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Militant Islam Monitor > Articles > Former USF professor Ramadan Abdullah Shallah behind Tel Aviv suicide bombing

Former USF professor Ramadan Abdullah Shallah behind Tel Aviv suicide bombing

Israel targets Islamic Jihad leader for assassination
March 6, 2005

MIM: In the years that it took for Israel to decide to assassinate the Syrian Islamic Jihad leader scores of people were killed and maimed. At thre beginning of the Iraq war it was Ramadan Shallah who told his followers to become suicide bombers against coalition forces . Which begs the question as to how he was allowed to leave the US in the first place ...

March 06, 2005

Ex-British student in hit squad threat
Uzi Mahnaimi and Christopher Lamb

A PALESTINIAN terrorist leader who spent five years at Durham University has been targeted for assassination by Israel after he was blamed for last weekend's bomb in Tel Aviv, which killed five people.

Ramadan Shallah, 47, the head of Islamic Jihad, is accused by Mossad, the Israeli intelligence service, of ordering the attack by telephone from Damascus. A transcript of the call is believed to have been given to Condoleezza Rice, the US secretary of state.

Abdullah Badran, 21, the bomber, made clear in a videotape he left behind that he was acting on behalf of Islamic Jihad.

Shallah's role underlines the extent of his transformation from an unassuming PhD student who spent 1985-90 at Durham, writing a thesis on Islamic banking in Jordan.

"He was dour, didn't smile and was aloof," recalled Kathryn Crowton, secretary of the university's economics department. "He showed no leadership qualities." He was nevertheless a gifted linguist who spoke fluent English as well as several other languages.

Shallah, who was born in Gaza, was already a militant. He had earned his first degree at Egypt's Zakazik University and in his four years there — sponsored by the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamic group — he met other future leaders of the Islamic movement.

A further clue to Shallah's views is provided by his Durham thesis. It calls for the replacement of the western-style banking system by one in accordance with Islamic law, which bans paying or receiving interest.

The thesis begins with a quotation from the Koran, warning of a "war" from "Allah and his apostle" to be waged against those who persist in demanding the payment of interest.

Interest, it goes on to claim, "has a dangerous effect in disrupting the moral and economic structure of society". It says every bank should have a a supervisory board that would make sure it is acting in accordance with Sharia — Islamic law — and issue "fatwas" (religious decrees).

Shallah moved from Durham to the University of South Florida in Tampa, where he taught Middle Eastern studies and headed the World and Islam Studies Enterprise, a think tank affiliated to the university.

His academic life came to an abrupt end in 1995 with the assassination of his friend, Fathi Shiqaqi, the head of Islamic Jihad. Leaving behind his comfortable life in Florida, Shallah took his place.

Additional reporting: James Meller


Name: Ramadan Abdullah Shallah
Background: Born in the Gaza Strip, a resident of Damascus, Syria, Shallah is the current worldwide leader of the PIJ and a member of the PIJ's Shura Council. Shallah, formerly of Tampa, worked with Al-Arian in the Islamic Committee for Palestine and was the former executive director of WISE. He taught Middle East studies as an adjunct professor at USF six months prior to his appointment as leader of the Islamic Jihad. Shallah was appointed secretary general of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad in October 1995. By November, he was designated by the United States as a Specially Designated Terrorist.




Excerpt from chronology of USF /Al Arian story

  • 1986: Al-Arian hired by USF Department of Computer Engineering; Mazen Al-Najjar moves to Tampa and enters USF's Industrial Engineering and Management program.
  • 1987: Al-Najjar's visa status complicated by marital strife and divorce.
  • 1987 - 1992: The Intifada. Many Palestinians in America, including Al-Arian, say inflammatory things.
  • 1988: Al-Arian forms the Islamic Committee for Palestine (ICP), under an Islamic Concern Project (also ICP).
  • 1990: USF organizes a Committee on Middle Eastern Studies (COMES) as a new initiative in international affairs.
  • 1990 - 1991: The gulf war: the UN v. Iraq.
  • 1991: Professor Al-Arian helps found World Islam Studies Enterprise (WISE) in Temple Terrace, just off USF main campus.
  • 1991: Ramadan Abdullah joins WISE staff.
  • 1991 - 1994: WISE publishes a journal and sponsors conferences.
  • 1992: Massive budget crunch affects USF severely; Al-Arian awarded tenure; USF and WISE begin formal relationship.
  • 1993: ICP shut down.
  • 1994: Al-Arian passes US citizenship exam, and his application is approved.
  • November, 1994: The PBS production of "Jihad in America" accuses Al-Arian of association with Islamic Jihad. This leads to many press and official investigations, the latter inconclusive and no charges filed.
  • February, 1995: FBI contacts USF about Al-Arian, Al-Najjar, and Abdullah.
  • May, 1995: The Tampa Tribune runs a series on WISE and USF; Abdullah leaves WISE, USF, and the USA.
  • June 2, 1995: USF suspends relations with WISE.
  • October, 1995: Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader and founder Fathi Shikaki is assassinated: his successor is Ramadan Abdullah, (now called Ramadan Shallah).
  • November, 1995: The FBI searches Al-Arian's house and office; WISE shut down.
  • -------------------------------


