The news of convicted Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) operative Sami Al-Arian's release from jail was greeted by a flood of congratulatory statements from the usual suspects and leading lights of the Muslim Brotherhood in the United States.
After more than five years behind bars, the former University of South Florida professor is still not free, subject to home detention and GPS monitoring, allowed to leave a northern Virginia apartment only for attending court proceedings and for medical reasons.
Al-Arian is still facing a possible criminal trial for contempt of court charges for refusing to testify in a grand jury proceeding investigating the terror ties of the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT), a think tank linked to the Muslim Brotherhood. The judge in the case has postponed the trial, originally set for August 2008, pending a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court whether to review an appeal by Al-Arian from an unfavorable decision by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ordering him to testify before the grand jury. The ruling could come as early as October.
Upon Al-Arian's release from prison, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), issued a press release titled, "CAIR Welcomes Release of Dr. Sami Al-Arian," which stated:
"We welcome Dr. Al-Arian's release and hope that it is an indication that justice may ultimately be served in this disturbing case," said CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad. "After so many years of anguish, the Al-Arian children will finally be able to spend Ramadan with their father."
CAIR, an unindicted co-conspirator in a Hamas fundraising trial in Dallas, has long championed Al-Arian's case. Its ties to the Brotherhood are documented in internal records of the organization's U.S. operation and in a recent interview by the Brotherhood's deputy supreme commander.
Former CAIR-Florida spokesman Ahmed Bedier famously even refused to condemn PIJ, a bloody terrorist group, while acting as Al-Arian's de facto spokesperson during the Tampa trial.
Bedier left his perch at CAIR under fairly murky circumstances in May of this year, but according to the Tampa Tribune, is still "spokesman for the Tampa Islamic community," which quoted Bedier as saying:
"The same person described by former Attorney General John Ashcroft as the most dangerous terrorist in the country, now is free in the United States," Bedier said. "Some speculated that he would never walk the streets of the U.S. again. It calls into question the doubts people had as to how dangerous this person really was."
Of course, Al-Arian is neither free nor walking the streets of the U.S., and he has served significant prison time for his crimes. Bedier is also purposefully conflating suicide bombers with those who direct and send such bombers to kill in an effort to paint Al-Arian as an innocent. One wonders if he feels the same about Mafia Dons versus Mafia hit men. One thing John Ashcroft did say about Al-Arian and PIJ while announcing the indictment in 2003, much to his credit, was:
Our message to them and to others like them is clear. We make no distinction between those who carry out terrorist attacks and those who knowingly finance, manage or supervise terrorist organizations. We will bring justice to the full network of terror.
Another Brotherhood outfit, the Muslim American Society (MAS), joined the chorus, issuing its own press release titled, "MAS Freedom Rejoices in the News of Dr. Sami Al-Arian's Release on Bail," which stated:
MAS Freedom (MASF), the civic and human rights advocacy entity of the Muslim American Society (MAS), rejoices with the family of Dr. Sami Al-Arian on learning that earlier today, as a result of the recently filed Habeas Corpus Petition challenging his continued detention, and the government's subsequent failure to justify their position, Virginia's U.S. Eastern District Court Judge Leonie Brinkema has released Dr. Al-Arian on bail.
"MAS Freedom, and many other organizations and individuals, have been working a long time for this day, and we hope that Dr. Al-Arian's release initiates the vindication process in the tragic miscarriage of justice that has been inflicted on Dr. Al-Arian and his family," stated MAS Freedom Executive Director, Mahdi Bray.
"We are truly grateful to Allah (swt) that Dr. Al-Arian and his family will be reunited in this blessed month of Ramadan," Bray added.
MAS was founded by Brotherhood members in the U.S. and its founders were listed in a telephone book listing Muslim Brotherhood members here.
And yet another group, the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), issued the following release, stating:
The Muslim Public Affairs Council today welcomed the release of former professor Sami Al-Arian from federal custody.
Since his arrest five years ago, Al-Arian's case has become an example of what many American Muslims perceived to be numerous post-9/11 political persecutions of individuals using tactics that amount to little more than guilt by association.
The Muslim Brotherhood-linked website, Islam Online, trumpeted, "US Muslims Rejoice Arian's Release," and proceeded to quote only Al-Arian's daughter, CAIR's Nihad Awad and MAS' Mahdi Bray.
At a minimum, it must be noted that MPAC's favorite "political prisoner" famously solicited money for terrorist attacks, and allowed himself to be introduced at fundraising events as the leader of PIJ in the United States. And those fundraising events included active solicitation for armed jihad:
This Jihad, which is still blazing in Palestine, from village to village. I am telling you: not for the organizations or anything else, with due respect for everyone. But only for Jihad.
One of them goes out of his house with a knife to stab the Jews. Twelve Jews, after the Gulf events. O brothers, the Intifada is calling upon you. $500.00. Who is going to top the $500.00? Who is going to top the $500.00 for this medal? (emphasis added)
Al-Arian's Jihad fundraising letter stated, referenced a double suicide bombing perpetrated by the PIJ with Hamas-made explosives, killing 21 people and injuring 69 others:
The latest operation, carried out by the two mujahideen who were martyred for the sake of God, is the best guide and witness to what the believing few can do in the face of Arab and Islamic collapse at the heels of the Zionist enemy and in keeping the flame of faith, steadfastness, and defiance glowing.
I call upon you to try to extend true support of the jihad effort in Palestine so that operations such as these can continue.
Yet this is the man whom MB-groups such as CAIR, MPAC and MAS, as purported "civil rights" organizations, champion as some sort of maligned, persecuted political prisoner, worthy of their support and efforts. This example illustrates one of the many fundamental problems of these self-appointed spokesmen for the American Muslim community – vocal support for Jihadists.
FamilySecurityMatters.org Contributing Editor Steven Emerson is an internationally recognized expert on terrorism and national security and heads the Investigative Project on Terrorism.
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