It took until 2001 for the university to suspend al-Arian. They did so only after Bill O'Reilly interviewed al-Arian on Fox News in September 2001 and exposed his terrorist connections (which include his brother-in-law, who was deported in August 2002). Naturally, leftists complained that al-Arian's freedom of speech had been violated and that general academic freedom was in danger. Salon.com's Eric Boehlert went so far as to slander Fox News, NBC, Media General and Clear Channel Communications for "fudging the facts and ignoring the most rudimentary tenets of journalism in their haste to better tell a sinister story about lurking Middle Eastern dangers here at home." Boehlert called the accusations against al-Arian "discredited" and suggested that Bill O'Reilly was "McCarthy-like" in his interview for "clearly implying that he believed Al-Arian was a terrorist."
It's not often that I praise the federal judiciary. But this week, U.S. District Judge James Moody demonstrated that our federal judiciary sometimes produces people of character and strength. On Tuesday, May 2, Judge Moody imposed the maximum sentence on Professor Sami al-Arian, who taught at the University of South Florida as he aided and abetted the murderous terrorist group Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ). Al-Arian headed two suspected front groups for the PIJ -- one of which employed Ramadan Abdullah Shallah, who later became the head of the PIJ, and the other employed Tariq Hamdi, who set up Osama bin Laden's famous interview with ABC News. Al-Arian also utilized university space to host conferences with terrorists like Sheikh Omar Rahman, the blind sheikh who preached jihad against U.S. targets and whose followers bombed the World Trade Center and murdered Rabbi Meir Kahane. Al-Arian once spoke at a rally in Cleveland, where he was introduced as "the active arm of the Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine" and led the crowd in chants of "Jihad is our path. Victory to Islam. Death to Israel. Revolution. Revolution until victory. Rolling, rolling to Jerusalem." Even after President Clinton froze U.S. funds linked to Islamic Jihad, al-Arian sent out fundraising letters for the terrorist group.