Excerpt from:"Terrorism charges dominate Florida senate race

By Tom Curry National affairs writer

MSNBC Oct. 4, 2004

ORLANDO, FLA. - The names of Sami Al-Arian and Ramadan Abdullah Shallah will not be on the ballot in the Senate race in Florida on Nov. 2.

But the issue of the two former University of South Florida teachers who were indicted last year on charges of helping the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group kill civilians in Israel dominates the contest to succeed retiring Democratic Sen. Bob Graham.

The Republican candidate, former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Mel Martinez, charges that his Democratic opponent, Betty Castor, erred by not ousting Al-Arian from the faculty when she served as president of the University of South Florida from 1994 to 1999.

Shallah, whom Al-Arian helped bring to the university as an adjunct professor, later turned up in Syria as chief of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group.

Al-Arian and Shallah are among eight people indicted in February 2003 on racketeering and conspiracy to murder, maim, or injure persons outside the United States, including Alisa Flatow, a 20-year old Brandeis University student from West Orange, N.J., who was killed in a bombing in Israel on April 9, 1995.

Using university as cover?
The indictment charges that Al-Arian, Shallah and others were able to "utilize the structure, facilities and academic environment of the University of South Florida to conceal the activities of the PIJ," which included "paying compensation to the families of PIJ ‘martyrs' (suicide bombers) and ‘detainees.'"

At a Nov. 5, 1995, rally in Beirut, Shallah joined others in celebrating the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. According to Reuters, Shallah "vowed that his militants would continue suicide bombings against Israeli targets."


America the Vulnerable

by William F. Jasper

In October 1995, six months after the deadliest terrorist attack ever in America, a mild-mannered professor and director of an Islamic think tank in Tampa, Florida left the United States to take a more exalted job in Syria - as maximum leader of Islamic Jihad, one of the world's most violent and notorious terrorist groups. Are the two events - the Oklahoma City bombing and the departure of Ramadan Abdullah Shallah - connected? There is good reason to think so. And there is good reason for believing that the bombing that took 168 lives in America's heartland is also tied to the 1993 terrorist bombing of the World Trade Center that killed six and wounded over 1,000 in America's financial, commercial, and communications capital - New York City. The mastermind of that conspiracy was Pakistani electronics engineer Ramzi Yousef, operating out of the Philippines with backing from Iraq.

One reason for Ramadan Shallah to break his carefully crafted cover was the assassination (presumably by the Israeli Mossad) of Islamic Jihad chief Fathi Shikaki. Shallah and Shikaki had founded the terrorist group while students at Zagazig University in Egypt in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Shallah has now taken his fallen comrade's place.

But there were other reasons for leaving the U.S. when he did. U.S. authorities, prodded by embarrassing media revelations, were beginning to look into his ties and activities. In Tampa, Ramadan Shallah posed as an adjunct professor of economics at the University of South Florida (USF) and an administrator of a USF-affiliated think tank, the World Islam Studies Enterprise (WISE).

Also working with Shallah at USF and WISE was Khalil Shikaki, Fathi's brother, who now, reportedly, is a professor at An Najah University in the West Bank. Still another major, direct connection between WISE and Islamic Jihad is Basheer Nafi, who was described by WISE in 1991 as "director of WISE from London." However, he was also an original founder of Islamic Jihad and was believed by some observers to be the likely candidate to succeed Shikaki. When that task fell to Shallah, Nafi stayed in the U.S., working at the International Institute for Islamic Thought in Herndon, Virginia, which WISE has listed as its largest source of financial support. Nafi was deported in 1996.

