Terrorism at Michigan
Parents of University of Michigan
students and Michigan taxpayers should be outraged
by the Divestment Conference being held in mid-October
at the University of Michigan.
While the name and stated goal
of the conference is divestment from Israel and
companies doing business there, that is merely
a cover for what will really happen-support for
terrorism against Americans and a hate-fest against
Jews akin to a Hitler rally in Nazi Germany.
As a Michigan alumna, I respect
speech rights of everyone, no matter how odious
their positions may be.
But free speech does not include
incitement to violence, which the Supreme Court
has repeatedly ruled illegal and not covered by
Constitutional protections. That is exactly the
type of speech that will be spewed at the conference.
U-M President Mary Sue Coleman, by irresponsibly
allowing the conference to take place in U-M facilities,
jeopardizes the safety of thousands of students.
The conference organizer, Fadi
Kiblawi, a U-M senior, wrote in a U-M publication
of wanting "to strap a bomb to one's chest
and kill." That Kiblawi remains a U-M student
after uttering such a desire, let alone obtaining
use of U-M facilities for anything, is incredible.
Speakers at the conference are
a "Who's Who" of supporters of terrorism
and violence, including:
· Sami Al-Arian: The Tampa
Tribune reported he is a founder and ruling council
member of terrorist group Islamic Jihad, which
murdered New Jersey college student Alisa Flatow
and countless others.
Al-Arian is the author of this
speech: "We assemble today to pay respects
to the march of the martyrs and to the river of
blood that gushes forth and does not extinguish,
from butchery to butchery, and from martyrdom
to martyrdom, from Jihad to Jihad."
According to former federal prosecutor
John Loftus, "The Saudi government was laundering
money through Florida charities run by University
of South Florida (USF) professor Sami Al-Arian
for the support of terrorist groups in the Middle
East. And through the Al-Arian network, and others,
the Saudi government secretly funded al Qaeda,
Hamas and Islamic Jihad." Al-Arian employed
Ramadan Abdullah Shallah, chief of Islamic Jihad,
and Tariq Hamdi, who the Tampa Tribune reports,
"provided a replacement battery for the satellite
telephone prosecutors say was integral" to
Al-Quaida's 1998 bombing of two U.S. embassies.
A 1995 letter by Al-Arian, discovered
just 10 days after Islamic Jihad suicide bombers
killed 18 people, sought "support to the
jihad effort in Palestine so that operations such
as these can continue" and stated, "The
link with the brothers in Hamas is very good and
making steady progress, and there are serious
attempts at unification and permanent coordination."
A chilling 1988 surveillance video
of Al-Arian's fundraising tour of America's mosques
shows Al-Arian being introduced as, "the
president of the Islamic Committee for Palestine,
. . . the active arm of the Islamic Jihad Movement."
While others in the video praise the killing of
Jews and Christians, Al-Arian states, "Let
us damn America. . . . .Let us damn [her] allies
until death." Standing under Islamic Jihad
banners, Al-Arian talks of a Koranic "curse"
against "those who are the sons of Israel
through David and Jesus, the Son of Mary. . .
The Koran is our constitution. Jihad is our path."
· Hatem Bazian: At a May
1999 conference in Santa Clara, he stated, "The
Day of Judgment will never happen until you fight
the Jews . . . . [T]he trees and stones will say,
oh Muslim, there is a Jews hiding behind me. Come
and kill him!"
· Mahdi Bray: In October,
1998, he coordinated and led a Washington rally
of 2,000 people, during which he played the tambourine
as the crowd repeated, "[L]et's all go into
jihad, and throw stones at the face of the Jews."
On December 22, 2000, Bray organized and spoke
at a rally outside the White House, at which the
emcee and crowd chanted responsively in Arabic,
"oh Jews, the Army of Muhammad is coming
for you!" The Nazi swastika was openly displayed.
· Adam Shapiro and Huwaida
Arraf: They praised "suicide operations"
and "shaheed Allah" (martyrdom) as "noble."
They oppose "adopting the methods of Gandhi
or Martin Luther King, Jr." because "no
other successful nonviolent movement was able
to achieve what it did without a concurrent violent
In an embarrassing lack of leadership,
U-M President Coleman sent an e-mail saying she
would allow the conference to go on because Berkeley
held the same conference, last year. But that
conference was followed by a year of at least
50 violent incidents against Jews on campus or
in the nearby metro area. Since President Coleman
is apparently in the habit of copying other campuses--
rather than being an independent, responsible,
and concerned with the lives and safety of students--why
isn't she emulating the leadership of the University
of South Florida President Judy Genschaft? Genschaft,
leading the campus that knows Al-Arian best because
it employed him as a professor, fired and banned
him from the campus, citing security concerns
and student safety.
President Coleman must ban from
U-M, any conference speakers and organizers possessing
records of inciteful, violent speech. Otherwise,
divestment will certainly be in order--from the
irresponsible University of Michigan.
Debbie Schlussel is a Detroit-area attorney, commentator,