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2001 Who is Richard Reid?

The Shoe Bomber


 You are in: UK  
Friday, 28 December, 2001, 13:32 GMT

Who is Richard Reid?
Richard Reid
Reid has pleaded guilty to all eight charges against him

Conviction - Sentence
My Thoughts

London-born Richard Reid has been sentenced in the United States after admitting trying to blow up a commercial flight using bombs hidden in his shoes.

The son of an English mother and Jamaican father, so-called "shoe bomber" Richard Reid was born in 1973 in the London suburb of Bromley.
I was not there to give him the love and affection he should have got
Richard Reid's father
It is hardly a natural breeding ground for dissidents - the borough's schools are among the UK's best, and street crime is half that in smarter areas such as Kensington and Chelsea.

The young Reid is said to have attended Thomas Tallis secondary school in Blackheath, south-east London, from 1984 to 1989.

His father, Robin, told BBC News he had been in prison for most of Richard's childhood.

"I was not there to give him the love and affection he should have got," he said.

His son fell into a life of petty crime and in the mid-1990s was jailed for a string of muggings, for which he served sentences in a number of prisons, including Feltham young offenders' institution in west London.

It was while at Feltham that Reid is said to have converted to Islam.


After his release, he followed the path taken by many other Muslim prisoners, to Brixton Mosque, in south London.

The place of worship has a reputation for attracting converts and helping ex-offenders re-adjust to life in the outside world.
Inmates at Feltham
Reid said to have converted to Islam at Feltham young offenders' institution
Initially he fitted in well. Taking the name Abdel Rahim, he became known for his willingness to get involved in the workings of the mosque and to learn Arabic.

But at some point Reid began to get involved with extremist elements, says the chairman of Brixton Mosque, Abdul Haqq Baker.

Reid was "tempted away" by "individuals who set up a few years ago away from the mosque", Mr Baker says.

"Their teachings were a lot more militant."

He says extremists worked on "weak characters" and believes Reid was "very, very impressionable".

Reid attended external classes and started to question the peaceful philosophy of his teachers.

Change in appearance

His appearance also changed, says Mr Baker. He went from wearing western clothes to the traditional Islamic thobe - a loose, long-sleeved, ankle-length garment - with a khaki combat jacket on top.
Abdul Haqq Baker outside the Brixton Mosque
Abdul Haqq Baker: "Reid was very impressionable"
There is speculation that at some point during his drift to a more extreme philosophy, he may have met Zacarias Moussaoui, who has been charged in the US with conspiracy over the 11 September attacks.

Mr Moussaoui, a Frenchman of Moroccan origin, also attended the Brixton Mosque during the 1990s but was expelled for his extreme views and his attempts to impose them on the younger, more easily influenced members.

Towards the end of 1998, Reid ceased worshipping at the mosque and is thought to have moved to Pakistan.

He reportedly sent several letters written in Arabic to friends in London. His mother, Lesley Hughes, who is separated from Reid's father, also believed he was in Pakistan.

But mother and son eventually lost contact and in summer 2001 Ms Hughes telephoned Brixton Mosque seeking news.

About the same time, Reid is believed to have embarked on an extensive travel programme, which saw him visit seven countries including some of the world's so-called "terror capitals".

Gone missing

He is thought to have spent time in Egypt, Israel, Turkey, Pakistan, Belgium, the Netherlands, France and possibly Afghanistan.

Zacarias Moussaoui
Moussaoui: Charged with conspiracy over 11 September attacks
Commentators have suggested he may have used some of these excursions to test the security arrangements on various airlines, before boarding American Airlines flight 63 from Paris to Miami on 22 December 2001.

He was overpowered by passengers and crew on the flight after trying to set light to a fuse connected to the explosives.

It has also been reported that a computer allegedly used by al-Qaeda leaders in Afghanistan contained files with details of a "scouting" trip Reid is believed to have carried out to identify targets to attack.

The computer files describe an operative known as Brother Abdul Ra'uff who travelled to the same countries Reid is believed to have spent time in.

Like Reid, the operative travelled on a British passport and was closely questioned by Israeli security.

