The Terror-Aiding Prof[:Sami Al-Arian]
by Daniel Pipes
Translations of this item:
Sami Al-Arian, a tenured professor at the University of South Florida (USF) in Tampa, might lose his job any day now. Most coverage of his problems portrays the computer scientist as the victim of a political witch-hunt - and so misses the real story, which is about his links to terrorism.
A New York Times editorial criticizing USF for planning to fire Al-Arian gives the impression that the issue is a long-ago speech calling for "victory to Islam" and "death to Israel." Salon.com's account suggests the Palestinian prof might be dismissed for merely failing to inform viewers of a television show that his political views "did not necessarily reflect" those of USF.
The university administration has stumbled over itself, raising inconsistent grounds for letting go of Al-Arian. One moment, it says his activities "outside the scope of his employment . . . had an adverse impact on the legitimate interests of the University." Next, USF announces it "cannot guarantee the safety of Dr. Al-Arian and students, faculty and staff around him" should he remain on campus. It also accuses him of trespassing on university property after having been banned from it. Oh, and it complains that his case has cost the university lots of money.
None of these poor excuses is the real grounds for sacking Al-Arian. Unfortunately, finding out the real problem is not easy. Fortunately, there is a source for it - the same investigative reporter who first broke the Al-Arian story back in 1994. Steven Emerson devotes a chapter of his hard-hitting, brand-new book American Jihad: The Terrorists Living among Us (Free Press) to the USF saga.
There and in other writings, Emerson reveals the good professor's activities:
Emerson reports that the FBI, while searching the WISE offices, "uncovered one of the largest collections of terrorist fund-raising and propaganda material ever seized in the United States." It also discovered many connections between WISE and international terrorists.
Al-Arian, in short, has been an integral part of the terror network that Americans now find themselves at war with. His case is not about academic freedom of speech but about a professor being held accountable for being part of a terrorist apparatus that has killed Americans.
The media (with the notable exception of The Tampa Tribune) has largely ignored Professor Al-Arian's terrorist activities, as have faculty labor unions, student groups, Islamic organizations and civil libertarians.
Fortunately, Steven Emerson is there to provide documentation and explanation. More than any other source, his American Jihad accurately and courageously informs the government and people of the United States in detail that their enemy in the war on terror resides not just in the caves of Afghanistan but also in their very midst, even at their leading universities.
Encouraging USF President Judy Genshaft (firstname.lastname@example.org) to stand up to the misinformed pressure groups might help her make the right decision about Al-Arian's position. It's important she expel him, both to absolve her institution of "Jihad U" charges and to show that American universities are doing their part in the war on terrorism.
Reader comments (1) on this item
Comment on this item
You can help support Daniel Pipes' work by making a tax-deductible donation to the Middle East Forum. Daniel J. Pipes