Al-Arian show comes to Fresno

Sami al-ArianSami al-Arian is a former faculty member at the University of South Florida. He pled guilty in 2006 of raising funds for the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a terrorist organization, after being charged in 2003 with numerous terrorism-related offenses.

The case dragged on for almost three years, and the jury was unable to decide on a verdict on most of the charges. As a result of his plea he was sentenced to a little more than time served, and was ordered to be deported.

He has been called the “North American head of Palestinian Islamic Jihad“, a group responsible for literally hundreds of terrorist attacks against Israel. The FBI claimed that he “had connections to the blind sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, mastermind of the first World Trade Center attack in 1993; to Hamas official Mohammed Sakr; to the high-ranking Sudanese terrorist Hassan Turbai [sic]; and to Islamic Jihad co-founder Abdel Aziz-Odeh.”

Just to give you an idea of the kind of guy he is, here is a 12-second video in which al-Arian calls for “Victory to Islam, Death to Israel“; and here is another in which he calls upon his listeners to “Damn America and Israel to Death“.

His supporters insisted that the prosecution was ‘political’ and an attack on his right of free speech. But the government insisted that al-Arian gave material support to an organization that he knew was committing terrorist acts (and among whose hundreds of victims were two Americans, killed in Islamic Jihad suicide bombings in Israel).

Al-Arian was also sentenced to 14 months for civil contempt, because he refused to testify against former associates. This sentence was canceled by another judge — but he has been subpoenaed again to testify in front of a grand jury, presumably to be asked again about individuals thought to be involved in terrorism, here and overseas. He has refused to comply and is presently on a hunger strike.

Now, why am I bringing this up?

Because the College Community Congregational Church here in Fresno will shortly be presenting a film and discussion about al-Arian. The film, “USA vs. Al-Arian” is entirely one-sided, focusing on the “heart-wrenching traumas” suffered by al-Arian’s family, and claims that it is his “fight for Palestinian recognition that garners the attention of the authorities” and not the fact that he raised hundreds of thousands millions of dollars to pay for the murder of Jewish Israelis and Americans whom he likens to the sons of monkeys and pigs.

The discussion will be led by Melva Underbakke, a former co-worker of al-Arian, who organized a group called “Friends of Human Rights” in response to his prosecution.

Palestinian apologists, as always, are doing their best to recast their genocidal attempt to reverse history as a struggle for human rights. But leaving aside the complex questions about the constitutionality of the Patriot Act, whether the government is subjecting al-Arian to double jeopardy by subpoenaing him, etc., one simple question remains:

Did Sami al-Arian know that the Palestinian Islamic Jihad for which he was raising funds was actually a terrorist organization which has killed hundreds of innocent Israeli civilians by suicide bombings, shootings, and rockets?

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