(PHILADELPHIA, PA, 1/31/08) – Some 100 people turned out yesterday for a screening of the documentary film “USA vs. Al-Arian” co-sponsored by the Philadelphia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-PA) at Gittis Hall in the University of Pennsylvania Law School in Philadelphia.
The film follows the arrest and trial of Sami Al-Arian, an Arab-American university professor accused of supporting a terrorist organization abroad. For two and a half years, Dr. Al-Arian was held in solitary confinement, denied basic privileges and given limited access to his attorneys.
The screening was followed by a panel discussion. Panelists included:
* Laila Al-Arian, Dr. Sami Al-Arian’s daughter and a journalist with The Nation;
* Dr. Larry Davidson, History Professor at West Chester University;
* Justin Peyton, CAIR-PA Civil Rights Director
“The film raises serious concerns about the Justice Department’s politically motivated persecution, including the denial of freedom of speech, of a Muslim resident who has not been convicted of any wrong doing, but has a long record of perfectly legal activism on behalf of Palestinian rights.” said Dr. Larry Davidson, History Professor at West Chester University and a panelist.
CAIR, America’s largest Muslim civil liberties group, has 35 offices, chapters and affiliates nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
– END –