Trial video shows anti-Israel speech at Al-Arian conference

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    The Associated Press
    TAMPA, Fla.
    Jurors in the terrorism conspiracy trial of Sami Al-Arian were shown a video Tuesday in which the former college professor praised terrorists, incited people to holy war and called Jews "monkeys and pigs."

    Before Al-Arian spoke on the video, a group of children chanted "Death to Israel."

    All people in the 1991 video, from a Chicago event, spoke in Arabic. The jury viewed the video with English subtitles.

    The video is introduced by prosecutors trying to convince jurors that Al-Arian and three co-defendants standing trial in federal court were guilty of supporting the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a terrorist group blamed for 100 deaths in the Middle East, by using various charitable and educational organizations as fronts. They face a 53-count indictment.

    In the video, Al-Arian said: "We must set the example and the ideal: Giving up not one foot of our sacred land. Yes to the Intifada. Yes to jihad for the sake of God."

    Al-Arian said God made Jews into "monkeys and pigs," who have power over "our people, our nation and our future."

    He disparaged Muslims who "want to negotiate with them, to have a dialogue with them, as if we have forgotten who the Jews are, because we have distanced ourselves from our Quran, history and heritage and we do not understand our reality."

    Co-defendant, Ghassan Zayed Ballut, who was introduced as the Islamic Committee for Palestine representative in Chicago, also told the crowd, "Yes to jihad and armed struggle."

    Ballut's attorney, Bruce Howie, said the conference on the video was not sponsored by the ICP. He also suggested to the jury that the videotape may have been altered during its editing.

    Earlier in the day prosecutors played another video in which Al-Arian was introduced as a moderator of 1989 a symposium in Chicago where participants spoke approvingly about killings of Israeli citizens and police in terror attacks.

    Along with Al-Arian, that video showed Bashir Musa Mohammed Nafi and Abd Al Aziz Awda, who are named as defendants in the indictment but remain at large.

    The indictment says Nafi is a member and founder of the PIJ who once worked at the World & Islam Studies Enterprise (WISE), a Tampa think tank founded by Al-Arian. It described Awda as a founder and spiritual leader of the PIJ.

    When asked by a young man for a practical solution to Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Nafi suggested they meet outside to discuss how to smuggle weapons.

    Fawaz Damra, the imam of a Cleveland mosque who is an unindicted coconspirator in the Al-Arian case, said: "The first principle is that terrorism, and terrorism alone, is the path to liberation."

    The defendants contend they are being persecuted for their unpopular political beliefs.

    http://www.theledger.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050726/APN/507260895
     

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