Skip to comments.Are Arab Professors Masterminding Terror?
Posted on 06/27/2005 9:03:10 AM PDT by veronica
Federal trial of alleged Islamic Jihad leaders receiving less-than-complete coverage up north.
It has been called the most significant terrorism trial since 9-11: the first time alleged leaders of Islamic Jihad, self-confessed killers of more than 100 Israelis and two Americans, are being tried in an American court; the first time the controversial Patriot Act has lassoed jihadists of this magnitude; and the first time that Arab professors in an American university who have claimed academic freedom for their pro-Palestinians views have been indicted for using their university offices to direct and finance terrorist activity.
Yet most New Yorkers are oblivious to this case because The New York Times, let alone most other northern newspapers, has decided not to cover the extraordinary testimony being heard now in a Tampa, Fla., courtroom.
Charged with racketeering, conspiracy, materially aiding terrorists and running the American office of Palestinian Islamic Jihad are Kuwaiti-born Palestinian Sami Al-Arian, former professor at the University of South Florida; Sameeh Hammoudeh, a former instructor at the university; and two Islamic activists, Hatim Fariz and Ghassan Ballut.
Also mentioned in the indictment is Ramadan Abdullah Shallah, who was an adjunct professor of Middle Eastern studies at USF before returning to Syria when he was appointed leader of Islamic Jihad in 1995. Shallah came to the United States on a visa sponsored by Al-Arian.
Government prosecutor Walter Furr declared to the jury that Al-Arian at one point from his Tampa office was the most powerful man in all of Islamic Jihad.
There have been other remarkable trials this month. The Times ran Michael Jacksons acquittal in a multi-column banner across the front page, and provided daily coverage to the trial of Edgar Ray Killen, the former Klansman convicted of manslaughter in the deaths of three civil rights workers in Mississippi 41 years ago.
Clearly the Mississippi trial warranted that coverage, but one can make the case that Islamic Jihad is to the 21st century what the Klan was to the 20th and that the trial of Al-Arian is every bit analogous to Killens.
The Times, however, after three stories covering the opening of the Al-Arian trial has decided to take it off the daily beat.
Eric Lichtblau, the Times reporter on the case, wrote in an e-mail to The Jewish Week, Its uncertain when Ill be back in Tampa, but well be monitoring the trial and probably doing occasional stories along the way on key witnesses, the start of the defense, closings and the verdict. Thats the norm for a case of interest like this one. There are very few trials that we or other national media cover on a day-to-day or even weekly basis, and the slow start for the prosecution in Al-Arian didnt suggest there would be enough to warrant frequent coverage. But if you hear of something interesting on it, let me know.
Its hard to agree that the prosecution is off to a slow start. The lawyer for Hammoudeh, Stephen Crawford, a USF graduate who was born on the West Bank, told The New York Sun that he expected shock and awe from the prosecution.
Newsday (June 16), picking up a story by The Associated Press, reported the testimony of Kesari Ruza, who in 1995 was riding on a bus in Gaza alongside her friend Alisa Flatow, 20, a college student from West Orange, N.J., when a suicide bomber plowed his van filled with explosives into the bus. Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility.
Ruza was napping when the van hit. She told the court, As soon as I woke up, Alisas head kind of fell toward me. ... Her eyes were rolled back in her head and her hands were sort of curled in.
A 10-minute video taken at the scene and introduced to the court showed the carnage and a close-up of Flatow lying on her back outside the bus. She died the next day. The photos shown in the court are available on Yahoo! by searching for Alisa Flatow in the news category.
There was blood everywhere, Ruza testified. There was blood on us, blood on our bags.
Michael Fechter, reporting in the Tampa Tribune (June 16-17), described the blood, noise and chaos that follows a terrorist attack displayed to jurors. He described how blood soaked the steps of the Egged bus, with what sounded like crashing rocks giving way to the sound of cries as people were hurled to the ground obviously in pain.
