RealNews

From Advocacy to Terrorism, a Line Blurs

Three Israelis had just been killed in a suicide bombing in the Gaza Strip one November day in 1994 when Sami Al-Arian, then a computer engineering professor and Muslim leader here at the University of South Florida, faxed a note to an associate.The Kuwaiti-born professor conveyed his pride in the attack, according to the federal authorities who were monitoring his communications, and he asked that God bless the Palestinian jihad movement and “accept its martyrs.” He closed by urging members of the resistance to “be cautious and alert,” the authorities said. An impassioned advocate for Palestinian independence, Mr. Al-Arian never made any secret of his disdain for the Israeli occupation. But whether his work crossed the line from outspoken advocacy to terrorism is now a central question as he and three co-defendants go on trial in federal court in Tampa on Monday on terrorism and racketeering charges.Full Story

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