Last month, Bassem Alhalabi, an associate professor at Florida Atlantic University (FAU) and leader of a radical Boca Raton mosque, pled guilty to two separate attacks taking place in Tallahassee, Florida in March 2010. This was not the first time Alhalabi had been on the other side of the law. Yet, according to the FAU website, he is still in good standing at the school. Will the taxpayers of Florida stand by, while this publicly funded institution continues to harbor and provide legitimacy to a violent, terror-related criminal?
On March 11, 2010, after exiting the office of then-Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum, while in the lobby of the State Capitol Building, this author was physically attacked by Bassem Abdo Alhalabi, an individual I had written about a number of times in the past.
I was in Tallahassee to give a government briefing on the terrorism ties of Ahmed Bedier, the former Executive Director of the Tampa chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Tampa), who was bringing his new group, United Voices for America (UVA), to town to lobby the State Legislature. Despite its patriotic sounding name, UVA is nothing more than a political advocacy division of CAIR-Florida.
It was this author’s job, as well as others’, to convince the legislators not to meet with Bedier and/or any members of his group. For the most part, we were successful. Indeed, I was told by the Attorney General’s Chief of Staff Bill Stewart that information I had personally provided their office, previous to arriving in Tallahassee, had stopped AG McCollum from meeting with Bedier.
Alhalabi came to Tallahassee as a UVA Delegate. That is an important detail. So when he had attacked me – and one hour later, the cameraman I was with – he did so as a representative of the UVA. While one of his hands was grasped firmly around my arm, his other hand was clutching the blue UVA packet he received for his group’s event.
Following the filing of two separate police reports, Alhalabi was charged with one count of battery on me and one count of assault on the cameraman. A warrant was issued for Alhalabi’s arrest on March 19th; he was taken into custody on March 22nd; and he was released from prison, after posting bond, on March 23rd.
The trial was set to begin on January 31, 2011. However, days prior to trial, Alhalabi admitted guilt in a plea agreement to avoid a potentially tougher sentence. He pled guilty to both charges of battery and assault. By doing so, he was ordered to perform community service and to complete an anger management course.
This was not the first time Alhalabi had gotten himself in trouble with the law. In June 2003, the U.S. Department of Commerce found Alhalabi guilty of illegally shipping a $13,000 military-grade thermal imaging device to Syria, a state sponsor of terrorism.
As stated in the government’s ruling, “The Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) charged that, on March 12, 1998, Alhalabi caused the export of a thermal imaging camera to Syria in violation of the [Export Administration Regulations] EAR. Thermal imaging cameras are controlled for export to Syria for national security, regional stability, and anti-terrorism reasons.”