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Militant Islam Monitor > Articles > Al -Arian Starving for Attention - Head of PIJ in US goes on hunger strike gets support from Islamist groups

Al -Arian Starving for Attention - Head of PIJ in US goes on hunger strike gets support from Islamist groups

April 15, 2008

Al-Arian Starving for Attention
By Joe Kaufman
FrontPageMagazine.com | Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Sami Al-Arian, as a co-founder and the North American leader of Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), is an international symbol of both hatred and violence. However, for some, he is a hero. Last month, a number of individuals representing virtually every major American Muslim organization paid him a visit at his prison digs, said to be concerned about his health amidst his alleged third hunger strike since his incarceration began over five years ago. In coming out in support of Al-Arian, the groups have exposed their true agenda.

Sami Amin Al-Arian is sitting in prison for one reason -- he was involved in a terrorist organization that was responsible for the murder of scores of innocents, including Americans. However, instead of denouncing him for his crimes against humanity, some have come to his side to offer their support and plead for his release.

On March 31st, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) sent out a paid press release stating that representatives from a number of Muslim organizations traveled to the Northern Neck Regional jail facility, located in Warsaw, Virginia, to stand in solidarity with Al-Arian, who was, and is, on a hunger strike.

The groups visiting Al-Arian, as stated in the release, included: CAIR, the Muslim American Society (MAS), the American Muslim Alliance (AMA), and the American Muslim Task Force on Civil Rights and Elections (AMT). AMT, itself, is an umbrella organization which consists of: CAIR, MAS, AMA, the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), the Muslim Students Association (MSA), the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), the Muslim Alliance in North America (MANA), Project Islamic Hope (PIH), Muslim Ummah of North America (MUNA), and United Muslims of America (UMA).

All of the above groups make up the majority of Islamic organizations inside the United States. This paints an insidious picture of the American Muslim community -- or at least its leadership -- as these groups have publicly aligned themselves with a convicted terrorist.

The National Executive Director of CAIR, Nihad Awad, who himself has been involved with Hamas -- he was the Public Relations Director and Spokesman for the terror group's propaganda wing, the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP) -- was one of the visitors at the prison. He stated to the Tampa Tribune, "Amazingly, [Al-Arian] is composed and he made sense. He was very sharp, very alert. He believes in his just cause and we were there to support him."

Al-Arian has been on the hunger strike for over a month. It was in protest to his being called to testify before a grand jury for a trial dealing with the terror ties of various Northern Virginia-based Islamic charities and businesses. It has been reported that his previous strike lasted for over two months, from January till March of last year. That one was in response to him receiving further jail time beyond his sentence for refusing to testify at another Virginia terror trial, concerning the International Institute for Islamic Thought (IIIT).

Nihad Awad told the Tribune, "The last thing you want to see is a political prisoner dying on hunger strike." What Mr. Awad and his fellow jail visitors ignore, though, are all those persons that were harmed by the activities of Al-Arian -- those individuals who were ruthlessly murdered, including two Americans, Alisa Flatow and Shoshana Ben-Yishai -- those persons who have to live the rest of their lives with lost family or lost limbs.

We are supposed to feel pity for this "poor man," who has made the conscious decision to starve himself. We are told that he is, as well, a diabetic. We are made to believe that this is all the government's fault, that he is as Awad said, "a political prisoner." We have been here before.

In September of 2004, Middle East expert Daniel Pipes posed the question, "Is the Blind Sheikh Trying to Die?" Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman, who was convicted for his role as the spiritual leader of the group responsible for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, according to his appointed physician David Edwardy, chose "high-fat, high-salt, high-caloric" prison food over that of his medication and a healthy diet. Edwardy spoke of this, during a federal trial against Abdel-Rahman's attorney, Lynne Stewart, and two others. It seemed as though Abdel-Rahman was purposefully attempting to inflict harm on himself.

A possible reason for this was stated in Cairo, Egypt's Al-Ahram Weekly, dated April of 2002: "The diabetic cleric who also suffers a heart condition and asthma, has been moved from the Federal Medical Center in Minnesota to an undisclosed location. According to the indictment, Stewart plotted with [Abdel-Rahman ‘surrogate,' Ahmed] Abdel-Sattar to mislead the public about Abdel-Rahman's health problems. They allegedly agreed that Abdel-Sattar should claim prison officials were denying him treatment for diabetes when he was, in fact, refusing medical care."

Al-Arian, like Abdel-Rahman before him, is trying to gain sympathy from the public, while at the same time attempting to send a message to the outside world that the U.S. government is his enemy -- their enemy. And the Muslim organizations and their representatives who are "visiting" the terror leader are willing accomplices. Indeed, as stated in CAIR's press release, "Following the [prison] meeting, delegation members called on the House Judiciary Committee to use its oversight function to intervene in Al-Arian's case."

If Sami Al-Arian -- a man that used a children's school in Tampa, Florida to raise money for Palestinian Islamic Jihad -- does, one day, get deported from the United States, and Al-Arian does, then, continue to propagate terror, then these eleven groups ought to be held, in part, responsible. Their support for Al-Arian should be seen by the American public as an affront to our values and a threat to our nation.

Joe Kaufman is the Chairman of Americans Against Hate, the founder of CAIR Watch, and the spokesman for Terror-Free Oil Initiative.

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