Among the many other organizations under investigation by federal authorities as possible fronts for terrorist groups is the Islamic Committee for Palestine (ICP), run by Osama "Sami" Al-Arian, a USF computer science professor who, immigration officials charge, arranged visas for both Shallah and Nafi so that they could be hired under the guise of research associates and professors. An investigation by the INS found that Al-Arian had failed to list his own ICP and WISE affiliations, as is required by law, in his application for citizenship. It was also learned that he had illegally registered to vote. Based on these violations, the INS initiated deportation proceedings against him. At the same time, deportation proceedings were begun on WISE executive director Mazen Al-Naijar, who earned a doctorate in engineering at USF under a visa authorities say was obtained illegally through a sham marriage. Like his brother-in-law, Al-Arian, Dr. Al-Naijar also registered to vote illegally. One likely motive for the illegal registration, say INS officials, is that together with a Florida driver's license it provides acceptable proof of U.S. citizenship (and, therefore, ease of travel) in the Caribbean, Mexico, and Canada, areas where terrorist groups have been building large networks. Over and over again, terrorist groups have demonstrated a deadly proficiency at taking advantage of America's almost nonexistent immigration controls.

Most disturbing, however, is that investigations into the WISE/ICP-related terrorist activities probably wouldn't have come about except for the investigative journalism of the Tampa Tribune's Michael Fechter, who has written a series of articles on the terror connections in South Florida, and Steven Emerson, whose PBS documentary, Jihad in America, lifted the lid on the terror network's "legitimate" fronts in the U.S.

One of the New York Trade Center bombing connections is found on Al-Arian's telephone records showing calls to Fawaz Damra and Siraj El-din Yousif, both named by federal authorities as terrorist suspects. Yousif, a Sudanese diplomat expelled from the U.S. in 1996, is believed to have provided information to the bombing conspirators. The telephone records reportedly also show repeated calls to the Sudanese Embassy and the Iranian Interest Section in Washington. Sudan, which was added to the U.S. State Department's list of state sponsors of terrorism in 1993, has been closely allied with Iran and an open supporter of Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah, and Hamas. It was host to Osama bin Laden until 1996 and is believed to be still providing sanctuary and assistance to his terror network.

Another connection between the South Florida institutions and the Trade Center bombing is found in the featured speakers at WISE and ICP events. One of the most prominent speakers was Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman, now serving a life sentence for his leadership role in the bombing plot. (See "Enemies and Assets," THE NEW AMERICAN, March 3, 1997.) Another is Hassan Turabi, considered by some Mideast intelligence experts to be the real power behind the throne in Sudan. Others include Islamic Jihad co-founder and "spiritual leader" Sheik Abdel Aziz-Odeh, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nazrallah, and Tunisian terrorist Rashid El-Ghanoushi, convicted of plotting to kill Tunisia's president and overthrow the government. In a speech to an ICP conference, Sami Al-Arian praised Ayatollah Khomeini, Anwar Sadat's assassin Al Islambuli, and El Sayyid Nosair, the convicted assassin of radical Rabbi Meir Kahane and co-conspirator in the Trade Center bombing.

One of the more intriguing developments in the WISE/ICP investigation is a communication between Khalil Shikaki and Ramadan Shallah in which the now-head of Islamic Jihad made a cryptic reference about carrying out a "project" for one "Abu Omar." Abu Omar is the nomme de guerre for PLO Chairman Yasir Arafat. A number of important circumstantial links connect Arafat to the Trade Center bombing. One of the convicted bombers, Ahmad Ajaj, who entered the U.S. with Ramzi Yousef, had been arrested in Israel for smuggling arms to Hamas and the PLO's Fatah. Sultan El Gawli, a close friend of bomber El Sayyid Nosair, had served prison time for buying plastic explosives for the PLO.

According to current mythology, our "peace partner" Arafat has become a "moderate" and is now beset by the radical Hamas, Hezbollah, and Islamic Jihad over which he has no control. In reality, as Soviet Analyst editor Christopher Story has noted, "Hamas (and its subdivisions) is and always has been an integral component of the umbrella organization known as the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), which reports directly to Moscow." Additional support for that view came when Hamas official Mousa Abu Marzook and his wife were arrested in New York at JFK Airport. Marzook's address book contained the private telephone numbers of Yasir Arafat, George Habash, and other Marxist terrorists with whom this "fundamentalist" is supposedly in deadly conflict. In 1996, during one of his public relations "crackdowns," Arafat put on a show of searching for Hamas military chief Mohammed Dief. Arafat's man assigned to head the unsuccessful "search," Colonel Mohammed Dahlan, a childhood friend of Dief, was seen sipping coffee with the "fugitive" terrorist supervisor.

