In yet another sign of the thoroughgoing corruption of American academia, Indiana University’s McKinney School of Law and its Muslim Philanthropy Initiative recently co-sponsored a conference with a man who admitted to being a key member of a jihad terror group and was accordingly deported from the United States. According to an Investigative Project on Terrorism report Tuesday, and to his great credit (although he was acting after a barrage of complaints), Amir Pasic, dean of the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University, apologized for the university’s role in showcasing this terror leader, Sami al-Arian. Pasic did explain, however, that the university had hosted al-Arian because he had done such great work combating “Islamophobia.” As “Islamophobia” is a manipulative propaganda term designed to inhibit criticism of jihad violence and Sharia oppression, this is hardly reassuring.
Sami al-Arian pleaded guilty back in 2006 to a charge of “conspiracy to make or receive contributions of funds to or for the benefit of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a Specially Designated Terrorist” organization. He was then deported from the United States, but he remains a darling of American academia. Back in 2021, according to JNS, al-Arian organized a conference that was co-sponsored by the University of Denver’s Josef Korbel School for International Studies. Conference speakers denounced Israel as the “apartheid Jewish Zionist colonial state” and called for its eradication. The program, JNS reported, was “replete with Palestinian propaganda, revisionist history, and blatant anti-Semitism and anti-Israel vitriol.”
At that conference, Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s al-Arian denounced Israel in the hysterically false terms that are now becoming familiar in America thanks to the likes of Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Mogadishu) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Ramallah): “There is no doubt we are talking about a settler, colonialist movement. What we see here today is an attempt to depopulate the indigenous people, and bring in as many Jews from around the world and try to bring a system that is properly being identified now as apartheid. There is no doubt about this.”
Israel, al-Arian thundered, was a “racist movement,” a “Zionist onslaught” that was directed toward replacing the “indigenous people.” The solution? Israel’s total destruction: “the essence of the struggle should be to dismantle this structure.”
Neither Indiana University nor the University of Denver can plausibly claim that they didn’t know what they were getting into. Al-Arian has been quite clear about his views for decades. Back in 1991, during a speech in Chicago, al-Arian screamed: “The Quran is our constitution. Jihad is our path … Victory to Islam… Death to Israel… Revolution… revolution till the victory.”
Showing he hadn’t changed, in mid-December 2020, al-Arian spoke via Zoom at the Fourth International Conference on the Muslim Ummah. There al-Arian also called for “defeating and dismantling the Zionist project,” adding: “We cannot pursue an ummah project without actually attaining our real independence. We cannot attain our real independence without dealing with the problem of Israel….As long as Israel exists, the ummah will stay weak and fragmented, and disunited and divided and dependent and under control.”
Numerous American academics and other Leftists have counted al-Arian as a friend for years and were anxious to portray him as a victim of “Islamophobia.” Before al-Arian pleaded guilty, he was dismissed from his post at the University of South Florida, whereupon Georgetown professor John Esposito claimed that al-Arian was merely falling victim to “anti-Arab and anti-Muslim bigotry.”
Al-Arian himself pushed all the right buttons as well, declaring: “I’m a minority. I’m an Arab, I’m Palestinian. I’m a Muslim. That’s not a popular thing to be these days. Do I have rights, or don’t I have rights?” In March 2002, Nicholas Kristof went to bat for the professor in the New York Times: “The point is not whether one agrees with Professor Al-Arian, a rumpled academic with a salt-and-pepper beard who is harshly critical of Israel (and also of repressive Arab countries) — but who also denounces terrorism, promotes inter-faith services with Jews and Christians, and led students at his Islamic school to a memorial service after 9/11 where they all sang ‘God Bless America.’ No, the larger point is that a university, even a country, becomes sterile when people are too intimidated to say things out of the mainstream.”
Phil Donahue fawned over al-Arian on his show. “So, one more time, sir,” he said to the professor, “and I know that you’re probably getting tired of these same questions — ‘death to Israel’ did not mean you wanted to kill Jews, do I understand your position?” After Al-Arian assured him of his pacifistic intentions, Phil went on to allege that “the law of innocent until proven guilty doesn’t seem to exist for Professor Sami Al-Arian.” He worried for al-Arian’s safety: “You are swimming upstream, professor, and this must be quite a shock to you. I know that your life has been threatened. I assume you have security.” In a 2002 defense of al-Arian in Salon, Eric Boehlert wrote: “The al-Arian story reveals what happens when journalists, abandoning their role as unbiased observers, lead an ignorant, alarmist crusade against suspicious foreigners who in a time of war don’t have the power of the press or public sympathy to fight back.”
The al-Arian story actually reveals what happens when journalists and Leftist academics, abandoning their role as unbiased observers, lead an ignorant, alarmist crusade against Americans who in a time of war try to defend our country from threats that aren’t recognized as such by the Leftist elites. Indiana University’s apology was good to see, but the university doesn’t show any indication of having awakened from the intellectual miasma that afflicts it and virtually all universities today. Will Indiana University ever feature a speaker who challenges the entire “Islamophobia” narrative as the propaganda fiction that it is, and calls attention to the grim reality of jihad violence and Sharia oppression of women? Not on your life.