Guess which tenured college professor was led away in handcuffs to the federal building in Tampa, Florida this past week, charged with raising money in the United States for Palestinian Islamic Jihad and racketeering? Clue: better 8 years too late than never. That?s right - Sami Al-Arian.

There have been over 16,000 terror attacks on Israeli civilians in the two years since the statehood deal offered by Israel at Camp David was answered with mass murders and bombs. Some of those attacks were underwritten right here in the United States by American Muslims at fund-raisers organized by the Kuwaiti-born, ?Palestinian? engineering college professor.

In announcing the federal indictment Attorney General John Ashcroft said that Sami Al-Arian is the North American leader of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, one of the most violent terrorist organizations in the world, committed to homicide bombings and violent jihad activities. Al-Arian has been under investigation since 1995, said FBI spokeswoman Sara Oates, when he co-founded ?The World and Islam Studies Enterprise? at the University of South Florida with Abdullah Shallah, who months later turned up in the Middle East as head of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a group outlawed by the United States as a terrorist organization. It is alleged that WISE was the American front, supplying money to terrorist PIJ.

Al-Arian has been denying such charges for years: "I am a pro-Palestinian person. I don't wish death to any people." Al-Arian has said his involvement with World and Islam Studies Enterprise and the Islamic Committee for Palestine was only "to support the just cause of the Palestinian people." "I don't support suicide bombings," he has said. "I don't support the targeting of civilians of any nationality, background or religion. I am deeply against it."

Large fib. He has been caught on tape deeply involved in fund-raising for such terrorism. Since 1995, the FBI has had videotapes showing him fund-raising in America for suicide bombings against civilians in Israel. ?Right here in America, Professor Sami Al-Arian stands on stage under the official banners of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad screaming ?Death to Israel!? and ?Jews are monkeys and pigs!?, while his associate asks ?Now, who will give me $500 to kill a Jew? There are people in Israel standing by ready to kill a Jew. Who will give me $500??? lawyer and best-selling author John Loftus have been telling shocked audiences throughout North America on speaking tours since last summer.

?In 1990, our national security agency picked up a wire tap of a friendly foreign government who recorded a phone call from professor al-Arian making a long distance call to the Headquarters of Islamic Jihad in Syria and Sami Al-Arian was screaming on the phone, ?Do you realize that Hamas is taking public credit for the attack that I paid for? Don?t you realize this is hurting my fund-raising in America?!? That tape was the first clue that maybe there was something wrong with professor al-Arian.?

According to Loftus, a 1995 raid of al-Arian?s home and office produced incontrovertible evidence. ?This guy videotaped all his terrorist conventions. It was as if the Godfather kept home movies of all the Mafia meetings! They were amazing!? said Loftus. ?There was even a letter bragging about a terrorist operation that took place ?two weeks ago in Israel where two of our Mujahedeen died but killed 17 of the enemy?, the famous Meggido Junction Massacre, and Sami was begging for money to conduct more such operations and talking about how collaboration and cooperation with Hamas is progressing nicely. Now there?s a written confession to an involvement with terrorists.?

So why has it taken 8 years to arrest him?

Loftus charges that the Saudis are deeply involved in terrorism around the world and in the burgeoning pro-terrorist bias on North American campuses. ?What the Saudis have done is simple. They have a series of charities in Herndon, Virginia and from Virginia the money flows to other charities that are fronts for every Arab terrorist group in the Middle East: there?s one for Hamas; There?s one for al-Qaeda; and there?s one for Palestinian Islamic Jihad. They fund the Muslim Youth Organization, run by Osama bin Laden?s brother, which has tentacles on every campus. The Saudis are using American charities to fund terrorism around the world,? Loftus says.

And John Loftus is so sure of his charges that on August 15, 2002, he filed a lawsuit against the Saudis, on behalf of the 9/11 victims, for three trillion dollars. ?And we?re going to win,? he says.

Yet, so far, Loftus says, the American government has been unwilling to embarrass the Saudis. ?An FBI agent named Robert Wright began an investigation in 1995 of Saudi funding of terrorist groups through the Muslim Youth Organization on campuses. He received orders to close down the investigation, because the American government did not want to embarrass the Saudi government. I could name a half-dozen other examples. But all across America, CIA and FBI agents were told to just drop their investigations. No one wanted to embarrass the Saudis.?

So, even after the incriminating tapes and signed confession were discovered, it was left to the University of South Florida to deal with al-Arian as best they could. They put him on paid leave in 1996, but he returned two years later. After 9/11 and a Bill O?Reilly television expose, though, it became imperative for the university to do something about al-Arian. He was hurting their fund-raising efforts and threats were being made against the university. The university alleged that al-Arian raised money for terrorist groups, brought terrorists into the country and founded organizations that support terrorism. In December, he was fired and banned from campus because of what the school?s board of trustees called ?activities? outside the scope of his employment.?

That didn?t prevent him from appearing on campuses around the country as a ?featured speaker? at anti-Israel rallies disguised as pro-Palestinian rallies - such as the one touting Dr. Sami al-Arian as a featured speaker and participant at the University of Michigan's 2nd Annual Student ?Palestine Solidarity Movement by Divestment? Conference, which was "proudly hosted by Students Allied for Freedom and Equality, a coalition of progressive student activists united behind the goal of ending Israeli occupation and apartheid."

Yesterday their hero, Sami al-Arian, was led away in handcuffs. Perhaps the US government no longer minds embarrassing the Saudis ? and whoever else may be funding terrorism.


Charlotte West can be reached at


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