But as we’ve already seen the indictment issued by federal authorities in Florida plainly states that Al-Arian was a terrorist. Granted the indictment was issued after Boehlert penned his pro-Al-Arian articles but the writer deserves no pardon. He knew perfectly well of Al-Arian’s inflammatory anti-American anti-Semitic beliefs but chose shamefully to ignore them in hopes of preserving his own twisted notions of political correctness.
A 1991 Chicago speech in which Al-Arian clad in skullcap and robes called Jews ‘monkeys and pigs’ and bellowed ‘Let us damn America! Let us damn Israel! Let us damn their allies until death!’ was explained away by Boehlert as the words of ‘a fairly mainstream — that is pro-intifada — Palestinian who in his hot-headed youth made regrettably inflammatory comments about Israel but who has never been tied to any terrorist groups.’
Likewise a 1988 speech in which Al-Arian proclaimed ‘From butchery to butchery and from martyrdom to martyrdom from jihad to jihad . . . this is the sweetness of Islam and the taste of faith ‘ was justified by Boehlert as ‘remarks which [Al-Arian] now regrets having made as a 30-year-old in 1988.’
While Salon may have been the most vocal of the print media outlets to hop on the Al-Arian bandwagon it certainly was not alone. Liberal and left-wing publications like The New York Times Miami Herald Washington Post Chicago Tribune and Counterpunch.org all published articles in 2002 that were either laudatory towards Al-Arian or harshly critical of his opponents.
Particularly disturbing was the full-throated support given Al-Arian by the Washington Post and The New York Times. Like Salon.com the Times and Post each took the stance that Al-Arian was the unwitting victim of post-9/11 paranoia and racial profiling a thoughtful intellectual whose passionate criticism of Israel got him into hot water. Both papers also suggested that the widespread condemnation of Al-Arian’s anti-American and anti-Semitic outbursts as well as his suspension from USF were nothing more than infringements on free speech brought on by an overzealous Ashcroft Justice Department.
Incredibly the publications that defended Al-Arian prior to his arrest didn’t seem the least bit bothered by his past ‘Damn America Damn Israel’ comments. They also weren’t alarmed by the 1995 FBI raid on the Tampa offices of two Al-Arian-founded organizations — the Islamic Committee for Palestine (ICP) and World Islam Study Enterprise (WISE) — which seized hundreds of documents and videos connecting Al-Arian to Palestinian extremists. Foremost among this evidence was a letter written by Al-Arian in Arabic praising a Palestinian Islamic Jihad suicide bombing that caused the deaths of 19 Israeli soldiers in 1995.
‘The latest operation carried out by the two mujahidin who were martyred for the sake of God is the best evidence of what the believing few can do in the face of Arab and Islamic collapse before the Zionist enemy ‘ wrote Al-Arian. ‘I call upon you to try to extend true support to the jihad effort so that operations such as these can continue.’
As the indictment against Al-Arian explains WISE and ICP both supposedly charitable Muslim organizations were little more than fronts for PIJ?s revolutionary mission:
‘Operating out of the WISE and ICP offices…Sami Al-Arian…would and did communicate through telephone calls and facsimiles with other co-defendants and other PIJ leaders including members of the PIJ Shura Council…providing extensive advice on PIJ organization structure personnel and financing and the relationship between PIJ and other violent Palestinian organizations.’
From 1991 until mid-1995 WISE was directed by Ramadan Abdulah Shallah a man brought to America by Sami Al-Arian. When not helping coordinate suicide bombings through the WISE offices Shallah worked as an economist and actually held a teaching position in USF’s department of international affairs (thanks to its employment of Shallah Al-Arian and former USF adjunct professor Khalil Shiqaqi who is the brother of one of PIJ’s co-founders the school earned the much-deserved nickname ‘Jihad U’).