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FAU Professor With "Terrorist Ties"?

According to the Palm Beach Post, about 50 protesters today demanded the resignation or firing of FAU professor Bassem alHalabi. Why? Because of his ties to terrorists, of course.

The protest was led by Joe Kaufman, founder of Americans Against Hate. Kaufman has had run-ins with alHalabi in the past. In March 2010, it seems alHalabi assaulted Kaufman when both men were in Tallahassee for the second-annual "Muslim Capitol Day" -- a day on which Florida Muslims intended to address their political leaders and get an airing of their issues. Kaufman didn't think those issues should get an airing, so he was in town to keep the politicians from talking to the Mohammedans. According to him, the effort was largely successful. Apparently, alHalabi gave Kaufman a shove. Later, he "assaulted" a cameraman. You can see the video of that "assault" here -- basically, alHalabi put his hand over a dude's camera lens to keep himself from being filmed. Terrorist!

AlHalabi was punished for his outburst. He was arrested, charged, and took a plea deal that found him doing community service and taking anger management classes. He's done his time, and Joe Kaufman should probably stop bitching about the altercation. (Anyway, what does Kaufman expect to happen when he tries sabotaging communication between a democracy lover and his political leaders? Hitting is illegal, but that doesn't mean the temptation isn't sometimes overwhelming.)

Kaufman has other complaints about alHalabi, most of which are laughable. Yeah, he helps run an Islamic center in Boca. Yeah, members of the center have had some connection with Hamas. Oh, well. I'm an atheist. Doesn't mean I dig PolPot. Guilt by association is stupid.

And that would be all there is to say if it weren't for the pesky fact that Joe Kaufman, beneath the anti-democratic bluster and dumb rage, might have one very good point.

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce's Bureau of Industry and Security, alHalabi sent a thermal imaging camera to Syria. This is illegal, because thermal imaging cameras, in addition to being very useful for firefighting, enable soldiers to detect enemies beyond barriers and see in the dark. If it's the case that alHalabi offered aid to a Syrian fighting force -- be it the military or any of the paramilitary outfits, such as Islamic Jihad, which have cozy relationships with that country's oppressive Ba'athist regime -- then he is in league with forces mortally opposed to the ideals of the kind of higher education that an institution like FAU is meant to safeguard. Unless there is a great deal more to the story, it seems dismissal should be automatic. Too bad it takes a blowhard like Kaufman to say so.

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Brandon K. Thorp

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