis was entitled Al-Qu'ran Min Khushumihi Kama Tashawwarahu Surah At-Tawba, which "received international acclaims with the highest grade." Part of the 2,000-page dissertation has been published in book form in 2006 in Egypt as Mawqif al-Qur'an min khusumih. Soon after leaving university, Abdel-Rahman began preaching against the secular regime of Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser. Abdel-Rahman became one of the most prominent and outspoken Muslim clerics to denounce Egypt's secularism. Omar Abdel-Rahman had two wives, who bore him 10 children: Aisha Hassan Gouda, Aisha Zohdi, his sons include Ahmed and Asim. Ahmed was killed in a drone strike in Afghanistan in 2011. Mohammed was captured in Pakistan in 2003, he was extradited to Egypt and was released in 2010. Asim was a close associate of Osama bin Laden following the September 11th attacks. During the 1970s, Abdel-Rahman developed close ties with two of Egypt's most militant organizations, Egyptian Islamic Jihad and Al-Jama'a al-Islamiyya.

By the 1980s, he had emerged as the leader of Al-jama'a al-Islamiyya, although he was still revered by followers of Egyptian Islamic Jihad, which at the time was being led by Ayman al-Zawahiri to become an al-Qaeda principal. Abdel-Rahman spent three years in Egyptian jails while awaiting trial on charges of issuing a fatwa resulting in the 1981 assassination of Anwar Sadat by Egyptian Islamic Jihad. Although Abdel-Rahman was not convicted of conspiracy in the Sadat assassination, he was expelled from Egypt following his acquittal, he made his way to Afghanistan in the mid-1980s, where he contacted his former professor, Abdullah Azzam, co-founder of Maktab al-Khadamat along with Osama bin Laden. Abdel-Rahman built a strong rapport with bin Laden during the Soviet–Afghan War and, following Azzam's murder in 1989, he assumed control of the international jihadist arm of MAK/Al Qaeda. In July 1990, Abdel-Rahman traveled to New York City to gain control of MAK's financial and organizational infrastructure in the United States.

Abdel-Rahman was issued a tourist visa to visit the United States by the consul of the United States Embassy in Khartoum, despite his name being listed on a U. S. State Department terrorist watch list. Abdel-Rahman entered the United States in July 1990 via Saudi Arabia and Sudan; the State Department revoked his tourist visa on 17 November. Despite this, in April 1991, he obtained a green card from the Immigration and Naturalization Service office in Newark, New Jersey. After leaving the U. S. to go on an overseas trip, he tried to re-enter the U. S. in August 1991. At that point, U. S. officials recognized that he was on the lookout list, began the procedure to revoke his permanent resident status. The U. S. government still allowed him to enter the country, as he had the right to appeal the decision to revoke his residency status. Abdel-Rahman failed to appeal the decision, on 6 March 1992, the U. S. government revoked his green card. He requested political asylum. A hearing on that matter was held on 20 January 1993.

It was revealed that Abdel-Rahman was given most of his visa approvals by the CIA. Egyptian officials have testified that the CIA was assisting him in entering the US. Abdel-Rahman traveled in the United States and Canada. Despite U. S. support for the mujahideen in Afghanistan, Abdel-Rahman was anti-American, spoke out against the country. He issued a fatwa in the US that declared it lawful to rob banks and kill Jews in the US, his sermons condemned Americans as the "descendants of apes and pigs who have been feeding from the dining tables of the Zionists and colonialists". He called on Muslims to assail the West, "cut the transportation of their countries, tear it apart, destroy their economy, burn their companies, eliminate their interests, sink their ships, shoot down their planes, kill them on the sea, air, or land". Preaching at three mosques in the New York City area, Abdel-Rahman was soon surrounded by a core group of devoted followers that included persons who would soon be responsible for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, which took place five weeks into the Bill Clinton administration.

One of Abdel-Rahman's followers, El Sayyid Nosair, was linked to the 1990 Manhattan assassination of Israeli nationalist Rabbi Meir Kahane, founder of the Jewish Defense League. Steven Emerson's 1994 te

Rail Band

The Rail Band is a Malian band formed in 1970. Its fame was built upon the mid-20th century craze for Latin — Cuban — jazz music which came out of Congo in the 1940s; the Rail Band was one of the first West African acts to combine this mature Afro-Latin sound with traditional instruments and styles. In their case, this was built upon the Mande Griot praise singer tradition, along with Bambara and other Malian and Guinean musical traditions, their distinctive sound came from combining electric guitar and jazz horns with soaring Mandinka and Bamabara lyrical lines and western drums, local instruments such as the kora and the balafon. At their height of fame in the 1970s, the Rail Band played to sold out venues and stadia across West Africa, launched solo careers for many of its members, including the legendary vocalist Salif Keita; the first incarnation of the Rail Band was founded in 1970, sponsored by the Ministry of Information and the railway administration. The Malian government had, since the'60s, been sponsoring cultural events and groups to promote national traditions, the Rail Band was among those programs.

