Nihad Awad, the Executive Director of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) blamed “the Israeli lobby” for the suffering of Sami Al-Arian, a former University of South Florida professor who pleaded guilty in 2006 to conspiring to aid the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ).
On June 27, Awad tweeted, “Happy News: The government of the United States of America dropped all charges against Dr. Sami Al-Arian after 11 years of suffering because of the Israeli lobby. Congratulations to him and to the lawyers team.”
A criminal contempt indictment against Al-Arian, who was previously sentenced to 57-months in prison for his role in conspiring to aid PIJ, was dropped Friday. Al-Arian, who has been facing these additional charges for the last 11 years, will now likely be deported as a result of the original charges.
Awad has previously made statements blaming Israel supporters for the suffering of Muslims in the U.S. In an interview with Al Jazeera in August 2012, Awad claimed that Muslims and Islam in America face ideological and political attacks primarily from groups that support Israel.
In another interview with Egyptian daily Al Masry Al Youm, in September 2010, Awad stated, “There is no doubt that the pro-Israel organizations have worked extensively over the years in promoting a culture of hostility towards Islam, supporting anti-Islam activists, holding receptions for them, assisting and funding them.”
Awad’s views not only feed on the conspiratorial narrative of undue Israeli influence over the American judicial system, but also ignore the active role played by several pro-Israel groups, including ADL, in fighting against hate that targets American Muslims.