USA vs. AL-ARIAN Film Screening
Thursday, July 17 @ 7pm
USA vs AL-ARIAN is an intimate family portrait that documents the American-Muslim family Al-Arian’s desperate attempt to fight terrorism charges leveled by the US Government.
In February 2003, university professor and pro-Palestinian civil rights activist Sami Al-Arian was arrested in Tampa, Florida, charged with providing material support to a terror organization. For two-and-a-half years he was held in solitary confinement, denied basic privileges and given limited access to his attorneys. While the Bush administration considered this a landmark case in its campaign against international terrorism, Sami Al-Arian claims he was targeted in an attempt to silence his political views.
The film follows Sami Al-Arian’s wife Nahla and their five children throughout his 6 month-long trial. It is an intimate family portrait that documents the strain brought on by the trial, a battle waged both in court and in the media. In the film a tight-knit family unravels before our very eyes as trial preparations, strategy and spin consume their lives. This is a nightmare come to life, as a man is prosecuted for his beliefs rather than his actions.
The film raises questions on whether it is possible for a man like Sami Al-Arian to receive a fair trial in the United States given the current hostile environment against Muslims and the strong US support of Israel. It presents democracy in a new light in a post-9/11 culture of fear, where “security measures” trump free speech and punishment is meted out in the name of protection. It is an example of how the American government’s hunt for terrorists is a struggle that can be seen from multiple angles.
For those who wish to view this film and use the knowledge that they glean from it to help support al-Arian, I will paste in here the email of a friend about al-Arian’s recent release on bail this week:
District Court Judge Leonie M. Brinkema granted Dr. Sami Al-Arian release on bail, until his impending trial in August. This is the first small victory in a long time for a man who has faced tremendous goverment persecution, having spent the last 5 years in prison — much of that time in solitary confinement — despite being acquitted by a jury of his peers.
Dr. Al-Arian’s daughter Laila is a good friend of mine — we used to work together — and as such this case takes on a very personal dimension for me. I would appreciate it if you’d take the time to visit this website–
–and learn a bit about the case, and why this is far from over. There is also an excellent documentary that follows Dr. Al-Arian through his previous trials and lays out in a clear, understandable way exactly why the harassment of the entire Al-Arian family has to stop. You can order the DVD at:
The reason I am writing now is that Judge Brinkema cited in her decision the dozens of letters she received from friends and supporters of the Al-Arian family as being crucial to her decision. This is an example of how direct action can and does make a difference. If you’d like to receive updates on the case as it progresses you can reply to this and I’ll be sure to pass your e-mail address along, otherwise I hope you can find the time to read a bit and learn more.
Come see the film and learn more about the criminal injustice system in the U.S., particularly how it targets Muslims and Arabs.