Sami Al-Arian Indicted in Virginia
Indicted In Virginia
Posted: August 20, 2008
Sami al-Arian, a former University of South Florida professor, has been indicted by the U.S. District Court in Virginia on two counts of criminal contempt for refusing to testify in a federal grand jury investigation reportedly looking into terrorism financing by different entities based in Northern Virginia.
Al-Arian was indicted in June 2008 after two appellate courts rejected his argument that a plea agreement in a previous trial in Florida precluded him from testifying in other investigations and protected him from any additional punishment. Al-Arian filed an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court, delaying the contempt trial originally scheduled for August 2008.
Al-Arian, who pleaded guilty in 2006 to conspiring to aid the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), was scheduled to be deported in April after completing 19 months in prison (the balance of his 57-month sentence). He remains in the custody of immigration authorities while awaiting the trial in Virginia.
The grand jury investigation for which al-Arian was subpoenaed to testify reportedly concerns several Virginia-based entities, including the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT).
IIIT is alleged to have been a major financial backer of al-Arian's think tank, the World and Islam Studies Enterprise (WISE), which was shut down by federal authorities in 1995. The U.S. government alleged in a 53-count indictment that al-Arian and others used WISE and other educational and charitable entities to raise money for PIJ.
IIIT has also edited the most widely distributed English Koran, which contains anti-Semitic commentary that repeatedly derides Jews, stating: "they stir up wars, especially against the innocent," and "their wickedness continues to devise ever new mischief." IIIT's revised commentary further warns: "The Jews want their racial superiority established over the Arabs."