By Alana Goodman:
A convicted terrorist supporter who is currently under house arrest attended a Capitol Hill briefing hosted by a pro-Muslim Brotherhood group in a congressional office building earlier this month, according to reports.
Sami Al-Arian, a former engineering professor at the University of South Florida, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to aid the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) in 2006. He has been under house detention in Northern Virginia since 2008 for refusing to testify in a subsequent terror financing trial.
Al-Arian admitted in the plea agreement to having worked with the PIJ and other groups from the 1980s to the 1990s. He said he helped assist the PIJ after it was officially designated as a terrorist organization in 1995.
Al-Arian showed up at the briefing at the Cannon House Office Building in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 5, the Investigative Project on Terrorism reported. A group called the Egypt Freedom Foundation hosted the event.
The Egypt Freedom Foundation recently helped organize an event at Georgetown University that featured a member of Egypt’s Nazi Party, Ramy Jan, the Free Beacon reported last month.
Al-Arian’s house detention was modified last January, according to a court order, allowing him to leave his home during non-curfew hours with a monitoring device.
Briefing rooms in the Cannon House Office Building are available for public events, but a member of Congress must reserve them.
A spokesperson for Rep. Andre Carson (D., Ind.) confirmed to the Free Beacon that his office reserved the room where the event was held, but said Carson was not aware of Al-Arian’s appearance.
“He didn’t really know anything about the room being booked, or who was going to show up at this thing,” said spokesperson Lauren Burke. “He wasn’t there, nor was any staff there. We didn’t know that this person was going to show up.”
The Department of Justice declined to provide a comment.
An attorney for Al-Arian and his advocacy group did not respond to request for comment.
The Center for Security Policy’s David Reaboi contrasted the incident to terror cleric Anwar al-Awlaki’s now-infamous Capitol Hill prayer sessions prior to his becoming al Qaeda’s top spokesman.
“When Anwar al-Awlaki led prayers at the Capitol, he wasn’t yet known to be a terrorist. Sami Al-Arian, on the other hand, has been convicted for his role in directing and funding Palestinian Islamic Jihad,” Reaboi said.
“In a time when Homeland Security advisers like Mohamed Elibiary praise the Muslim Brotherhood daily on Twitter, a convicted terrorist like Al-Arian visiting Capitol Hill seems almost positively quaint. But it should still be an outrage.”
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