Hamas, also known as the Islamic Resistance Movement, states in Article 26 of its Covenant: "Islamic Resistance Movement's stand towards the PLO is that of the son towards his father, the brother towards his brother, and the relative to relative, suffers his pain and supports him in confronting the enemies...." Article 27 of the Hamas Covenant states: "The Palestine Liberation Organization is the closest to the heart of the Islamic Resistance Movement." Hamas leader Sheikh Mahmoud Zahar has said of the PLO-Hamas relationship, "Like the wings of a bird, they must work together." And so they have.

One day after the Oklahoma City bombing, Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) notified the FBI of testimony Steven Emerson had given before her subcommittee about threatening remarks that a radical Islamic leader had made at a conference attended by 3,000 in Oklahoma City in 1992. The speaker was Kamal Helbawi, a Hamas leader based in Pakistan. Helbawi told the conferees: "Oh brothers, the Palestinian cause is not a conflict of borders and land only. It is not even a conflict over human ideology. And not over peace. Rather it is an absolute clash of civilizations, between truth and falsehood, between two conducts: One Satanic, headed by the Jews and their conspirators; and the other religious, carried by Hamas, the Islamic people in general and the Islamic movement in particular."

Oklahoma City has played host to other leaders associated with Hamas, ICP, WISE, and other suspected terrorist fronts. And evidence developed by this magazine and other investigators indicates that locally based and foreign individuals associated with these long-established terrorist networks were involved in the April 19, 1995 bombing. Unless officials are pressured to conduct an honest and thorough investigation, more atrocities and tragedies are sure to follow.


Ex Professor ordered bombing 2002

By Reed Irvine and Joe Jablonski

A group called Islamic Jihad took responsibility for the bus bombing in Israel in which 17 Israelis were killed. It is based in Syria and is headed by Ramadan Shallah, who lived several years in Florida and was a professor at the University of South Florida. But that's not all – his alleged former associate, another University of South Florida professor, is still here, defending the rights of Muslims accused of terrorist activities.

The media are preoccupied with the president's plan to create a new department of homeland security. But we still don't have answers to the question of how terrorists or their alleged sympathizers got here in the first place. As detailed by Steven Emerson, Shallah's connections to Islamic Jihad go back to the 1970s in Egypt. He moved to London in 1986 before coming to the U.S. in the 1990s. While here, on two occasions he was invited to brief U.S. military officers at U.S. Central Command at MacDill Air force Base near Tampa. This is where the war against terrorism is being planned and coordinated today.

This strange story gets even more bizarre because one of Shallah's associates at the university, Professor, Sami "Osama" al-Arian, solicited funds for Islamic Jihad. A tenured professor, al-Arian was put on paid leave following an appearance on "The O'Reilly Factor," where he appeared evasive in response to questions from Bill O'Reilly about his alleged ties to terrorists. He is a founder of two groups described by a federal agent as fronts for Islamic Jihad. His home and officer were raided by federal authorities in 1995, when they found the controversial fundraising letter.

Al-Arian, who sponsored Shallah to come to this country, claims he wasn't aware of his terrorist background. Al-Arian is himself a permanent resident of the United States, and has been here since 1975. He applied for U.S. citizenship five or six years ago but has not received an answer from the Immigration and Naturalization Service. He has never been charged with a crime.

Shallah's base, now in Syria rather than Florida, is relevant because Syria has been elected by other members of the U.N. to the U.N. Security Council and recently assumed the presidency of this high-ranking body. Under Article 23 of the United Nations Charter, members of the Security Council are supposed to be selected with "due regard being specially paid...to the maintenance of international peace and security. . ." Syria is identified by the U.S. State Department as a sponsor of terrorism and occupies Lebanon in violation of a U.N. resolution.

Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres says it is unbelievable that Syria, home of Islamic Jihad, should hold the presidency of the U.N. Security Council, while orders to carry out terror attacks are issued from its midst. But U.S. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher could only say that Syria "has to act impartially" as Security Council president. The Bush State Department could not even muster a feeble criticism of Syria's record or the hypocrisy of the U.N. Perhaps we need a reorganization of this department too.


