Letters to the Editor 10/9

Hardman column reinforces ignorance, distorts facts

The column by Mr. Hardman has either demonstrated an utter ignorance of the facts or a deliberate attempt to lie and fabricate. It seems that Mr. Hardman was blinded by his anti-Arab and anti-Islamic sentiments, if not by his racism and hatred to distort the facts.

The following is a list of his inaccuracies and/or lies:

1) There was no fight in the mosque attended by Dr. Al-Arian because of the name of the mosque. The name was decided in 1988. The dispute was in summer 1987 because an official at the time had registered the property of the mosque in his own name. After legal action was taken, he gave it back to the mosque.

2) The claim that everything that O’Reilly raised during the interview was factual is simply not true. For instance, the reference that Mr. Tariq Hamdi is “on a terrorist list” was an ugly lie.

Mr. Hamdi has a security clearance from the FBI (Do you see a contradiction here?) and is in fact helping the FBI in their difficult investigation. In other words, he is one of the good guys. Where does that leave O’Reilly? (With an egg on his face.)

Two other people were also mentioned on the show: Mr. Ramadan Shallah and Mr. Mazen Al-Najjar. As for Mr. Shallah, an extensive investigation by the government, as well as an investigation by USF conducted by former American Bar Association president and Tampa attorney William Reece Smith Jr. (has Mr. Hardman ever read the 283-page report?) had taken place. No wrongdoing was ever found.

And certainly no charges were ever filed as a result of these investigations. O’Reilly questioned whether people could have known what Mr. Shallah would do in the future.

According to Israeli intelligence and military expert Ze’ev Shciff (Ha’aretz, Nov. 4, 1995) even Israeli officials and experts were themselves surprised. As for Dr. Mazen Al-Najjar, he was never charged or implicated in anything.

In fact, a judge ruled about a year ago that there was absolutely no evidence that he did anything wrong, and that he was not a threat to national security. Judge R. Kevin McHugh wrote in his Oct. 27, 2000 ruling: “Although there were allegations that the ICP and WISE were ‘fronts’ for Palestinian political causes, there is no evidence before the court that demonstrates that either organization was a front for the PIJ. To the contrary, there is evidence in the record to support the conclusion that WISE was a reputable and scholarly research center and the ICP was highly regarded.”

3) Once again, Mr. Hardman needs to get his facts straight. The poor guy is simply either ignorant or is being fed inaccurate information. Even simple information about WISE’s history, he got wrong.

For starters, Dr. Al-Arian was not the “administrative director” as he claimed. Has Mr. Hardman read a single page of the over 4,000 pages that WISE produced? If not, where does that leave him? With an egg on his face.

Hardman says that the Islamic Committee for Palestine conferences were attended by “who is who in terrorism.”

This is an insult to the over 100 speakers from over 20 countries who attended these conferences, including over half from across the United States. How many of these speakers can Mr. Hardman name in order to fit his ridiculous and preposterous description?

4) Mr. Hardman’s obscene statement that Dr. Al-Arian committed perjury is on the verge of slander. No charges were ever filed against Dr. Al-Arian. If Mr. Hardman is half-decent, he ought to apologize.

5) As for the statement that Mr. Hardman included in his rant concerning “the river of blood, and massacre to massacre,” etc., it simply confirms again his lack of knowledge and bias since the references were about the Palestinian blood that was spilled (and continues to be spilled) by the Israeli occupiers in the Palestinian territories extending from one Israeli massacre to another, not the other way around. Now it seems clear that the purpose of Mr. Hardman’s column was to distort the facts in order to achieve his objective along with his ilk, such as Fechter, Emerson, Gross, Silverman and other Israeli propagandists. The objective is to silence Dr. Al-Arian at all costs.Shame on all of you.

  • Saleeth Lulu is a graduate student majoring in computer engineering.

    Al-Arian should be given a fair chance to prove himself

    This is a response to the illegitimate attack against Dr. Al-Arian that The O’Reilly Factor made and that was further compounded by Mr. Hardman in his article on Thursday.

    The O’Reilly Factor, first of all, is an inaccurate and irresponsible news program. Anyone who was tuned into this program shortly after Sept. 11 can attest to the degree of ignorance and religious and ethnic finger-pointing that went on during his nightly broadcast.

    One of his guests, an ex-colonel of the U.S. military was outrightly advocating bombing several Middle Eastern nations, invading Pakistan and installing a more friendly government there.

    It is no wonder Mr. O’Reilly enjoys such popularity. Of course, anyone who appeals to the most base pathos of a society when they are so wounded by an extraordinary event is going to be very popular. The fact remains that popularity is no show of accuracy or even decent journalism. Pulitzer and Hearst enjoyed very high popularity and inflamed the American public into a colonial war with Spain.