The band performed as the house band at the Buffet Bar of the Station Hotel in Bamako, from which it takes its name. Beginning as a Latin Jazz band in the style of Congolese Soukous, it soon began integrating local Manding musical styles and traditions, with vocals in the Bambara language. From early on the band featured electric guitar, electric organ, horns, a western drum kit alongside Mande music using kora, ngoni, talking drums, Islamic-style, Mande hunter co-fraternity song, griot praise-singing vocals; the Rail Band's lead singer in the 1970s was Salif Keita, who left the band to join the rival Super Ambassadeurs and follow a successful solo career in 1982. The group soon became a training ground for many of Mali's most popular performers, like singer Mory Kanté and guitarist Kante Manfila. Guitarist Djelimady Tounkara has been a member of the band for most of its history; the band, changing personnel many times, continues to perform around the world. Albums1970: Sunjata 1976: Melodias "Rail Band" du Mali 1976: Concert "Rail Band" du Mali 1977: Orchestre du Buffet Hôtel de la Gare de Bamako 1979: Affair Social 1985: New Dimensions in Rail Culture 1994: Super Rail Band de Bamako/ Djougouya Magni 1996: Mansa 2003: Kongo Sigui Contributing artist1995: The Rough Guide to West African Music 2012: The Rough Guide To Psychedelic Africa Complete discography available at the Radio Africa web site Super Rail Band.

Banning Eyre, Afropop Worldwide. New and Old Music from Rail Band guitarist Djelimady Tounkara. Cora Connection. African Legends: Super Rail Band. Bruce Miller. Globalrhythm.net. Super Rail Band Super Rail Band Of The Buffet Hotel De La Gare De Bamako. Review. Chris May, All About Jazz. Super Rail Band: Hear my train a-comin'. Philip Sweeney; the Independent.. The Unsinkable Mali Sound. Fernando Gonzalez; the Washington Post - Washington, D. C. July 11, 2001. Bembeya Jazz v Super Rail Band. Barbican, London; the Guardian, Tuesday 8 July 2003. Super Band Supreme: The outstanding return of Super Rail Band de Bamako. Bob Tarte. Miami News Times. January 22, 2004. FROM THE MOTHERLAND: Getting on track with Mali's Super Rail Band. Tom Cheyney. L. A. Weekly. July 25, 2002. CRITIC'S NOTEBOOK. BEN RATLIFF. New York Times. July 6, 2001. WORLD MUSIC REVIEW. JON PARELES. New York Times. July 16, 2002

Handel & Hendrix in London

Handel & Hendrix in London is a museum in Mayfair, London dedicated to the lives and works of the German-born British baroque composer George Frideric Handel and the American rock singer-guitarist Jimi Hendrix, who lived at 25 and 23 Brook Street respectively. Handel made his home in London in 1712 and became a British citizen in 1727. Handel was the first occupant of 25 Brook Street, which he rented from 1723 until his death there in 1759. All his works after 1723, amongst them many of his best-known operas and ceremonial music, were composed and rehearsed in the house, which contained a variety of keyboard instruments, including harpsichords, a clavichord and a small chamber organ; the museum was opened in 2001 by the Handel House Trust as the result of an initiative of the musicologist and Handelian Stanley Sadie in 1959. It comprises a restored set of period rooms on the first and second floors of 25 Brook Street together with exhibition rooms in number 23, the adjacent house on the terrace.

In 2016 the museum expanded to incorporate the upper floors of 23 Brook Street, home of Jimi Hendrix in the late 1960s. The original idea for establishing a museum at 25 Brook Street to commemorate its original and most notable occupant first occurred to the musicologist Stanley Sadie in 1959, at a party held there by the fashion company Viyella to commemorate the bicentenary of Handel's death. After a further 30 years, in the early 1990s Sadie and his wife Julie Anne set up the Handel House Trust, the charity which oversaw the conversion of the house into a museum; the house has been restored to look as it did during Handel's 36 year occupancy from 1723 to 1759. A typical early 18th century London terrace house, it comprises a basement, three main storeys and an attic, Handel was the first occupant; the attic was converted into a fourth full floor. The ground floor is a shop not associated with the Museum, the upper floors are leased to a charity called the Handel House Trust, have been open to the public since 8 November 2001.

The interiors have been restored to the somewhat spartan style of the Georgian era, using architectural elements from elsewhere, apart from the staircase, few of the original interior features survived. The Handel House Collection Trust has assembled a collection of Handel memorabilia, including the Byrne Collection of several hundred items, acquired in 1998. Handel acquired 25 Brook Street in the summer of 1723, shortly after having been appointed by George II as composer to the Chapel Royal, for which he was paid £400 per annum; the house had been newly built with Nos. 23, 27/29 and 31 by George Barnes as part of the planned extension of Brook Street, linking Hanover Square with Grosvenor Square, between 1717 and 1726. As a foreign national, Handel was not eligible to buy or take long term leases on property in London; the fact that he remained there for the rest of his life 40 years, is remarkable, since opera composers at the time were of fixed abode. At the age of 38, Handel had become accepted within the higher echelons of British society, with whom he mixed.

His immediate neighbours on either side were from the upper middle classes and included the Member of Parliament, John Monckton, who became the first Viscount Galway in 1727. The layout of the rooms followed the conventions for a modest Georgian townhouse: the basement contained the kitchens; the larger front first room was used for rehearsal and contained a harpsichord and a small house chamber organ. The museum contains a reproduction of a period harpsichord of the Flemish firm Ruckers. From the 1730s onwards there are many references to rehearsals of operas and oratorios at Brook Street by Handel's friends and fellow musicians. Listening to a rehearsal of Alcina with the soprano Anna Maria Strada, Mrs Pendarves commented, "Whilst Mr Handel was playing his part, I could not help thinking him a necromancer in the midst of his enchantments." The Messiah was rehearsed there. Handel's clavichord was built in 1726 by the Italian instrument maker Annibale Traeri from Modena; the remaining rooms on the second floor comprised a main bedroom containing a full tester bed dressed in crimson harateen, connected to a dressing room and closet in the back.

The servants, three or more in number, occupied the garret rooms on the floor above. Handel used his house not only for entertainment and rehearsal, but for business: in the