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 >
Is this "professor" even a citizen?
Check out LINK at Post # 18.
USF Provost S. David Stamps (issued Sept. 12, 2001): [Text below]
This morning, on Sept. 12, 2001, we return to daily business while yesterday's nightmare is still unfolding before us. My sympathy goes out to the many people who were injured or who lost friends and family in this national catastrophe. Few, if any of us, are untouched by the ramifications of this tragic event.
Even as we mourn, we must remember that as academic leaders, teachers and scholars, we have an important responsibility. More than ever, we need to set an example of calm and reasoned response, assisting our students to maintain a climate that values open dialogue and rational discussion. This is not the time to lash out in anger, or to foster hatred for our neighbors. Indeed, others will be looking to us for explanation and understanding. We must not let them down.
As we all know, this is a watershed moment, which will not be over soon. We do not know how events will develop, and we learn more about the causes and implications of the tragedy each day. We owe it to our students to allow time and space for both mourning and debate in an environment of mutual respect and freedom. These are the values for which our university and our nation must continue to stand. Thank you.
Thank you for the information!
Why is he still here and on PAID leave from a U.S. university? This is OUTRAGEOUS!
The National Press Club should be Freeped mightily for giving these ex-cons, misfits, and traitors a soapbox.
In 1995, Al-Najjar was completing his doctorate in industrial management at the University of South Florida, where he taught Arabic as an adjunct professor. A Palestinian refugee born in Gaza and educated in Egypt, he had lived in the United States on a student visa for 10 years.
He worked as a volunteer researcher with his brother-in-law, USF colleague and fellow Palestinian Sami Al-Arian.
The two men were devoted to Al-Arian's brainchild, a USF-sponsored research center called the World and Islam Studies Enterprise, or WISE. Both say the purpose of the center, which operated out of a cramped USF office on a budget of about $20,000 a year, was to bring U.S. and Middle Eastern scholars together to discuss political and economic issues in that part of the world.
Today, at 43, Al-Najjar is still battling deportation, a process that could take years. In the meantime, the government is refusing to give him a work permit. He and his wife are living on her salary as a pharmacist and what little he can make as a translator and lecturer.
He also teaches at the Islamic Academy of Florida, a small school where Al-Arian, his former WISE colleague, is the principal. Islamic Academy of Florida faculity and staff
This guy escapes the hellhole that is the Islamic Middle East, then tries to destroy the country that takes him in, and we can't boot him out because of our own rules! As a society/country, we're insane! When will sanity prevail?
Debbie Schlussel of World Net Daily says Bush also supported them.:
Daniel Pipes and Steven Emerson also reported in the WSJ, in August, 2001:
Meanwhile, the person in charge of ICP and WISE was also a tenured professor at the University of South Florida named Sami Al Arian. Despite what has been known for years about the ICP and WISE, he remains in good standing at his university and has even attended four White House events in the past four years.
Pipes full article:
I think its way past time to be very, very, watchful of politicians who continue to accept support from Muslim groups in this country including our President, whom, I fear, may allow his admiration of religion, however laudable, to cloud his judgement.
I believe George W. Bush has his eyes WIDE open about these guys now.
I sincerely hope you're right -- I don't think I can stand any more rhetoric about "the religion of peace," no matter how necessary to the war effort.
For years he's on PAID leave!!!! He has a job as the principal of the Islamic Academy of Florida.
Let those parents support him. I don't think many others want to keep him fed and housed here in the U.S.
Everyone should read The Closed Circle by David Pryce-Jones.
Mohammad Rahat says he made the remark ``in a sarcastic way.'' But it caused enough of a stir that the university fired him -- an action that Rahat blames not only on his politically charged words, which also criticized U.S. foreign policy, but on his citizenship: Iranian.
``If the same thing had occurred with someone of a different background, it would have resulted in a different outcome,'' Rahat said Thursday outside his former job site on UM's Jackson Memorial Hospital campus. ``This was discrimination.''
Paula Musto, UM's vice president of university relations, confirmed Thursday that Rahat was fired in September because of what he said at work. But she denied that discrimination was at issue, saying that UM has ``many, many Arab and Muslim students, faculty and staff.''
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - A Palestinian man who was held for 31/2 years on secret evidence was arrested Saturday for violating his visa and will be deported as a threat to national security, the Department of Justice (news - web sites) said Saturday.
The Justice Department said in a statement Saturday that Mazen Al-Najjar has ties to alleged terrorist front organizations, including a University of South Florida Islamic studies group.
``This case underscores the Justice Department's commitment to address terrorism by using all legal authorities available,'' the agency's statement said. Justice Department officials did not immediately return calls for comment.
Martin Schwartz, an attorney for Al-Najjar, said he would fight the decision.
``The government is using him as a guinea pig to test their powers to detain foreigners,'' Schwartz said. ``The government is aware Dr. Al-Najjar has no travel documents allowing him re-entry to the United Arab Emirates or any other country.''
