LONDON – Details from an extraordinary exchange of letters between a care worker from Nottingham, in England’s East Midlands, and the alleged architect of the 9/11 attacks were revealed Saturday, offering an unprecedented insight into the mind of one the world’s most notorious Islamic militants.
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, 49, who is being held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, has endured the harshest of the CIA’s interrogation methods and allegedly confessed to a career of atrocities.
Pre-trial hearings before a military commission are due to be held at Guantanamo next month. In his letter to Rory Green, 25, Mohammed wrote: “I appreciate your deep concern regarding my worldly and hereafter life. . . . You asked me to repent from my sins. For your own information, I never stop.” Green began the correspondence when he was studying for a degree in athletics at Wingate University in North Carolina in 2011 after reading a newspaper article about Mohammed. A devout Christian, Green wrote: “I am not here to trick you, [or] make you feel worse than anybody in the world. There is hope in forgiveness through Jesus Christ.”
Two years later, Green has now received a 27-page reply, debating the virtues of Islam over Christianity.
At one point Mohammed compares the Bible’s view on murder to that of the Quran, quoting the latter as saying: “We decreed upon the children of Israel that whoever kills a soul unless for a soul or for corruption (done) in the land — it is as if he had slain mankind entirely.” He later adds: “We live in two different worlds; the world of Christianity and the world of Islam. That means we are not on the same page; we have . . . many different perceptions and convictions regarding the seen and the unseen world.”
Mohammed’s letter was written by hand and then transcribed and typed by his lawyers. Green, who is a care worker at a home for autistic adults, received the letter earlier this month, delayed in part due to his move back to the U.K. Explaining the delay, Mohammed wrote: “From my best knowledge of the 18th century, when your forefathers used to send letters from London to New York by sea, the mail would not take more than 25 days. We here in GTMO receive mail through the ICRC (Red Cross), family letters arrive very late. Sometimes it takes more than one and a half years. However, on a normal basis, it usually takes between two to eight months.”
Mohammed said that he, too, had been a student in North Carolina, at a Southern Baptist college and then at the state’s Agricultural and Technical University. Most of the letter is given over to theological and philosophical discussion.
“If there are 6 billion people who believe in Darwinism and believe that there is no God; they also believe that Moses’ and Jesus’ (Peace Be Upon Them) stories are old wives’ tales. But there are only 2 billion people who believe that the beliefs of 6 billion people are wrong. This doesn’t mean the convictions and perceptions of 6 billion people are true, because truth is not measured by majority. It could be that the convictions of the whole world are false and the conviction of one man is true.”
He added: “I think you are a smart student who has read the history of Europe in the Dark Ages and the story of Galileo, when the whole of Europe used to believe that the Earth is the center of the Universe and all the stars including the Sun circled the Earth; but only poor Galileo was saying something else, that it was the Earth which circled the Sun.”
He also offers a critique of the sex scandals rocking the Catholic Church.
The Bible contains some “immoral vulgar sex stories,” he wrote. “How can any normal unmarried young man read these stories and stay in a closed area with nuns and pretty, nice children — and in the bad sexualized environment in the West — without excitement or stirring up their normal sexual instincts?”
Green said: “I am not surprised by [the letter]. But I am in the sense that it is a very pleasant, very polite letter. He is obviously an educated individual, an intellectual. It must be so lonely in that prison. I just had this compassion for him. I thought this man needs Jesus as much as the average Joe — who else is going to reach out to this man with love and prayers?”
Green said he would write back, adding: “I think terrorism is disgusting and senseless. If he is guilty, I pray for justice to be done, whatever that looks like to the courts. But this man is in a serious life-threatening situation. I just want to build a relationship, be his friend, talk to him more about his faith.”
Captured in hiding in Pakistan in 2003, Mohammed is accused of murder, hijacking and terrorism and faces the death sentence if convicted.
Friday, one of his military lawyers, Maj. Derek Poteet, said: “I believe Mr. Mohammed was touched by Mr. Green’s letter and wanted to respond to share his own faith.”