Newsday reported Stephen Flatows account of how he flew to Israel and found his daughter in a hospital with bandages on her head and her long, dark hair shaved off. Flatow told how he took his daughters hand and talked to her, hoping she might respond.
But, he said, When I let go of Alisas hand, it just fell limp by the side of the bed.
Fechter in the Tampa Tribune (June 16) wrote: Flatow, wearing a yarmulke, had difficulty maintaining composure as he identified pictures of his daughter as a young school girl He repeatedly sighed heavily and paused at times to fight back tears. Flatow said he wanted to tell her, Daddys here. Everythings going to be OK, but what Al-Arian wrought was beyond a daddys capacity to repair.
Media critics who scolded The Sun and Bill OReilly for having an agenda in their relentless coverage of radical Middle Eastern professors OReilly on his Fox News show in September 2001 challenged Al-Arian on his support of terrorism and a video in which he called for death to the Jews are now silent about the Times agenda of minimal coverage.
Its not that the Times was always reticent about Al-Arian. Three years ago (Jan. 27, 2002) he was the centerpiece of an editorial charging that Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and the University of South Florida dishonor ideals of public universities by trying to fire Palestinian professor Sami Al-Arian whose anti-Israel statements have produced threats to campus and a decline in contributions. Now there are no Times editorials.
Al-Arian was the focus as well of two Times columns by Nicholas Kristof. On March 1, 2002, he wrote that Al-Arian denounces terrorism and promotes interfaith services with Jews, and warned that a university, even a country, becomes sterile when people are too intimidated to say things out of the mainstream. Three exhaustive studies of his conduct have found no evidence of wrongdoing.
Now that evidence is being presented and Kristof is silent.
A columnist in the Tampa Trib, Daniel Ruth (June 8), wrote: Its merely a guess, but when youve been captured on videotape in the company of Omar Abdel-Rahman, the thug who was one of the masterminds of the first World Trade Center bombing, and when youve been caught on film saying, `Jihad is our path Death to Israel, it is sort of hard to later argue you were just kidding around.
Ruth went on to say, Nobody has denied his right to free speech. Words didnt kill Alisa Flatow. Shrapnel that prosecutors say Sami Al-Arian paid for did. And the fact that [one of Al-Arians defenders] doesnt seem to understand the difference between free speech and sitting shivah could suggest this trial might not take as long as some people think. n
The most thorough daily coverage of the trial, with considerable background information, can be found on the Tampa Tribune Web site, http://reports.tbo.com/reports/alarian/.
They are busily abusing ALL our freedom here.
The Religion of Peace just doing the job Hitler failed to do - rid the world of Jews.
Jews are not their only target. The world needs to friggen wake up and start facing what is so clearly in front of us.
I doubt if the Arian clown would be on trial today if O'Reilly had not been the pit bull who kept this obvious sleeper in the public eye.
What kind of a war is it in which people are allowed to openly advocate the cause of our enemies?
Of course they are.
But our intrepid media has more important things to cover - a missing coed in Aruba, Shark Attacks,
FOX and GeraldoGreta go wall to wall with tabloid trash news, focusing on sordid crime stories while ignoring other important trials about jihadis.
Shades of the Summer of 2001.
We're back in 910 mode.
That makes them not much different from the Wackos and Communists from Columbia and Berkley.
You're shortsighted. The Religion of Peace endeavors not only the erasure of Jews from this world, but all of Western civilization.
They may not be "masterminding terror" but they are certainly not doing anything to stop their fellow mohammadians from engaging in terror.
....If they are not specificly condemning terror, then can it not be concluded that they condone it? Even musguided Americans who have "converted" to a form of islam are not speaking out...must agree with their mid-eastern "brother" terrorists?
We're back in 910 mode.
Why is anyone surprised at this point? We've known about things like this for a while. They weren't being -that- subtle about it...
See post 5 Did I leave anyone out the muslims could kill?
Jihadists are in dire need of the proverbial "rain of ruin". "Meals on Wheels" just won't do it. The policy should be "no soup for you!"
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