It doesn’t seem like it’s been that long, but as Robert Spencer reminds us today in an article for Human Events, “A Jailed Jihadists Unhappy Anniversary”, this week marks the fifth anniversary of Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist leader Sami Al-Arian’s incarceration. Happy Anniversary, Sami!
He pled guilty to conspiracy to assist a terrorist organization and was sentenced to 57 months in prison.
Here’s what he admitted to, courtesy of the Department of Justice:
Al-Arian admits that he performed services for the PIJ in 1995 and thereafter, when he was a professor at the University of South Florida and after he knew that the PIJ had been designated by President Clinton as a terrorist organization. Al-Arian also acknowledges in the plea agreement that he knew the PIJ used acts of violence as a means to achieve its objectives. Nevertheless, Al-Arian continued to assist the terrorist organization, for instance, by filing official paperwork to obtain immigration benefits for PIJ associate Bashir Nafi, and concealing the terrorist associations of various individuals associated with the PIJ. He further admits to assisting PIJ associate Mazen al-Najjar in a federal court proceeding, a proceeding in which al-Najjar and Nafi both falsely claimed under oath that they were not associated with the PIJ. Moreover, Al-Arian acknowledges that in late 1995, when Ramadan Shallah, co-conspirator and former director of Al-Arian’s “think tank,” the World and Islam Studies Enterprise (WISE) was named as the new Secretary General of the PIJ, Al-Arian falsely denied to the media that he knew of Shallah’s association with PIJ.But we should be reminded that one of his last appearances before heading to the pokey was here in Columbus, where he spoke in October 2002 for the Ohio State Muslim Students Association. Here’s a report of the OSUMSA event with the now-convicted terrorist leader Al-Arian:
EDUCATOR LAMENTS ‘ATTACKS’ ON MUSLIMSAs we now know, he was lying the entire time about his involvement with terrorism and his protestations of innocence were nothing but lies. In fact at his sentencing, that was the very conclusion that trial judge James Moody arrived at, calling Al-Arian “a master manipulator”, saying at his sentencing hearing:
October 17, 2002
A Florida professor suspended for alleged ties to terrorism said he’s been accused in all of the major terrorist acts in the United States, but got into trouble after Sept. 11 because of a growing disregard for civil rights.
Sami Al Arian, a professor at the University of South Florida, said he and other Muslims were “attacked” after two attacks at the World Trade Center — in 1993 and on Sept. 11, 2001 — and the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.
His talk to a group of about 80 people last night at Ohio State University was arranged by OSU’s Muslim Student Association.
“These kinds of attacks have been taking place for years, especially since 1995, but liberties have only been threatened since Sept. 11 because America feels hysteria,” Al Arian said. “Everybody is engulfed in the feeling of insecurity.”
He said he founded a research institute to try to debunk the belief that Muslims and Americans have an inherent “clash of cultures” and since then has been under a cloud of suspicion.
“The theory to us is not right, and we wanted to do something about it.”
His pro-Palestinian views, however, have led to accusations that he helped fund terrorist groups.
That’s the pretext the University of South Florida in Tampa has used to suspend him and take steps toward firing him from his job as a computer-science teacher.
He denied any such funding and said there’s been no proof of it. The university has filed a lawsuit against Al Arian.
Al Arian said his story became overblown when a Fox TV reporter “baited” him to be interviewed on a news show after the Sept. 11 attack.
Comments he made — including “death to Israel” — years before were reported out of context, Al Arian said.
He was then banned from campus “for safety reasons” and, a short time later, the university’s trustees — buckling to “pro-Zionist” pressure — moved to suspend him.
“If I had said ‘death to God,’ I would not be here today. This issue here is freedom of speech.”
Attitudes toward Muslims have developed since the fall of the former Soviet Union, with Muslims being made America’s new enemy, he said.
“People are busy looking for an enemy, and that enemy was found in Islam. Instead of a Red Scare, it’s a Green Scare.”
Dr. Al-Arian, as usual, you speak very eloquently. I find it interesting that here in public in front of everyone you praised this country, the same country that in private you referred to as “the great Satan”; but that’s just evidence of how you operate in the face of your friends and neighbors. You are a master manipulator. You looked your neighbors in the eyes and said you had nothing to do with the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. This trial exposed that as a lie.Al-Arian remains in prison for refusing to testify before a federal grand jury about the involvement of his associates in terrorist financing in the US. Last year a federal appeals court rejected his claim that he was exempt from testifying as a result of his plea agreement. So thus he remains in prison while he continues to obstruct justice.
Your back-up claim is that your efforts were only to provide charities for widows and orphans. That, too, is a lie. The evidence was clear in this case that you were a leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. You were on the board of directors and an officer, the secretary. Directors control the actions of an organization, even the PIJ; and you were an active leader.
Oh, and as for those comments “taken out of context”, I invite you to see for yourself. Such as his “Let us damn America!” speech (a speech delivered in Cleveland). Or his “Jihad is our path, death to Israel” speech. These had been made public several years BEFORE he appeared at OSU.
Now Al-Arian’s supporters will claim that they were duped, but there were very few people who by the time he appeared at OSU in 2002 still believed he was innocent. Even worse, many of these same organizations, including the Muslim Student Association, continue to back him even after he admitted his terrorist ties. Some are even hailing him as the new Martin Luther King, Jr. and a civil rights icon.
The reality is that Sami Al-Arian is a liar and terrorist, and thanks to the OSUMSA, he was brought into our community. As I will be reporting later, Al-Arian’s appearance in Central Ohio was not the first time that a terrorist leader had been to our area. Stay tuned!