- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 18, 2006

At long last, the truth about former University of South Florida professor Sami al-Arian is out. He is guilty — and the terror-conspiring professor admits it.

In court papers unsealed Monday, al-Arian admits to raising money and lending support to Palestinian Islamic Jihad. He admits to knowing that the PIJ “achieved its objectives by, among other means, acts of violence.” And he admits that he has been lying about it since the allegations first emerged in 1995. “Defendant is pleading guilty because defendant is in fact guilty,” reads the agreement al-Arian signed. That’s a far cry from the claim — heard just a few months ago — that al-Arian was an innocent whose civil liberties were trampled. He is expected to be released from prison shortly, upon which he will be deported.

The plea agreement made public this week shows that al-Arian knew what he was doing all along and sought to conceal it from the media and from government investigators. al-Arian helped members of the PIJ obtain immigration benefits; he helped hide their identities from reporters; he helped funnel money to the terrorist group; he used a University of South Florida think tank as cover for those activities. In short, he does not dispute the crux of the conspiracy and terrorism-abetting allegations made against him — allegations which he now agrees the government could prove beyond reasonable doubt in a court of law if the prosecution were to go forward.

The closing of this chapter of the al-Arian saga should shame his sympathizers. They were beguiled by al-Arian as he swaddled himself in the First Amendment and pretended to be a victim of government persecution. To borrow a phrase from a previous era, this shows without doubt that they are the useful idiots of the war on terror. They are bought, sold and discarded by terrorists groups all too happy for a greater appearance of legitimacy.

Perhaps “beguiled” is too easy a characterization of the sympathizers; a beguiled person must be so unwillingly. Even now, the Council on American-Islamic Relations is spinning the agreement as a victory. CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad went so far as to call al-Arian’s coming deportation “an additional burden on a family that has suffered tremendously over the past few years.”

How about the families of the 100 innocents murdered by Palestinian Islamic Jihad which the indictment against al-Arian cites, Mr. Awad? Have they not “suffered tremendously”?

Sami al-Arian used his perch in academia to help a brutal terrorist organization that is responsible for the murder of innocents, including U.S. citizens and is bent on the destruction of a U.S. ally. al-Arian was then brazen enough to lie about it and prey upon sympathizers. In our open society, where people are presumed innocent until proven guilty, he almost got away with it. We can at least be thankful that an ugly chapter in this terrorism case is now closed.

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