The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), a part of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood, continues its long history of attacking almost all anti-terror efforts conducted by the U.S. government by protesting the recent 11-year sentence of a former professor for his refusal to testify before a 2003 grand jury investigating Hamas networks in the U.S. As an earlier post reported, Abdelhaleem Ashqar, 49, a former associate professor of business at Washington’s Howard University, was convicted earlier this year on criminal contempt and obstruction of justice charges for his refusal to testify but he and codefendant Muhammad Salah were acquitted of participating in a racketeering conspiracy aimed at financing Hamas. The CAIR statement about the sentence is consistent with CAIR’s portrayal of U.S. anti-terror efforts as part of a “war on Islam”:
“We are dismayed that the judge’s sentence apparently ignores Dr. Ashqar’s acquittal on the most serious charges and instead reflects a prison term that could only have been imposed if he had actually been convicted of those charges,” said CAIR-Chicago Executive Director Ahmed Rehab. “The excessive sentence is not in the spirit of the American justice system.” “This apparently politically-motivated sentence sends the unfortunate message that when American Muslims are involved, a jury’s decision may be ignored,” said CAIR-Chicago Civil Rights Coordinator Christina Abraham.
In a related development, CAIR “urged people of conscience” to attend the Washington, D.C., premiere of the documentary film “USA vs. Al-Arian,” which the group is co-sponsoring on December 5, 2007. According to CAIR:
The film follows the arrest and trial of Sami Al-Arian, a Florida university professor accused of supporting a terrorist organization. For more than two years, Dr. Al-Arian was held in solitary confinement, denied basic privileges and given limited access to his attorneys. “USA vs AL-ARIAN” is an intimate family portrait that documents the American-Muslim Al-Arian family’s desperate attempt to fight terrorism charges leveled by the US Government.
In May 2006, Al-Arian was convicted and sentenced to 57 months in prison for conspiring to violate a federal law that prohibits making or receiving contributions of funds, goods or services to, or for the benefit of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), a Specially Designated Terrorist.
Documents released in the Holy Land Foundation terrorism financing trial showed that CAIR and its founders Omar Ahmed and CAIR executive Nihad Awad were members of the Muslim Brotherhood’s “Palestine Committee”, founded in 1988 by the head of the Palestine Section of the Muslim Brotherhood in the Levant who came to America and met with fellow Muslim Brothers. Since its founding, CAIR has defended numerous individuals and organizations accused of terrorism-related offenses as well as attacking virtually all anti-terror efforts as part of a “war on Islam.”