Column: Al-Arian must have worst luck ever

Lately, Professor Sami Al-Arian has been the topic of the top cable news program, The O’Reilly Factor, for his links to militant Islamic terrorist groups all over the world through his religious charity group; the Islamic Committee for Palestine, or ICP; and the USF affiliated think-tank, the World and Islam Studies Enterprise, or WISE.

First topic of argument is Bill O’Reilly, host of The O’Reilly Factor. Since the interview with Al-Arian on Sept. 26, O’Reilly has been accused by the university of being “inaccurate and irresponsible.”

This is simply not true. Everything that was said by O’Reilly has been backed by other news reports. In fact, the only arguments made against O’Reilly have been a tirade of name-calling, hardly a convincing argument. There is a serious misunderstanding of what The O’Reilly Factor is about. O’Reilly doesn’t tolerate poll-tested rhetoric and stump speeches. He wants “pithy” answers to questions that most people would like to ignore. Some would say he offers “pointless screaming matches.”

Yeah, right. What a joke. What is pointless is watching those “great” journalists on the other channels repeat poll numbers all day with little to no analysis of the issues. That is why O’Reilly has the highest ratings of any news show on cable and makes more money doing it than anyone else on TV.

Second topic of argument is Al-Arian. According to him, he is in the dark about everything around him; he must have the worst luck of anyone. In the interview with O’Reilly, he was always shocked by everything that happened around him. And what was discussed in the interview is just a little bit about Al-Arian’s actions at USF. Al-Arian founded the ICP when he first came to USF and served as the administrative director of WISE.

One of his first acts in Tampa was naming the Al-Qassam mosque, which is the same name used by Hamas as the title for its murderous military brigade responsible for numerous suicide attacks inside Israel, which is also the name of a Palestinian “martyr” killed in 1935.

This action caused a power struggle, that became violent, between the traditional leaders of the mosque. It was actually investigated by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.The ICP and WISE’s post office box in Tampa was used by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad newsletter for issues dated between 1989 to 1991. The ICP between 1988 to 1992 held five major conferences with a guest list that represents the “Who’s Who of Terrorism.” The ICP and WISE secured visas and other immigration forms to bring in these terrorists. Coincidentally, Al-Arian knew nothing of what was going on around him.At one conference, the local mosque leader introduced Al-Arian and called the ICP “the active arm of the Islamic Jihad movement.” After being corrected later in private, why didn’t he condemn the statement in public?

If the ICP and WISE are such great groups, why did he commit perjury on his citizenship application by not revealing his affiliation with both groups as required by law?

More disturbing are the words of Al-Arian himself, “We assemble today to pay respects to the march of martyrs and to the river of blood that gushes forth and does not extinguish, from butchery to butchery, and from martyrdom to martyrdom, from Jihad to Jihad.” Also said by Al-Arian, “Jihad is our path. Victory to Islam. Death to Israel.”

Why is such a radical, anti-semitic person even a part of the faculty of USF after statements like this? First Amendment? I doubt USF would hire or keep someone who said, “KKK is our path. Victory to … Death to …”

  • Alex Hardman is a sophomore majoring in electrical