Depending on your perspective, Sami Al-Arian has been vindicated of the biased charges against him or is the fortunate beneficiary of a case too conspiratorially complex for a jury to feel comfortable with. But what Al-Arian is not is innocent.
We know he lied and misrepresented himself as to his relationship with Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a certified terrorist organization. Even the hardcore USF lefties should be embarrassed by his duplicity.
And while there were no smoking guns, there were smoldering rants that trampled on a rhetorician’s right to speak despicably. While he stayed perched on free speech’s slippery slope, others responded appropriately with revulsion to his exhortations of “death to Israel” and damnation to America.
*No one begrudges Al-Arian his fervor for the Palestinian cause. Theirs is a lamentable lot that, deplorably enough, not even Arab countries have been willing to do much to alleviate. However, his unqualified praise for acts of martyrdom – a sanitized term for the murder of innocents — are not the reflections of an innocent man. An unconvicted, not-guilty one — but not an innocent one.
*If perception is reality, then maybe it was better that Al-Arian skated on those eight terrorism-related counts and scored a mistrial on the other nine. In much of the Arab world, the American judicial system was as much on trial as Al-Arian. The result helps defuse the overseas view that we’re witch-hunting Muslims and would sooner lynch them than accord them a fair trial.