One of the ugliest post-9/11 trials was the terrorism prosecution of a Palestinian immigrant, Dr. Sami Al-Arian, for using strong words in criticizing Israel and backing Palestinian rights, a case that amounted to thought crimes. It has now ended with Al-Arian's deportation.
Earlier this week, the U.S. government deported... Dr. Sami Al-Arian, from the United States. Turkey has granted him sanctuary.
Since we first met Dr. Al-Arian a few years ago, he and his family have set standards for faithfulness, moral steadfastness, and commitment to truth to which we can only aspire. More broadly, the U.S. government’s treatment of Dr. al Arian underscores an urgent reality: how the West treats Muslims - in the Middle East, where they are the overwhelming majority, and in diaspora communities in the West itself - is the defining moral and political challenge of our time.
The U.S. government’s actions against Sami Al-Arian and his family should remind all of us how badly the United States is failing that challenge.
Sami Al-Arian was targeted by the U.S. government because, during the 1990s, he emerged as one of the most prominent and effective advocates for Palestinian rights that U.S. officials had ever faced.