The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a part of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood, continued it’s long support for Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader Sami Al-Arian, currently imprisoned for refusing to testify before a grand jury investigating the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT), another part of the U.S. Brotherhood. According a CAIR press release:
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today called on American Muslims and other people of conscience to write letters in support of Dr. Sami Al-Arian, a former Florida professor currently on his second hunger strike in federal detention to protest alleged unjust treatment by U.S. authorities. Al-Arian, who has already lost almost 30 pounds, began refusing food and water on March 3rd to protest a third attempt by prosecutors to compel his testimony in court. He was recently transferred from his Virginia prison to a medical facility in North Carolina. CAIR asked that letters urging Al-Arian’s release be sent to Judge Gerald Lee of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, to Attorney General Michael Mukasey and to congressional leaders. Supporters are also being asked to write letters directly to Al-Arian.
In 2005, a federal jury deadlocked on eight of nine charges related to aiding terrorists but Al-Arian pleased guilty to one count of supporting a Palestinian terrorist organization. Having already served most of his sentence, it was expected that Al-Arian would be released and deported but his ongoing refusal to testify before the grand jury is holding up his release. National media has reported that Al-Arian claims his life would be endangered should he testify. This is the second hunger-strike by Al-Arian in connection with the grand jury affair. IIIT was one of the Herndon, Virginia organizations that are sometimes referred to as the SAAR Network or SAFA Group that was raided by federal agencies in March 2002. CAIR, along with the rest of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood, has championed Al-Arian since the time of his arrest.