June 29, 2001
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An article in the national section of today's New York Times reports that "American Muslim leaders walked out of a White House meeting in protest on Thursday after a Secret Service agent suddenly removed a Muslim student from their group, without explanation."
The New York Times article makes it sound as if the Secret Service behaved unreasonably. The removed student is described in the Times as an intern for Rep. David Bonior and as the son of Sami Al-Arian. Sami Al-Arian is described as "a professor of computer engineering at the University of South Florida and a pro-Palestinian organizer who has campaigned against the government's use of secret evidence to detain political organizers in the United States."
In fact, that's an oddly benign description of Sami Al-Arian and his activities at the University of South Florida. A more neutral dispatch, from the Associated Press, reported last summer that Sami Al-Arian "headed up a Palestinian think tank at the University of South Florida that investigators believe aided the Palestinian Islamic Jihad." That dispatch noted further that Sami Al-Arian "invoked his 5th Amendment rights against self-incrimination 99 times Monday in a hearing to free his brother-in-law." The AP article also reported that "Another member of the USF-affiliated World and Islam Studies Enterprise, Ramadan Abdullah Shallah, left Tampa in 1995 and assumed a leadership role in the Palestinian Islamic Jihad."
According to Congressional testimony given by Steven Emerson, an expert on terrorism, an affidavit of FBI Special Agent M. Barry Carmody stated: "Located and seized at the residence of Sami Al-Arian on November 20, 1995, was a letter written by Sami Al-Arian in which Al-Arian is soliciting funds for the Islamic movement in Palestine. This solicitation letter states that despite obstacles, the Islamic movement operates at a time when combined scores of Arab armies fail to accomplish its goal, and the Hamas brothers continue improving. This letter also appeals for support for the Jihad so that the people will not lose faith in Islam. As noted previously, the Jihad has been declared an international terrorist organization by the Department of State."
The Tampa Tribune reported in May of 1995 that Sami Al-Arian "is listed as editor-in-chief of a magazine published by the Islamic Committee for Palestine. The magazine includes articles that solicit money for the Islamic Jihad and Hamas, two international terrorist groups." The Tribune also reported that a conference organized by the Al-Arian-headed Islamic Committee for Palestine included Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, considered the spiritual leader of the militants who bombed the World Trade Center.
Now, of course, the son of Sami Al-Arian should not be held responsible for his father's actions. His father, who denies any connection to terrorism, has not been charged or convicted of any crime. His activities, however objectionable or repugnant, may well be protected under the First Amendment freedoms of speech, of religion, of the press, of assembly and of petition. But given the bloody record of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, it's funny that the Times frames the news in this article as the fact that Muslims are upset that Sami Al-Arian's son was removed from a White House meeting "without explanation." More newsworthy is the fact that, as the Times article notes in passing lower down in the article, Sami Al-Arian -- not his son, but Sami Al-Arian -- last week "was among a group of Muslim leaders admitted to the White House for a political briefing." With Secretary of State Colin Powell posturing about his support for a "cease-fire" and peace in the Middle East, isn't it newsworthy that a man linked to determined enemies of Israel and America is getting invited to the White House?
Unregulated: An article in the national section of today's New York Times reports on the Shays-Meehan campaign-finance bill. The Times says the bill "has at its heart a ban on unregulated donations to the national political parties known as soft money." As Smartertimes.com has noted again and again, this is just false. Soft money currently is not "unregulated." It is unlimited, in that there is no cap on the amount of contributions. But there exists an entire agency, the Federal Election Commission, which enforces among other things the regulation that such contributions must be publicly disclosed. The disclosure requirement is a regulation. Soft money isn't "unregulated." It's just not regulated as much as Rep. Shays, Rep. Meehan, and the Times's unregulated editorial board want to regulate it.
Principal: An article in the national section of today's New York Times reports on military base closings. "Republicans will have trouble dismissing the process as politicized when its principle advocate is a president from their own party," the Times reports. The word the Times wants there is "principal," not "principle."
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