Muslim Leaders Gather to Defend Al-Arian

January 6, 2006

Source: The Tampa Tribune

On January 6, 2006 The Tampa Tribune reported, "For the first time, some of the nation's most prominent Muslim leaders will visit Tampa en masse to jump into the Sami Al-Arian fray. They'll gather today at the federal courthouse downtown to express their frustration over Al-Arian's treatment and rally for a resolution. Despite support for Al-Arian, many shied away from the routine protests surrounding the case. Now, the 'demonizing and criminalization' of Muslims has united organizations, said Mahdi Bray, executive director of the Muslim American Society's Freedom Foundation in Washington. The Muslim religion is decentralized, with no top leader or worldwide council. On Dec. 6, Al-Arian was acquitted of eight terrorism-related charges, including conspiracy to murder or maim people abroad. The jury deadlocked on nine other charges. A status conference scheduled for today is expected to determine the next legal steps. Al-Arian could be retried."