As a result of the files the United States Government laid new charges against Mr Reid, including attempted murder.


Reid: 'I am at war with your country'

Friday, January 31, 2003 Posted: 11:10 AM EST (1610 GMT)

(CNN) – The following is a partial transcript of Thursday's court hearing in which Richard Reid was sentenced to life in prison for his confessed plan to try and blow up a jetliner with explosives he had hidden in his shoes. The exchange is between Reid and Judge William Young.

RICHARD REID: I start by praising Allah because life today is no good. I bear witness to this and he alone is right to be worshiped. And I bear witness that Muhammad Sa'laat Alayhi as-Salaam is his last prophet and messenger who is sent to all of mankind for guidance, with the sound guidance for everyone.

Concerning what the Court said? I admit, I admit my actions and I further, I further state that I done them.

JUDGE WILLIAM YOUNG: I didn't hear the last. I admit my actions and then what did you say?

REID: I further admit my allegiance to Osama bin Laden, to Islam, and to the religion of Allah. With regards to what you said about killing innocent people, I will say one thing. Your government has killed 2 million children in Iraq. If you want to think about something, against 2 million, I don't see no comparison.

Your government has sponsored the rape and torture of Muslims in the prisons of Egypt and Turkey and Syria and Jordan with their money and with their weapons. I don't know, see what I done as being equal to rape and to torture, or to the deaths of the two million children in Iraq.

So, for this reason, I think I ought not apologize for my actions. I am at war with your country. I'm at war with them not for personal reasons but because they have murdered more than, so many children and they have oppressed my religion and they have oppressed people for no reason except that they say we believe in Allah.

This is the only reason that America sponsors Egypt. It's the only reason they sponsor Turkey. It's the only reason they back Israel.

As far as the sentence is concerned, it's in your hand. Only really it is not even in your hand. It's in Allah's hand. I put my trust in Allah totally and I know that he will give victory to his religion. And he will give victory to those who believe and he will destroy those who wish to oppress the people because they believe in Allah.

So you can judge and I leave you to judge. And I don't mind. This is all I have to say. And I bear witness to Muhammad this is Allah's message.

YOUNG: Mr. Richard C. Reid, hearken now to the sentence the Court imposes upon you.

On counts 1, 5 and 6 the Court sentences you to life in prison in the custody of the United States Attorney General. On counts 2, 3, 4 and 7, the Court sentences you to 20 years in prison on each count, the sentence on each count to run consecutive one with the other. That's 80 years.

On Count 8 the Court sentences you to the mandatory 30 years consecutive to the 80 years just imposed. The Court imposes upon you on each of the eight counts a fine of $250,000 for the aggregate fine of $2 million.

The Court accepts the government's recommendation with respect to restitution and orders restitution in the amount of $298.17 to Andre Bousquet and $5,784 to American Airlines.

The Court imposes upon you the $800 special assessment.

The Court imposes upon you five years supervised release simply because the law requires it. But the life sentences are real life sentences so I need not go any further.

This is the sentence that is provided for by our statutes. It is a fair and a just sentence. It is a righteous sentence. Let me explain this to you.

We are not afraid of any of your terrorist co-conspirators, Mr. Reid. We are Americans. We have been through the fire before. There is all too much war talk here. And I say that to everyone with the utmost respect.

Here in this court where we deal with individuals as individuals, and care for individuals as individuals, as human beings we reach out for justice.

You are not an enemy combatant. You are a terrorist. You are not a soldier in any war. You are a terrorist. To give you that reference, to call you a soldier gives you far too much stature. Whether it is the officers of government who do it or your attorney who does it, or that happens to be your view, you are a terrorist.

And we do not negotiate with terrorists. We do not treat with terrorists. We do not sign documents with terrorists.

We hunt them down one by one and bring them to justice.

So war talk is way out of line in this court. You're a big fellow. But you're not that big. You're no warrior. I know warriors. You are a terrorist. A species of criminal guilty of multiple attempted murders.

In a very real sense Trooper Santiago had it right when first you were taken off that plane and into custody and you wondered where the press and where the TV crews were and you said you're no big deal. You're no big deal.

