Al-Arian alleges conspiracy in FBI raid

Knocked to the ground at gunpoint, a woman and her teenage daughter were handcuffed for four hours Wednesday while FBI agents raided the home of Islam?s most respected cleric in America, according to controversial USF professor Sami Al-Arian.

Al-Arian, who now finds his name on the same FBI search warrant that seeks information concerning Osama bin Laden, al-Qaida, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, met with the wife and daughter of Sheikh Taha Jebir Alalwani at a National Coalition for Political Freedom meeting in Washington, D.C., Thursday.

Alalwani is chairman for the Fiqh Council of North America, a group of Muslim scholars who offer opinions on issues of Muslim concern in the United States.

FBI agents raided 14 homes and offices in northern Virginia Wednesday in an effort to obtain information relating to terrorism.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Justice issued a rare statement saying that the FBI had an open and ongoing investigation in Al-Arian?s case.

On Wednesday, John Loftus, a former federal prosecutor and current president for St. Petersburg?s Holocaust Museum, filed a civil suit in state court alleging Al-Arian has conspired against the United States with the Saudi government and funneled money into terrorist groups under the guise of charity.

Other names on the FBI?s search warrant include two former USF affiliates, Al-Arian?s brother-in-law, Mazen Al-Najjar, and former adjunct professor and current leader of PIJ, Ramadan Abdullah Shallah.

Al-Arian, who has before been investigated by the FBI, but never charged with a crime, shook off the latest news as a political conspiracy.

?This is an orchestrated campaign that has been waged against us for many years,? Al-Arian said.

He said the U.S. government is using him as an example of what will happen to others who speak out against its policies, especially those pertaining to Israel.

?It?s a sad day in America when law enforcement is being used for a political conspiracy ? to ensure Israel?s immunity,? Al-Arian said.

?This is really an affront on the whole Muslim community.?

Of the 14 organizations raided Wednesday, Al-Arian said there were 10 or 11 he didn?t know.

One, however, he is familiar with, the International Institute for Islamic Thought, a Middle Eastern think tank that donated money to his now defunct World and Islam Studies Enterprise, Al-Arian characterized as extremely moderate. So moderate, he said, some extreme Muslims consider the group a sellout to Islam.

?These are the friends of the West,? Al-Arian said. ?That they are raiding their offices is absolutely absurd.?