Skip to comments.Behind Al-Arian's facade (founded the World and Islam Studies Enterprise at USF a decade ago)
Posted on 11/01/2001 1:56:02 AM PST by Cincinatus' Wife
In 1995, after a suicide bombing operation carried out by Palestinian Islamic Jihad killed 21 Israeli soldiers, University of South Florida computer science professor Sami Al-Arian wrote a fund-raising letter in which he "call(s) upon you to try to extend true support to the jihad effort in Palestine so that operations such as these can continue." Many of Al-Arian's past statements and associations have raised suspicions that he was involved with terrorist organizations based in the Middle East. However, the fund-raising letter signed by al-Arian, shown during the Oct. 28 telecast of NBC's Dateline, is direct evidence of his active support for terrorism.
As usual, Al-Arian dismissed the story as old news and impugned the integrity of his critics. The videotapes and letters speak for themselves. When Al-Arian is seen and heard saying "let us damn America" and calling Jews "monkeys and pigs," no one needs to rely on his critics to interpret his remarks. And when he puts his signature on a letter soliciting funds for terrorist operations, his involvement isn't subject to misunderstanding.
Al-Arian claims he only "raised funds for the orphans" of suicide bombers. Please. It's no wonder he thinks he can get away with insulting people's intelligence. He has been playing his American hosts for fools for years, presenting a benign face to the general public while spewing the most hateful sort of venom in the company of fellow Islamic extremists.
The facade should have been stripped away years ago. Al-Arian founded the World and Islam Studies Enterprise at USF a decade ago. WISE sponsored events at USF and at other sites around the country, some of which featured radical Islamic speakers such as Sheik Omar Abdul Rahman, later convicted in connection with the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. WISE was shut down in 1995 after one of Al-Arian's WISE associates, Ramadan Shallah, left USF and popped up in Syria as the new leader of Palestinian Islamic Jihad -- the same terrorist organization for which Al-Arian was soliciting funds that year. Al-Arian claimed at the time to be shocked to learn of Shallah's association with PIJ.
Al-Arian is entitled to his political views, and supervisors say he has competently performed his duties as a computer science professor. However, USF administrators never should have allowed the university to be affiliated with WISE under the leadership of Al-Arian, who has no academic credentials in Islamic studies.
A 1996 report for USF prepared by Tampa lawyer Wm. Reece Smith somehow managed to find "no evidence" that Al-Arian or WISE had supported terrorism. For better or worse, USF officials allowed Al-Arian to keep his job then, despite the embarrassment he brought to the university by misrepresenting WISE's activities. There is no evidence that Al-Arian has engaged in fund-raising for PIJ or any other terrorist group since WISE was shut down in 1995. Still, the embarrassment to the university hasn't ended. USF President Judy Genshaft put Al-Arian on paid administrative leave again last month because of campus safety concerns after Al-Arian made a controversial appearance on Fox News Channel's The O'Reilly Factor. The recent national attention, some of which he actively courted, has backfired on Al-Arian. He is still a legal resident of the country he damned, and he may yet return to lecture (though presumably not on Middle Eastern politics) at the university he embarrassed. But he'll never again get away with the pretense that his ugly support for terrorism has been misunderstood.
Al-Arian later was reinstated, and people should understand that he has never been charged with any crime. Mazen Al-Najjar, Al-Arian's brother-in-law and WISE associate, was arrested at the same time and charged with visa violations. Al-Najjar then was imprisoned for more than three years based on supposed secret evidence that he was a threat to national security. He finally was released in December after a federal judge and then-Attorney General Janet Reno concluded that the evidence didn't warrant his imprisonment. Al-Najjar's mistreatment was an embarrassment to the judicial system. Al-Arian and Al-Najjar are not U.S. citizens, but they deserve the same presumption of innocence as any other U.S. resident. [End Excerpt]
People for the American Way Right Wing Watch Online
There ought to be a limit. But I guess the school administrators saw no harm. A lot of univ. still don't.
I live in Tampa and attended USF. On 9/11, there was an alleged incident, denied by the campus cops but reported by witnesses calling in to local radio, that a group of Arabic students were outside the USF library, (scene of many demonstrations) waving flags and cheering the destruction. AlArian was later that week suspended, WITH PAY, for his own protection following death threats.
Schlussel Archive: Debbie Does Politics---"ties" is a pretty misleading characterization.
No I don't. Anyone?
Here is their web page: University of South Florida
Check this out.
[A Palestinian educated in Egypt, Mr. al-Arian moved to North Carolina in 1975 to study engineering. After earning his doctorate, he got the job at the University of South Florida. Mr. al-Arian says he considers himself an American even though his application for citizenship in 1994 -- the same year his wife became a citizen -- has never been approved. They have five children, aged eight to 21.
Mr. al-Arian says he was always interested in politics and by 1991 had raised $100,000 from Saudi Arabian donors and others to start a think tank. His goal: to publish a scholarly journal and recruit Muslim scholars to balance what he saw as pro-Israel bias in American foreign policy and academic debate. Called the World and Islam Studies Enterprise, or WISE, its offices were in a converted apartment on a strip mall a mile from the university.]--Wall Street Journal Classroom Edition
That was 12 long years ago, can't we just get along?
< sarcasm >