Phyllis Chesler in a Pajamas Media post, “The Jihadi Feels Persecuted—His Aggression is Self-Defense” has more about the attacks on FrontPage Magazine investigative journalist Joe Kaufman and Florida Security Council videographer, J. Mark Campbell, that took place on Thursday inside the Florida State Capitol in Tallahassee. The perpetrator of both attacks was Florida Atlantic University (FAU) computer science professor, Bassem Alhalabi, a colleague of self-confessed convicted terrorist funder Sami al Arian, former University of South Florida professor and leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad in America. Alhalabi had been fined by the US Department of Commerce in 2003 for shipping to Syria thermal imaging cameras used in counterterrorism work. We have posted on this story here and here.
We noted this about the Alhalabi Al-Arian connection:
There were two attacks on FrontPageMagazine jounalist Joe Kaufman and video producer J. Mark Campbell who were accosted by Dr. Bassem Alhalabi, a professor at Florida Atlantic University (FAU). Kaufman had previously written, “Prior to arriving at FAU, Alhalabi provided the school with a reference from PIJ leader and future convicted terrorist Sami Amin Al-Arian. Alhalabi had been a Research Assistant for Al-Arian at the University of South Florida (USF) from 1989 to 1990.”
Note what Chesler writes about the events surrounding the attacks based on interviews with Campbell:
Over the weekend, I spoke with J. Mark Campbell, a Florida Security Council videographer who was assaulted on March 11th (the day the nurse was beaten), a day which had been designated as Muslim Capitol Day in Tallahasee. Campbell was assaulted by Professor Bassem Alhalabi who stalked Campbell but who nevertheless claimed that he, Alhalabi, was “being harassed.” Many police were present and security tapes were running. Thus, Alhalabi was charged with “simple battery.” Twice—because he also assaulted another journalist too.
According to Joe Kaufman of Americans Against Hate, “Alhalabi is a professor at Florida Atlantic University, a director and co-founder of the Islamic Center of Boca Raton, and, in 2003, was found guilty of illegally shipping a $13,000 military-grade thermal imaging device to Syria. His associate, Ahmed Bedier, the former executive Director of CAIR-Tampa and a spokesman for Sami al-Arian, was present at the event. You can see them both in the video here.
Investigative journalist and chairman of Americans Against Hate, Joe Kaufman, was also separately assaulted by Alhalabi the same day. And why? Quietly, respectfully, Kaufman and Campbell were covering the event. They had done their “due diligence” and were not behaving in an intrusive or unpleasant fashion. But they were journalists and citizens exercising their First Amendment rights. Nevertheless, Alhalabi (who was also a supporter and associate of convicted terrorist Sami al-Arian, and who is, himself, a chemical engineer) felt “pestered” by their presence. Their very existence got on his nerves. Or was it the fact that Campbell and Kaufman were documenting what Muslims were doing on American public property that bothered him?
Surely, that’s provocation enough. Alhalabi kept finger pointing. He had people block Campbell’s camera. He kept advancing and “swatting at” Campbell’s camera. He had an associate take his camera and shove it up close into Campbell’s face. He “punched” at Campbell’s camera and face. According to Campbell, Alhalabi “physically pushed and shoved me.” He had previously done the same thing to Kaufman.
The police finally asked Campbell and Kaufman—not Alhalabi– to leave. Not because they’d “done anything wrong” but because, said the officer, “your presence is offensive to this group. We must tell you to leave to keep the peace.” And, the local media (WTXL-TV) which promised to cover what had happened, backed down. They interviewed Campbell and Kaufman but, according to Campbell, after promising to run the interview, never did so.
Let me understand this. Danish cartoonists can’t draw cartoons that “offend” some Muslims—please understand, these people have been “offended,” they feel as if they’ve been “attacked,” “provoked”; if they stage riots, kill people, even try to kill the cartoonist—well, the cartoonist started the fight. Salman Rushdie threw the first punch too when he published a novel which “offended” Khomeini and his followers. And, if two American journalists and bloggers want to cover a Muslim Day event in a public setting (in the State Capitol Building)—they deserve to be shoved, pushed, threatened, and thrown out.