A Florida Atlantic University professor and mosque official has been exposed as an Islamist radical after activists videotaped him endorsing the severing of hands under Sharia governance. On another occasion, he supported outlawing speech he perceives as “blasphemy,” like criticizing Islam.
The blockbuster footage was taken by an activist group named the United West that attended a panel on Islamophobia at Florida Atlantic University featuring one of its staff members, Associate Professor Bassem Al-Halabi, who teaches computer science and engineering there.
The panel included other unsettling speakers and the organizer posted on Facebook about “wiping out the CIA” and “Zionist/Israelis are not holy people. They are demonic and the most evil on earth.”
The footage shows Al-Halabi saying:
“Where there is no sharia, Islamic sharia, they die in dozens and hundreds every day because of organized crime. People kill people, other people or steal pizza for $10 and so – so when Islamic shariah is saying about capital punishment – so even though it sounds like it is severe but if that is the solution to prevent any crimes, then it still has a lot of rules and regulations.
I will just mention one and stop here, which is let’s say cutting off the hands of a person if they steal. It sounds very severe. It sounds very barbaric, I know. But if takes one or two people to have their hands cut off, and then there’s no more stealing and there’s no more stealing in the whole nation – that’s a much better resolution than having hundreds of people die every day.”
The Islamic speaker next to Al-Halabi heard the audience’s booing and jumped in to clarify Al-Halabi’s statement, saying that Al-Halabi was only talking about the Islamic State’s practice of the severing of hands and not about it happening in America. Al-Halabi nodded in agreement, but that doesn’t change the fact that he was endorsing the practice. The geographic location of where it’s currently happening is beside the point.
Another video of Al-Halabi filmed in 2012 shows this isn’t some kind of misinterpretation of what he clearly said. He engages a demonstrator who presses him on whether he supports Islamist blasphemy laws that would criminalize criticism or mockery of Islam. After a series of dodges, Al-Halabi says, “We should have laws to eliminate that” (05:30 in the video). He confirmed his answer when it was repeated back to him.
Al-Halabi is a co-founder of the Islamic Center of Boca Raton, which has a history of radicalism. The extremism of the mosque and history of Al-Halabi has been meticulously documented by Joe Kaufman of Americans Against Hate, including its links to Hamas and anti-Semitic incitement of violence towards Jews.
Of special concern is that Al-Harabi was the research assistant for Sami Al-Arian from 1989 to 1990. Al-Arian was acting as a secret Palestinian Islamic Jihad operative. He was later convicted on terrorism-related charges related to that organization . Video footage from 1991 shows him preaching for the destruction of Israel through jihad and using language very similar to the Muslim Brotherhood motto.
Kaufman writes that Al-Arian provided Al-Harabi with a reference letter to use in applying for Florida Atlantic University, where he has taught since 1996. They also wrote a book together that was published in 1992.
One of Al-Arian’s strategies was to advance the Islamist agenda using the kind of activity that Al-Harabi, his former colleague, is undertaking with the Islamophobia panel. The indictment of Al-Arian and his partners says that they “would and did seek to obtain support from influential individuals, in the United States under the guise of promoting and protecting Arab rights.”
Al-Halabi himself was convicted in 2003 of illegally transferring a $13,000 thermal imaging camera to Syria, a country ruled by a regime that is labeled a state sponsor of terrorists including those that Al-Arian was involved with.
And in 2010, after attacking Kaufman and his cameraman at in the lobby of the State Capitol Building in Florida, he pled guilty to assault and battery.
Still, he kept his job at Florida Atlantic University.
If close ties to a convicted terrorist, founding and continuing to associate with a radical mosque, getting convicted for illegally transferring a dangerous device to a state sponsor of terrorism and pleading guilty to assault isn’t enough to get Al-Halabi fired from Florida Atlantic University, then it is doubtful that these latest videos will even get a second glance from the school.
Ryan Mauro is ClarionProject.org’s national security analyst, a fellow with Clarion Project and an adjunct professor of homeland security. Mauro is frequently interviewed on top-tier television and radio. Read more, contact or arrange a speaking engagement.