Monday February 9, 2015
Earlier this week, the US government deported our friend and colleague, 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 US 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 US 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 US government because, during the 1990s, he emerged as one of the most prominent and effective advocates for Palestinian rights that US officials had ever faced. To offer some insight into his case and what it means, we highlight here two pieces. One, by Glenn Greenwald and his colleague at The Intercept, Murtaza Hussain, see here, assesses the US government’s case against Dr. Al-Arian as a glaring example of post-9/11 “America’s eroding democratic values.” This article explains how, as “part of a broader post-9/11 campaign by the US government to criminalize aid and support to Palestinians,” Dr. Al-Arian was “indicated on multiple counts of providing ‘material support’ to [Palestinian Islamic Jihad] and fundraising on their behalf in the United States.”