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Bush's terrorist buddy

Posted By Debbie Schlussel On 10/01/2001 @ 1:00 am In Commentary | Comments Disabled

Editor’s note: Today’s column is the third of three on the World Trade Center attack. Read parts 1 and 2.

Previously I’ve written about my Arab- and Muslim-American neighbors’ efforts to block counterterrorism measures.

Of course, those efforts were before the attacks of Sept. 11. Now, Arab- and Muslim-American leaders have engaged in a united public relations campaign against terrorism. And while most Arab- and Muslim-Americans are innocent and law-abiding, it’s a campaign that rings hollow, given the terrorists they have openly supported.

Among the most frightening examples of this is the brazen Al-Arian family of Tampa, Fla. Sami Al-Arian is a University of South Florida professor and his son Abdullah, a Duke student, was an intern for Democratic
whip, Rep. David Bonior, a Michigan gubernatorial candidate who is very supportive of Arab-American leaders’
efforts to block reasonable counterterrorism measures.

Dr. Al-Arian is the author of this speech: “We assemble today to pay respects to the march of the martyrs and to
the river of blood that gushes forth and does not extinguish, from butchery to butchery, and from martyrdom
to martyrdom, from Jihad to Jihad.”

But, according to the July 16 Newsweek, during a campaign speech in Tampa, last year, candidate Bush singled his son, Abdullah, out in the crowd, something done for specially selected, pre-screened individuals to which a
candidate wants to draw attention. Calling Abdullah, “Big Dude” – one of his trademark nicknames reserved for
close advisors and White House press, Bush and wife Laura posed for pictures with the Arian family, standing right
next to Dr. Al-Arian.



Laura and George W. Bush
(3rd and 4th from left) with Islamic Jihad frontman Sami Al-Arian (third
from right) and family (son, Abdullah “Big Dude” Al-Arian, is on far left).

The problem is, Dr. Al-Arian is the U.S. frontman for one of the largest terrorist-group coalitions in the world – Islamic Jihad – which was declared an international terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department and which
openly promotes death to Americans. Hijackers on Flight 93, which crashed near Pittsburgh, wore red headbands,
customary among Islamic Jihad warriors who take their instruction from Iran.

President of the Islamic Committee for Palestine, Al-Arian headed up the primary U.S. support group for
Islamic Jihad, according to “Jihad in America,” a 1994 PBS documentary on Arab Muslim terrorists in America,
produced and reported by Steven Emerson – a courageous investigative journalist who has worked for the U.S. News & World Report and CNN. “Jihad in America” can be viewed online. (Dr. Al-Arian and his activities are detailed in the last quarter of the hour-long documentary.)

When “Jihad in America” was first set for broadcast in 1994, Arab- and Muslim-American leaders tried to censor PBS and prevent its broadcast. Instead of deploring Arab terrorist groups in the U.S., they demanded and were granted 1.5 hours of PBS airtime to justify these groups and people like Al-Arian. As a result of this documentary and other similar work, Emerson – a real-life Indiana Jones exposing U.S.-based Islamic terrorist groups – received constant death threats from Arab terrorist groups, which the Arab-American community (that today professes a love of America amidst the WTC bombing) refused to condemn.

FBI and INS affidavits accused Al-Arian of, “among other things, ‘fraud and misuse of visas’ and ‘aiding and
abetting or assisting certain aliens’ involved in terrorism to enter the United States unlawfully.” Islamic Jihad’s newspaper, “Islam and Palestine,” openly promotes jihad against the West, and has listed Al-Arian’s ICP as one of its main offices, complete with ICP’s Tampa address.

ICP conferences have featured Sheik Omar Abdul Rahman, the ringleader of the first WTC bombing in 1993 and now in prison, and Sheik Abdul Aziz Odeh, the spiritual leader to Islamic Jihad and a named unindicted co-conspirator in the first WTC bombing. Odeh has also been a guest at Al-Arian’s Masjid Al-Qassan Mosque in Tampa, named for a Palestinian terrorist. Al-Arian also heads World Islamic Studies Enterprise, which according to the Wall Street Journal, “brought terrorists into the U.S. and raised funds for Islamic Jihad.” One of those terrorists
was Al-Arian’s good friend Ramadan Abdullah Shallah, for whom he arranged a visa, who also became a USF professor and director of WISE, and who is now the head of Islamic Jihad, based in Damascus Syria. Disguised as religious charities, ICP and WISE collaborated with and laundered money for parties involved in the 1993 WTC bombing, including Sheik Rahman. These facts were confirmed by Emerson in sworn congressional testimony on Feb. 24, 1998, and May 23, 2000.

From 1988-1992, Al-Arian organized a series of conferences featuring “a number of the world’s top, terrorist leaders” and worked with “Hamas leaders in the U.S. and elsewhere, and helped oversee terrorist cells in the Middle East.”

Al-Arian’s brother in law, Mazen al-Najjar, was jailed for three years for using a University of South Florida
Islamic think tank as a front for terrorism. He was released because secret evidence against him was
prohibited and is soon to be deported as an illegal alien, but in a hearing to release him, Al-Arian “invoked
his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination 99 times,” according to the Associated Press.

But the Newsweek article doesn’t mention any of this.

It’s more like “Newsweak.”

Instead, Newsweek reports that Al-Arian campaigned for Bush “when Bush decried the use of secret evidence during the campaign” – secret evidence that should’ve been used to deport Al-Arian. And it details the anger of Muslim-Americans, who walked out of the Bush White House in protest when Abdullah Al-Arian was ejected from a Bush meeting, based on the evidence.

Instead of being embarrassed, Muslim- and Arab-American leaders decried it as profiling, and the Al-Arian family is a cause c?l?bre for Arab- and Muslim-American leaders. Dr. Al-Arian has become a “civil rights leader” among them. Incredible. Even more incredible, Bush apologized to the junior Al-Arian for ejecting him from the White House, inviting him back. He dispatched the deputy director of the U.S. Secret Service to Congressman
Bonior’s office to personally apologize to the 20-year-old intern. And, in June, the New York Times reported that Dr. Al-Arian, himself, “was among a group of Muslim leaders admitted to the White House for a political briefing.”

“[Bush] has to do something to pay this community back,” Osama Siblani, publisher of the Arab-American News, protested to Newsweek.

No, he doesn’t. He needs to prove he’s really against terrorism – by ceasing his engagement with Arab-Muslim terrorist frontmen on American soil, like Al-Arian, and those who support them, as many Muslim Arab-American leaders do. And Siblani’s community needs to do a lot to prove it is truly against terrorism and the attacks that happened three weeks ago, like demoting the Al-Arian family from its revered status.

In “Jihad in America,” Emerson stood in front of the New York skyline and the WTC was still there. But,
unfortunately, no one listened to his documentary’s message about Arab terrorist groups in America.

How many more documentaries will he have to make?


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