Yes, you see, when he shouted “Death to America! Death to Israel!” he meant it as one sad cry against oppression and injustice, don’t you see? And jihad is a spiritual struggle, of course. What’s that? Islamic Jihad murdered Israeli civilians in the name of that jihad, and Al-Arian reacted approvingly? What are you, some kind of Islamophobe?
From the Tampa Tribune, with thanks to the Constantinopolitan Irredentist:
TAMPA – When Sami Al-Arian called for jihad, was he just encouraging the struggle of Palestinians to recover their homeland or was he stoking a holy war?
This is a distinction without a difference in any case. Hamas’ Charter, for example, places the Palestinian Arab struggle firmly in the context of jihad war, and PIJ is no different. Indeed, it is because of the jihad ideology that no negotiated settlement has been possible in Israel.
As a government translator testified in Al-Arian’s trial, the word jihad has several meanings. Both sides in the trial had different ideas about what Al- Arian was saying.
Al-Arian repeatedly used the word jihad when he spoke at events relating to the Palestinian cause between 1989 and 1991.
The translator, Tahsim Ali, a contract linguist for the FBI, did not give the English translation of jihad when he prepared transcripts of Al-Arian’s words. Ali said he left words such as jihad and intifada in their Arabic forms because they are commonly used in English, as well.
During cross-examination, Al-Arian attorney Linda Moreno asked Ali about the meaning. Consulting a book, Ali said it means “striving, [and is] used to mean both quest for holiness and waging a holy war.”
He agreed it also can mean “striving your utmost” and “struggling to achieve a goal.”
Krigsman later asked how to judge the meaning, and Ali said he goes by the context.
The prosecutor then pointed to several instances in which Al-Arian used the word, including when he said: “Thus is the way of jihad. Thus is the way of martyrdom. Thus is the way of blood, because this is the path to heaven.”
“The way of blood.” Yes, clearly he was referring to the “quest for holiness.”
Al-Arian is on trial along with Sameeh Hammoudeh Hatim Naji Fariz and Ghassan Zayed Ballut on charges they helped organize and finance the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, an organization in Israel and the occupied territories that has been linked to terrorist activity.