But Gandhi he is not, this former University of South Florida professor who pled guilty last year to assisting the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist organization.
As R.K. Joyad, a national security lawyer in Washington who writes under a pen name, observes in today's FrontPageMagazine:
A recent article in American Muslim magazine attempts to burnish the image of Sami Al-Arian....It is but the latest example of the American Islamic community asserting that terrorist operatives like Al-Arian, who is currently awaiting his deportation in a Virginia jail, are blameless victims of prosecutors run amok.
The article overflows with sympathy for Al-Arian. Quoting a friend's question to Al-Arian, the author, Sarah Shields, writes: “Has anyone told you that you look like Gandhi?”
In this case looks are indeed deceiving as Joyad goes on to remind the reader, citing the statement U.S. District Court Judge S. Moody made at Al-Arian's sentencing hearing (via the St. Petersburg Times):
Muslim groups are calling on supporters to support Al-Arian in his hunger strike, which has been going on since Jan. 21. Arian is refusing to eat to protest the fact that he is still in jail - not because of his PIJ conviction, but because he is refusing to testify in another investigation. A grand jury wants to know what he knows about the International Institute of Islamic Thought, another alleged terror sponsor.
Dr. Al-Arian, as usual, you speak very eloquently. I find it interesting that here in public in front of everyone you praised this country, the same country that in private you referred to as “the great Satan.’’ ...You are a master manipulator.
You looked your neighbors in the eyes and said you had nothing to do with the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. This trial exposed that as a lie.... The evidence was clear in this case that you were a leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad...
When Iran, the major funding source of the PIJ, became upset because the PIJ could not account for how it was spending its money, it was to your board of directors that it went to demand changes. Iran wanted its representative to have a say in how its money was spent. To stop that, you leaped into action. You offered to rewrite the bylaws of the organization...
But when it came to blowing up women and children on buses, did you leap into action then? ... No. You lifted not one finger, made not one phone call. To the contrary, you laughed when you heard about the bombings, what you euphemistically call “operations.” ...And yet, still in the face of your own words, you continue to lie to your friends and supporters, claiming to abhor violence and to seek only aid for widows and orphans. Your only connection to widows and orphans is that you create them, even among the Palestinians; and you create them, not by sending your children to blow themselves out of existence. No. You exhort others to send their children... You are indeed a master manipulator.
Al-Arian says he can't testify in the case because if he did, he might put his life in danger. Now that statement alone makes me curious as to what he might know. But then Al-Arian went on to plead that he doesn't have any information that would be useful to prosecutors. Perhaps you have to be a former professor to be able to reconcile those two statements as apparently the judge before whom this argument was made couldn't follow this logic either. He placed Al-Arian in contempt of court until he agrees to tell the grand jury what exactly he knows.
As Joyad goes on to write:
[A] person as connected as Al-Arian has information that will allow our nation’s law enforcers to discern who else is out there living a lie.... [The] government can compel this information through a grant of immunity, which Al-Arian now enjoys. If Al-Arian persists in refusing to provide that information, following the court ruling that he has no right to refuse based on the Fifth Amendment, the remedy is more time in prison, until he sees the light.