Mission & Name
US Foreign Policy (Dr. El-Najjar's Articles)
How O'Reily and Zionist Fox News Started the
Islamophobic Injustice Against Sami Al-Arian in the US
Al-Jazeerah, CCUN, October 28, 2013
Sami Al-Arian's story is one of the most appalling tales of
brutal, horrifying, unjust treatment of a Palestinian victimized by
Al-Arian, born as a Palestinian refugee in Kuwait, went
to America in 1975.
According to his website
biography, he began teaching
computer science at the University of South Florida in 1986, and was active
politically in Muslim causes.
He co-founded the World and Islam
Studies Enterprise, "a research and academic institution dedicated to
promoting dialogue between the Muslim and Western worlds.
Bay Times staff in Florida report that "Al-Arian became a tenured professor,
and won a distinguished teaching award in 1993.”
Earning tenure as a
professor and receiving teaching awards do not come easily. Such awards are
even harder to come by for non-native teachers. As a computer scientist, he
had to be tops.
Then in 2002, Al-Arian was invited to appear on Fox
News with Bill O'Reilly. He made three fatal mistakes:
take the time to do some research on O'Reilly before accepting the
invitation. Had he done so, he could have bet that O'Reilly was out to
burn any Arab after 9/11.
Al-Arian would have discovered that
O'Reilly and Fox News were among the best-known mouthpieces of right-wing
Al-Arian allowed O'Reilly to demean the South
Florida University where Al-Arian was teaching. The reaction to the
Fox show was so bad that the University President fired Al-Arian..
Sadly, Al-Arian must have assumed that Americans would have the kind of
positive reactions to him that he had enjoyed with his students and
The Al-Arian timeline, following his firing
(from the Tampa Bay Times, 2013):
February, 2003: Sami Al-Arian is
arrested and charged with links to terrorism.
June, 2005: Al-Arian
trial begins in Tampa.
December, 2005: Jury acquits him on eight
counts and deadlocks on nine.
May, 2006: Al-Arian takes a plea
deal, saying he aided associates of a terrorist group with immigration
matters. The judge sentences him to 57 months, most of which he had already
October, 2006: Al-Arian is subpoenaed to testify before a
grand jury in Virginia but refuses because it is a violation of his plea
April, 2008: He completes his sentence with a year added
on because he refused to testify, and goes into an immigration detention
facility to await deportation.
June, 2008: He is charged with
criminal contempt for refusing to testify.
September, 2008: He is
released on bail and placed under house arrest in Virginia.
2009: A Virginia prosecutor tells Judge Leonie Brinkema that Tampa
prosecutors didn't tell Al-Arian's attorneys about the Virginia plan to
subpoena him because "Florida didn't care what was going on in Virginia."
April, 2009: Judge Brinkema says the integrity of the Justice
Department is at issue in the Al-Arian case.
That was four and a
half years ago. Al-Arian is still under house arrest in his daughter's home,
waiting for a decision that will allow him the freedom to be deported.
It was no more than an illusion of freedom that had deceived him into
thinking that he could speak freely as a Palestinian refugee in America.
Al-Arian had no idea that those same Americans who had awarded him
three university degrees, including a Ph.D. plus distinguished teaching
awards, would treat him unfairly as a spokesman for Palestine and Islam.
An outstanding career that he built on his brilliance as a scholar and
a wish to serve the country that had adopted and honoured him was flushed
down an Islamophobic toilet.