Sent: Wednesday, January 21, 2004 4:28 PM

Subject: H-1B Professor by day, Terrorist by Night

Shortly after 9/11, Dr. Gene Nelson and I spent endless hours to see if
there was a connection between H-1B visas and terrorism. We confirmed
that there was a direct link, including the fact that the flight
schools hired instructors on H-1B visas. We reported our findings to
the FBI and were promptly greeted with yawns, but perhaps that's
because they already knew.

There have been many cases of corporate espionage by H-1B visas holders
and there are more news articles popping up that confirm our earlier
research. Politicians continue to ignore this issue because they don't
want to touch H-1B. Will they accept their deserved guilt if a
terrorist action kills more innocent Americans, or will they wash the
blood off their hands because they will claim they didn't know?

Here are three separate cases that prove a direct link between H-1B
visas and terrorism. These documents also contain information about how
student and visitor visas were also used.

Terrorist Ramadan Abdullah Shallah used a H-1B visa in 1993 to enter
and remain in the United States. Shallah as a temporary specialized
worker (H-1B) who was based at the WISE address in Tampa, Florida. He
was also employed as an adjunct professor at the University of South
Florida while working as a U.S. representative of the PIJ with Sami
Al-Arian and Basheer Nafi. In executing search warrants in Tampa in
1995, federal agents seized a video of a speech made by Shallah at an
Islamic Committee for Palestine (ICP) conference in December 1992
organized by Al-Arian, in which Shallah said that Jihad is a holy war
aimed at killing every enemy of Islam, including (among others) the New
World Order symbolized by the United States.

Defendant Shallah was born in the Gaza Strip and entered the United
States with an Egyptian passport on August 30, 1988 on a temporary
worker/specialty occupation (H1B) visa. RAMADAN ABDULLAH SHALLAH was a
member of the PIJ, and since October of 1995, has been the Secretary
General of the PIJ. On November 27, 1995, RAMADAN ABDULLAH SHALLAH was
designated by the United States as a Specially Designated Terrorist
pursuant to Executive Order 12947. As a result, it became illegal for
persons within the United States to engage in financial transactions


IDF Force Kills Terrorist Involved in Tel Aviv Attack

Thursday, March 10, 2005 / 29 Adar 5765

Following the failure of the PA to locate the perpetrators of the terror attack on the Stage club on the Tel Aviv boardwalk, the IDF has taken action, killing one of the terrorists involved.

The IDF and the GSS (General Security Service) launched a joint operation early Thursday morning to apprehend Mohammed Abad Altif Hasin Halil, 26. Halil was hiding in the village of Nazlat A-Wasta, north of Tul Karem.

Originally from Tul Karem, Halil took part in planning and facilitating the Tel Aviv boardwalk bombing two weeks ago, in which five Israelis were killed. He also took part in rigging a vehicle full of explosives meant to be detonated just a few days after the Tel Aviv attack by crashing it into a busload of soldiers. The truck-bomb was uncovered in the Arrabeh area on February 28 and neutralized.

An IDF Paratrooper force, together with members of the Oketz dog-handling unit, encircled Halil's house early this morning and repeatedly called for him to come out. Everyone in the house left, with the exception of Halil.

When Halil continued to refuse to give himself up, the IDF force sent a search dog towards the house. Halil, hiding in the attic, saw the dog approaching and shot it, killing it on the spot. Halil then began shooting at the soldiers surrounding the house. The soldiers returned fire and hurled hand grenades at the house in an attempt to drive Halil out. Finally, an IDF bulldozer began to demolish the structure, but Halil did not take advantage of his last chance to leave, and he was killed in the destruction. His body and pistol were recovered from the rubble.

Nafez Azzam, an Islamic Jihad terrorist chief in Gaza, told the Associate Press that the killing of Halil "does not encourage us to continue the state of calmness that currently exists on the ground. The resistance will continue in the face of the aggression against our people."

IDF forces also apprehended two terrorists north of Jenin, one from Hamas and the other from Islamic Jihad. A wanted man was arrested in Hevron as well.

South of Jenin, Arabs opened fire on an IDF position today, failing to cause injury.

Chaos in the Palestinian Authority resumed today in Ramallah. At around noon, 20 armed terrorists from Fatah's Al-Aksa Brigades interrupted a meeting of 1,200 members of the Fatah party, vandalizing the hall, ordering attendees out of the building and shooting in the air. Their gripe was that they had not been invited to the meeting. Fatah is headed by PA chairman Abu Mazen.

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