by Muslim Association of Great Britain | Muslim Association of Great Britain | 3 March 2003
Friends, colleagues, students and readers of Dr. Basheer Musa Nafi' have been dismayed by the recent allegations made by U.S. Attorney General Ashcroft who associated the Palestinian London-based academic with terrorism.
In a sensational and highly inflammatory presentation the Attorney General made unfounded and unsubstantiated claims and threatened that the U.S. Administration might seek to extradite Dr. Nafi' for his alleged association with the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group.
A regular columnist in the London Arabic daily Al-Quds A-Arabi, and a reader in history at the Muslim College in London and a part-time lecturer at Birkbeck College, The University of London, Dr. Basheer Musa Nafi' is well-known throughout the Arab world and among Arab expatriates in Europe and America for his balanced views on the Palestinian issue and on matters related to issues of concern to Muslims in general.
Like many millions of other Palestinians inside occupied Palestine and elsewhere around the world, he has been himself a victim of Israeli occupation. It is his legitimate right to support his Palestinian people's right to freedom from occupation and persecution. This is the position most Palestinians adopt irrespective of whether they are themselves politically active or not. Dr. Nafi' himself stresses that he is not a member of any Palestinian organisation.
It is suspected that the case against Dr. Nafi' has more to do with the U.S. Attorney General's endeavour to justify the arrest of a Palestinian American professor in Tampa, Florida. Professor Sami Al-Arian had been involved in a legal case against his university which had suspended him in the aftermath of the 11 September attacks for appearing in a U.S. television talk-show in which he condemned the attack but was himself a victim of a malicious plot, apparently by the presenter and the producers of the programme, to discredit him for his condemnation of Israeli atrocities against the Palestinians more than a decade earlier. Dr. Nafi' happens to be a friend of Professor Al-ArIan.
The Muslim Association of Britain suspects that the U.S. recent move against Dr. Basheer Nafi' is part and parcel of this U.S. administration's policy that seeks more than anything else to meet Israeli wishes and demands. In succumbing to the Zionist pressures on it, the U.S. Department of Justice has repeatedly sought to associate the just Palestinian cause and the legitimate struggle of the Palestinian people for freedom and independence with the U.S. declared war against terrorism. We even suspect that the onslaught on Palestinian academics, such as Dr. Nafi and Professor Al-Arian, may not be isolated from the current Zionist witch hunt in the United States of America against U.S. academics who dare criticise the brutal occupation policies of the State of Israel.
The Muslim Association of Britain calls on the British public, and particularly on academics and academic institutions, to express their support for Dr. Basheer Nafi' and to demand that the British government decline any U.S. request for his extradition.