The arrest came after the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta upheld Al-Najjar's final deportation order, which would send him to the United Arab Emirates. Al-Najjar lived there before coming to the United States in the 1980s.
Al-Najjar was being held Saturday at the Federal Correctional Institution at Coleman, about 65 miles north of Tampa.
Al-Najjar, whose visa expired several years ago, was arrested in 1997 on secret evidence as a threat to national security. He spent 31/2 years in prison based on a one-sentence summary of classified evidence against him before he was freed in December 2000. At the time of his release, former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno (news - web sites) said Al-Najjar could be deported for visa violations.
He helped run the Islamic studies group, called World and Islam Studies Enterprises, and a Palestinian charity in the early 1990s. He has been in the United States for 20 years.
The U.S. government maintained that the Florida organizations fronted for the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, which has claimed responsibility for terrorist bombings in the Middle East, including two this month.
The World and Islam Studies Enterprises, which was founded by Al-Najjar's brother-in-law, Sami Al-Arian, was raided by the FBI in 1995 and its assets were frozen. Al-Arian has been on paid leave from USF since late September pending an internal review of campus safety and an investigation of a telephone death threat he received.
A former head of the think tank, Ramadan Abdulah Shallah, left it in 1995 and resurfaced as the head of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
Al-Najjar has never seen the secret evidence against him. He and his wife have three U.S.-born daughters. [End]
In 1998, Egypt issued Al-Najjar a new travel document in anticipation that Guyana, in South America, would take him. Although Guyana backed out of the deal for reasons that Hohenstein says were never clear, Al-Najjar was left with a valid travel document. It is this second document that the government says Al-Najjar refused to hand over: the equivalent of the "valid passport" sought by the UAE as a condition of his entry.
In a June 20, 2000, letter submitted to the court, Agieb Bilal, the former principal of the Islamic Academy of Florida, said the ruler of the emirate of Sharjah told him in a December 1999 meeting that Al-Najjar would not be welcome unless the United States disclosed the classified information concerning his alleged terrorist ties. The Islamic Academy, a private school in Tampa, is now run by Al-Najjar's brother-in-law, Sami Al-Arian. Al-Arian and Al-Najjar worked together in the 1990s at a University of South Florida think tank that was investigated for alleged ties to Palestinian Islamic Jihad. No charges were filed.
I find it interesting that, although not a Marxist himself, this provocateur uses Marxist-Leninist tactics. It was Lenin who said that the "capitalists will sell us the rope on which we shall hang them." In light of this, ask: how could this shady fellow "found" the center at the USF?
The article does not say that he funded it. Then, who did? Who were the donors? Who on the University side was running the operation? Typically this requires schmoozing from the Dean, alumni-contact departments, etc. For some reason, no reporter goes "there."
Where is Cincinnatus when you need him? Has he gone back to his farm?
Ha! He's around, sewing the seeds of conservatism.
That judge was backed up by then, Attorney General, Janet Reno.
Ha! He's around, sewing the seeds of conservatism.
Like some of the hijackers that toppled the World Trade Center, Alqahtani had attended flight schools in Florida, trying to attain a commercial pilot's license. He said FBI agents questioned him about a Saudi Arabian Airlines seating chart containing a photograph of an airliner.
In his address book seized by authorities, he listed a friend named Ahmed Alghamdi, a Saudi Arabian pilot who shares the same name as one of the alleged hijackers. Alqahtani said he has no connection to the attacks.
``I told him there's over a 1,000 men with the name Alghamdi in Saudi Arabia,'' he said.
Alqahtani said the FBI also questioned him about Mazen Al-Najjar, a Palestinian and former instructor at the University of South Florida who has been the target of a government investigation since the mid-1990s when two groups he helped lead were linked to terrorists. Al-Najjar has denied supporting terrorists.
Al-Najjar spent nearly four years in INS custody on secret evidence and without being charged with a crime before he was released in December. He was arrested Nov. 24 on a deportation order and his attorneys are considering asking the U.S. Supreme Court for a stay of the deportation.
Alqahtani said he needed someone to translate his high school graduation certificate from Arabic when he arrived in Tampa in 1994. A friend recommended Al-Najjar and Alqahtani said he paid him $200 and picked up the translation three days later. ``That's it,'' Alqahtani said.
Al-Najjar was a certified translator for the Hillsborough County court system and frequently provided the service, said Sami Al-Arian, his brother-in-law in Tampa.
Alqahtani said about 10 to 15 men inside Krome share similar tales. Some men of the men are from Jordan. An Indonesian pilot told him he has been questioned by the FBI over the past month.
He said he's told his wife they should not be surprised by their detainment following the attacks -- but he hopes they'll release her soon.
``I want her to get out. This is the first time for her that she's been arrested and she can't believe it,'' Alqahtani said. ``I am not a criminal. Why are they putting me through this?'' [End]