Sami Al-Arian’s arrest Thursday morning was a shock to some. For others, it was a long time coming.
The truth is ever since he was put on leave more than year ago, many people have formed opinion about his innocence, though there was no evidence against him.
Now that he has been indicted, attention has turned toward USF. Many are looking at the school as a safe haven for terrorists. This is especially true since the indictment says Al-Arian “utilized USF as an institution where some of their members could receive cover as teachers or students.”
However, any who feel this way should take a step back from the situation and assess it rationally. This arrest is not a signal to look at every professor and student as a potential terrorist.
First of all, Al-Arian has not yet been convicted of anything. Further, whether he is guilty or not will be determined in court, and it is not for the public to decide if he should be fired or his family deported, as critics may say.
Al-Arian being accused of having terrorist connections doesn’t make USF a “Jihad University” as it was nicknamed after Al-Arian’s appearance on Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor. It’s not as if the school hired him or others after becoming aware of possible terrorist connections.
The university community should use this time to pull together without making assumptions.
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