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"Coddling" a Terrorist Pays for Our Freedoms

Reader comment on item: Coddling a Terrorist [Sami Al-Arian] Costs Votes

Submitted by Jonathan Finkelstein (United States), Oct 19, 2004 at 14:10

I am responding only to your article and the hyperlinks within it. I am not otherwise familiar with the situation in the U.S. Senate race in Florida. I am no supporter of any individual facilitating terrorist acts. However, as a loyal American citizen, I strongly support the rights we are provided in our Constitution and other codes of law. That a state university president would "tolerate" the employment of a tenured professor who had been accused by a journalist of heading a support group for Islamic Jihad makes good sense to me. Until a thorough investigation by appropriate authorities yielded an indictment, which happened some nine years after the Emerson documentary and three years after President Castor left the university, her temporary administrative suspension of Al-Arian was reasonably the most severe action she should have taken.

On the other hand, had Al-Arian urged his students at USF to engage in terrorist acts, or to support terrorist organizations, or deprived them of learning about reasons why they should not act in those ways, or threatened to give them lowered grades in his courses for expressing opposing views, the university president would have grounds to take a disciplinary personnel action. Nothing in your article indicates that those, or comparable, conditions obtained at USF.

Further, you conclude that "how American politicians deal with [Islamist terrorism] is becoming more central to their attractiveness as candidates and their stature as leaders." That appears reasonable, but what is needed are level-headed, effective, legal, and legitimate ways to deal with terrorism. "Firing" a tenured professor without appropriate cause doesn't meet that standard in my book.

Submitting....

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