It looks like I have a habit of stumbling across questionable characters while researching my current project. It seems an Imam from Kent, Washington signed a petition on behalf of a man who, one would assume, most people would steer clear of. The questionable character in this case being Dr. Sami Al-Arian who in May of 2006 plead guilty to “Conspiracy to make or receive contributions of funds, goods or services to or for the benefit of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), a Specially Designated Terrorist.” He was sentenced to five years in prison including three years time served and deportation. His case was followed closely by many different groups and received national attention as it happened in the year after 9/11, him being a tenured professor at the University of South Florida, as well as his high-profile background. He was suspected of writing the manifesto of PIJ, he also founded the Islamic Committee for Palestine, and lobbied both political parties for abolishing the use of secret evidence in immigration cases during the 2000 presidential primaries.
Now fast forward to 2008 and a little online petition:
To the Honorable Michael Mukasey, Attorney General of the United States,
We, the undersigned, are writing to you with regards to Dr. Sami Al-Arian. We ask that you honor the plea bargain concluded between the government and Dr. Al-Arian, and allow him to be released as his prison term ended on April 11th, 2008. We also ask that you drop the two charges of contempt brought against Dr. Al-Arian on June 26th for his refusal to testify before a third grand jury on March 20th. Not only do the terms of the plea bargain concluded between Dr. Al-Arian and the government clearly stipulate that he shall not be obligated to testify at any other grand jury, but this was an obvious perjury trap, given that the prosecutor Gordon Kromberg has repeatedly made outrageously bigoted statements against Muslims, publicly supported the principle of punishing those who he finds guilty but who are acquitted in court, and indeed has successfully engineered the perjury conviction of another Muslim acquitted of terrorism charges who is now carrying out a ten-year sentence.
The continued prosecution of Dr. Al-Arian is clearly driven by political ends, just as his original trial was. We ask that you end this abuse of the justice system and allow Dr. Al-Arian to be deported.
Thank you for your time,
The arabic language petition I first noticed is here. The “undersigned” number in at about 3,800. Strangely enough the second person I searched the internet for happened to be from Kent, Washington an Imam named Husam Rabi of the Sheikh Abdul Kadir Idriss Mosque who serves their facility in Renton, Washington.
Mr. Rabi is listed in at number 29 of the undersigned.
I personally find it disconcerting and a little disturbing that so many Muslims from my state would choose to put their names and reputations behind a man who is convicted of supporting a Palestinian jihad war against the Jews of Israel. Though to be fair Dr. Al-Arain has also won support from such esteemed groups as the hard leftists at Democracy Now. It is everyone’s right to sign a petition statement in support of whomsoever they wish, as it is my right to call them out for it. I would have hoped for a more fair-minded man of learning to run a local mosque than someone with such a controversial stance, though you know that old saying, if wishes were horses, beggars would ride.
Quote; thanks to The Investigative Project on Terrorism