Obama’s new envoy defended PIJ racketeer

February 18, 2010

The scene:  Tel Aviv, 1996.  The New York Times told what happened:

The latest bomber struck just before 4 P.M. outside the Dizengoff Center, the biggest shopping mall in Tel Aviv and a crowded center of popular hangouts and boutiques like the Hard Rock Cafe, Benetton and McDonald’s. The crowds included many children dressed in Halloween-like costumes for the Jewish feast of Purim, traditionally a festive and carefree holiday.

The police said the bomber had apparently wanted to enter the mall, but turned back when he saw police officers. He then went into the intersection surrounded by a throng of people crossing the street and set off his bomb, which, like those of the previous three bombings, was laced with nails and screws.

The huge explosion shattered windows, neon signs and marquees for 200 yards and sent victims sailing through the air. The police said the toll was 14 killed, including the bomber, and about 130 wounded, many seriously. Many were children.

Tali Gordon and Inbar Attia, university students and friends in their 20s, were two of the victims of the Dizengoff bombing.

Tali Gordon & Inbar Attia

But why did this bombing happen, and who was responsible for the murder of Tali, Inbar, and 12 others?  The organization responsible was the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), an offshot of the Muslim Brotherhood that the PIJ viewed as too moderate (see the Council of Foreign Relations backgrounder on PIJ).  PIJ has carried out many other terrorist attacks throughout the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s.

And, as this blog likes to ask, how are these organizations funded?  The Council of Foreign Relations says PIJ is Iran-funded and Syrian-supported.  But it was also supported through a U.S.-racketeering enterprise launched in 1984 by PIJ leaders residing in America.

One of those PIJ leaders that started the racketeering effort in the United States was Sami Al-Arian.  For his crimes of funding, supporting, and maintaining ties with the PIJ, even as it launched attacks like the Dizengoff Center bombing, Al-Arian would eventually plead guilty.

The St. Petersburg Times pointed out that Al-Arian’s ties to PIJ continued after the Clinton administration designated PIJ as a special terrorist organization in January 1995:  “In the plea agreement, Al-Arian admits conspiring to help people associated with Palestinian Islamic Jihad and covering up his knowledge of the PIJ associations by lying to Harper [a reporter] and others. He also admits that he had been associated with PIJ during ‘the late 1980s and early to mid 1990s.’”

In a press release about the original indictment against Al-Arian, then Attorney General John Ashcroft said, “We have an extensive record in breaking up terrorist financing.  Our record on terrorist financing is clear: We will hunt down the suppliers of terrorist blood money, we will shut down these sources, and we will ensure that both terrorists and their financiers meet the same, swift, certain justice of the United States of America.”

To summarize, PIJ is a radical jihadist organization responsible for despicable terrorist murders against civilians in Israel.  Sami Al-Arian knew it and continued financial support for PIJ.  So what?  Case closed, right?

Not so fast.  Pres. Obama has named Rashad Hussain as the new U.S. envoy to the (dangerous) Organization of the Islamic Conference.  It turns out that Rashad Hussain dismissed the prosecution of of Sami Al-Arian as “politically motivated persecution.”  From the Global Muslim Brotherhood Report:

According to an archived notice in the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs:

A session on civil rights called “Get up, Stand up; Stand up for your Rights: The State of Contemporary Civil Liberties” was held Sept. 5 at the annual conference for the Muslim Students Association of the United States and Canada, held alongside the Islamic Society of North America’s 41st annual convention in Chicago. Laila Al-Arian, daughter of civil and political rights activist and Muslim leader Sami Al-Arian, opened the session with her father’s story. She gave a heart-wrenching, emotional account of an innocent man targeted for free-speech activities, whose rights were stripped thanks in part to the PATRIOT Act. Al-Arian, who has not yet been to trial, has been held in a federal penitentiary for over a year and a half. Al-Arian’s situation is one of many “politically motivated persecutions,” claimed Rashad Hussain, a Yale law student. Such persecution, he stated, must be fought through hope, faith, and the Muslim vote.

(It should be noted that in the latest version of the above report, the two sentences pertaining to Mr. Hussain have been removed, sometime after October 2007 according to the Internet Archive.)

In 2006, Al-Arian was sentenced to 57 months in prison for conspiring to violate a federal law that prohibits making or receiving contributions of funds, goods or services to, or for the benefit of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

In fairness, Al-Arian had not pled guilty to the charges at the time Hussain made those comments.  However, Florida newspapers had been describing Al-Arian as a PIJ “leader” throughout the early 1990s.  What did Hussain think of that?

I’ve taken some heat in commenting over at Jihad Watch for not being critical enough of the appointment, but I’ll repeat here exactly what I said there, which is that the appointment of somebody naïve enough to believe that Sami Al-Arian was innocent is troubling.  At best, Hussain will be easily duped by his new OIC hosts.  Hussain will also defend suspicious OIC activities the same way he defended Al-Arian.

Mr. President, please go back to the drawing board and appoint a mature realist as envoy, not a naïve apologist like Rashad Hussain.

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