    Why do the other news programs on television avoid the tactics employed by Bill O’Reilly?

    It is simple. It is bad journalism, and at this time, it seeks to divide our nation; it seeks to exploit half-truth and ignorance in order to ride the bandwagon of the angry mob sentiment. It does that all for one reason, profit – for Bill O’Reilly and for his network.

    I found the items mentioned in your article interesting. I also found it interesting that in all the things you accuse Dr. Al-Arian of doing or having participated in, that no one from the U. S. government made a move to arrest him, charge him, or put him on trial.

    If he were guilty of crimes such as perjury, surely by now the Immigration and Naturalization Service would have petitioned a federal court to revoke his citizenship and deport him.As for the naming of the Al-Qassam mosque, one wonders if this is another allegation about a possible link between Dr. Al-Arian and the militant wing of Hamas.

    The Al-Qassam mosque is dedicated only to the Palestinian martyr who was killed in 1935 while resisting the invasion of Palestine and Syria by British and French troops.

    A martyr is one who is killed for standing up for their faith or beliefs, and your use of quotation marks is offensive to any religion with such a distinction.

    I would like to ask then, are you being anti-Islamic or anti-Christian in your remarks just as you accuse Dr. Al-Arian of being anti-Semitic in his alleged remarks?

    Furthermore, if you are concerned about his opinions that he may or may not have expressed affecting his teaching, why not ask the university to review his student evaluations.

    Each semester, we evaluate our professors here at USF, and if he was indeed letting his alleged opinions affect his teaching or research, why have there been no valid complaints?

    He works in a department that is very diverse and even has a faculty member who is from Israel; there again the university would have to take action if such a valid complaint was established.

    You need to do much better than that if you are going to put a person on trial in a newspaper.

    I am sure that we can dig up, distort, or invent whatever information we wish to smear a person’s reputation when it seems convenient.

    The facts are the matter though. One in this country is innocent until proven guilty.

  • Timothy Gould is a USF alumnus.

    Suspension of Al-Arian a win for terrorism

    This is a real victory for the terrorists: America will no longer be a democracy, in which different voices can be heard in any institution.

    I am scandalized by the decision to suspend a professor for “opinions,” whatever they may be.

    The Constitution has something to say about this, too.

  • David Ball is a resident of Northampton, Massachusetts.

    Al-Arian not guilty of anything but ignorance for appearing on show

    I have been following the situation of Dr. Sami Al-Arian in the news. I feel for Dr. Al-Arian and the situation he finds himself in, and my heart also goes out to the entire Arab community.

    However, Dr. Al-Arian’s letter is only little more than propaganda for the school and himself. He attacks the media with inaccuracies and demands not to be associated with bad people simply because he associated himself with them.

    If any student at USF was associated with a group or even a couple of people who were conducting suspicious activity, they would probably be suspended or kicked out of USF.

    I don’t know Dr. Al-Arian, and I don’t suggest he is guilty of any criminal acts. That is the job of the federal and local authorities.I do imply that he is guilty of stupidity and ignorance if he actually believed the O’Reilly show had him there for his accolades. If he felt misrepresented he should have appeared on the O’Reilly show again and explained his situation, or at the very least, written the show.

    He claims to believe in freedom of speech but then turns around to rebuff O’Reilly and the local press. What gives?

  • Edward Medina is a junior majoring in electrical engineering.
  • Hardman column exposes truth about Al-Arian’s activities

    Congrats to Alex Hardman for a great opinion on Thursday about Al-Arian’s activities. He has obviously done his homework and feels the same way many of us do. I read the follow-up article Friday, and watched The O’Reilly Factor last night, and I am glad to see continuing coverage on the subject.

    I won’t make this long, but I have to comment on sophomore Douglas Wilk’s ridiculous statement condemning O’Reilly for his investigation of Al-Arian. The evidence you are seeing right now will only be the tip of the iceberg. Al-Arian’s actions also involve other people and could possibly have a very negative effect on other people’s lives. All you seem to care about is Al-Arian.

    O’Reilly is only doing what USF should have done years ago, making this guy and the others involved accountable for their actions.

    It’s no coincidence that this guy just happens to be closely involved with known terrorists, and just because he was never arrested doesn’t mean he doesn’t indirectly and/or morally support terrorist activities. It’s also no coincidence that his brother-in-law was held in jail for over three years. I don’t know about you, but I wasn’t arrested and held for three years. Were you?

    If you want to continue walking around with your bleeding-heart liberal blinders on and your head up your butt, go ahead. Al-Arian needs to be fired and deported back to where he came from. USF does not need anybody here who has these kind of ties.

  • Shelby McIntyre is a senior majoring in finance.