What your counsel, what your able counsel and what the equally able United States attorneys have grappled with and what I have as honestly as I know how tried to grapple with, is why you did something so horrific. What was it that led you here to this courtroom today? I have listened respectfully to what you have to say. And I ask you to search your heart and ask yourself what sort of unfathomable hate led you to do what you are guilty and admit you are guilty of doing.

And I have an answer for you. It may not satisfy you. But as I search this entire record it comes as close to understanding as I know.

It seems to me you hate the one thing that to us is most precious. You hate our freedom. Our individual freedom. Our individual freedom to live as we choose, to come and go as we choose, to believe or not believe as we individually choose.

Here, in this society, the very winds carry freedom. They carry it everywhere from sea to shining sea. It is because we prize individual freedom so much that you are here in this beautiful courtroom. So that everyone can see, truly see that justice is administered fairly, individually, and discretely.

It is for freedom's seek that your lawyers are striving so vigorously on your behalf and have filed appeals, will go on in their, their representation of you before other judges. We care about it. Because we all know that the way we treat you, Mr. Reid, is the measure of our own liberties.

Make no mistake though. It is yet true that we will bear any burden; pay any price, to preserve our freedoms.

Look around this courtroom. Mark it well. The world is not going to long remember what you or I say here. Day after tomorrow it will be forgotten. But this, however, will long endure. Here, in this courtroom, and courtrooms all across America, the American people will gather to see that justice, individual justice, justice, not war, individual justice is in fact being done.

The very President of the United States through his officers will have to come into courtrooms and lay out evidence on which specific matters can be judged, and juries of citizens will gather to sit and judge that evidence democratically, to mold and shape and refine our sense of justice.

See that flag, Mr. Reid? That's the flag of the United States of America. That flag will fly there long after this is all forgotten. That flag still stands for freedom. You know it always will. Custody, Mr. Officer. Stand him down.

REID: That flag will be brought down on the Day of Judgment and you will see in front of your Lord and my Lord and then we will know. (Whereupon the defendant was removed from the courtroom.)

YOUNG: We'll recess. All rise.

My Thoughts


It is Friday December 13, 2003 and I have been in Stavropol, Russia since October 15 working on this web site. Last week terrorist blew up a commuter train about 10 miles from here. It was mainly students going to Pyatigorsk that were killed and injured. At this time 47 have died so far. September 3 the same train was blown up murdering 7. Islamists following the Orthodox teaching of Islamic texts taught in mainstream Islamic school did this.

The flow of oil money to Islamic countries has funded the building of Orthodox Islamic schools, full-time where possible. This is being done in China, Russia, the European Union, the USA, Africa and else ware in every country that Moslems have immigrated to and evangelized. Where possible this is being done to replace public schools.

While in Islamic countries it is the death penalty for one to convert from Islam to a different religion and the death penalty for the one converting a Moslem.

There are historical reports of Islamic armies attacking peaceful villages and killing all the men and raping the women. This is recorded by the UN as happening to some extent now in 2004 in the Sudanese province of Darfur, where a government-backed Arab militia is murdering civilians, raping women and and pillaging the land of black non-Arab tribes. Also there are historical reports of captured people in groups being brought one at a time and given a choice then killing those that refused to convert to Islam and filling the street with piles of bodies hacked to death at the point of questioning (evangelization can mean convert or die). The killing still goes on for non- Moslems in the Sudan and other countries. The cult cleansing by intimidation goes on in Islamic communities all over the world. Some of the worst killing has been inter-cult conflict like between Sunni and Shia sects.

Children are victims of the culture they are born into. Children born to a cannibal culture are forced by the culture to become cannibals.

We live in a time when the Islamists are victimizing their children with hatred. Dehumanization of non-Muslims has been used as a reason to kill ever since Mohamed justified killing the Jews in his hometown and taking their goods as booty with Allah's blessing. It became a way of life that has lived since enshrined in the Koran. I have a copy and read it.

Read the history of Mohamed's start. It was by killing people and taking their material goods as booty. He made this process a religion, a political system, and a culture that has the trappings of law and the blessings of the god Allah.