Years of investigation fail to unearth any wrongdoing in the case of Palestinian professor

Empowering Weak & Oppressed

Waseem Shehzad

Rabi' al-Awwal 11, 1418 1997-07-16


by Waseem Shehzad (World, Crescent International Vol. 26, No. 10, Rabi' al-Awwal, 1418)

Nearly three years after the scandalous allegations made against him in the documentary, ‘Jihad in America’, US law enforcement agencies have come up with nothing to implicate Dr Sami al-Arian, a University of South Florida (USF) professor, in any wrongdoing. The centre-piece of the allegation was his guilt by association with Dr Abdallah Shallah. The latter, also teaching at the USF, became leader of Islamic Jihad when Dr Fathi Shiqaqi was martyred by the Israeli Mossad in October 1995 in Malta.

Professor Al-Arian’s other ‘crime’ was that he had established the World and Islamic Studies Enterprise (WISE), an academic body affiliated with the university. His real crime was that he is a Palestinian and has Islamic sympathies.

In the television documentary, first aired on November 21, 1994 on the American network, Public Broadcasting System (PBS), the producer Steve Emerson made wild allegations. Among them that professor Arian was closely linked with Islamic Jihad in Palestine and that WISE was a ‘command and control’ centre for the group in North America. Emerson also alleged that WISE collected funds in North America to fund terrorism in Palestine.

US federal agents have now dropped most of their investigations except for a money laundering probe, which according to one Customs investigation official ‘has yet to show any of the money was used illegally, much less to fund terrorism’ (Associated Press report published in the Tampa Times, May 27, 1997). The irony is that the university was never approached by law-enforcement agencies to provide any information. It was the university itself which contacted the FBI to look into the matter, according to USF president Betty Castor.

And Castor is bitter about the manner in which allegations were bandied about without even trying to ascertain the truth. She is not alone. USF officials feel they were politically mugged by anti-terrorism hysteria in the US, generated by Emerson’s scandalous fiction.

WISE was established in 1990 jointly by professor Al-Arian and Dr Khalil Shiqaqi, brother of Dr Fathi Shiqaqi. It was and remains purely an academic institution interested in promoting a better understanding of Islam and the Palestinian cause. Similarly, professor Al-Arian had established the Islamic Committee for Palestine. Its purpose, never denied, was and remains to support Middle East orphans.

Lawyers for professor Al-Arian have challenged federal officials to give one shred of evidence that any of the money raised was used for anything other than supporting orphans. And each and every penny has been accounted for. Investigators poured over 60 boxes of documents, 1200 audiotapes, 600 videotapes and 280 megabytes of computer files that they had seized from professor Al-Arian. They have found absolutely nothing. They even went over letters exchanged between the Shiqaqi brothers, hoping to find some wild conspiracy being hatched. All they found was personal details about family matters.

These Muslims were never involved in anything illegal. All the wild allegations existed in the warped mind of Emerson, the Zionist agent who is out on a personal crusade to tarnish Muslims. His cheap sensationalism helps promote his third-rate journalistic career. He touts himself as a ‘terrorism expert’. This so-called expert had said, on the CBS television, immediately after the April 19, 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, that it had all the hallmarks of Middle Eastern terrorists.

This outrageous allegation cost the Muslims dearly. More than 200 incidents of violence were committed against them within days of the Oklahoma City bombing. The Oklahoma bombing was carried out by good old homegrown Americans fed up with the kind of manipulation Emerson and his Zionist ilk are involved in. The average American loathes the Zionist gridlock on their country and the billions that are pilfered to support the Israeli State while Americans go hungry, without shelter or health insurance.

While the truth is slowly coming out in professor Al-Arian’s case, the media and official witch-hunt is not over yet. On May 19, 1997, Dr Mazen al-Najjar, another Palestinian who served as editor of Qiraat Siyasiyyah (Political Readings) a highly acclaimed academic journal published by WISE, was arrested by FBI and immigration and naturalisation service (INS) agents. A week earlier, he had been served a deportation order to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). He does not hold a UAE or any other country’s passport.

Dr Najjar has resided in the US for 13 years; both his daughters are US born. His parents are legally resident in the US. His application for US was halted following the Emerson documentary. He also became the victim of the Zionist witchhunt.

There are many Muslims in the US who are targeted in this manner. Their only crime is that they are politically active and support causes that the Zionists are fighting against. Emerson, for instance, routinely refers to Hamas, the Islamic group in Palestine, as a terrorist organisation. Hamas has several wings, most of which are involved in relief work.

As far as the Zionists are concerned, they would like to stop even relief work from being supported. The sadists that they are, they not only want to kill the young stone-throwing Palestinians but also want to prevent any help from reaching their families.

And in this, they seem to have found willing accomplices among US agencies which are struggling to find a new role for themselves following the demise of communism. Their victims are innocent Muslims.

Zionist terrorism is now raging in the US, with renewed vigour and much greater fury.

Muslimedia - July 16-31, 1997

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