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Sami Al-Arian

Defiant Voice for Civil Rights

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Date of Birth:




Place of Birth:

Why Featured?

Championing Palestinian Civil Liberties and Academic Freedom

Brief bio

Sami Al-Arian is a Palestinian-American former university professor, civil rights activist, and public intellectual. Known for his advocacy on behalf of Palestinian rights in the U.S., Al-Arian's life and career were marked by his defense of civil liberties, particularly against controversial anti-terrorism measures.

Major Milestones


  • Academic Tenure: Formerly a computer engineering professor at the University of South Florida, where he received numerous accolades for his teaching.

  • Legal Struggle: Faced a high-profile legal battle beginning in 2003, when he was accused of supporting terrorism due to his political activism; he was acquitted of the most serious charges.

  • Public Advocacy: Prominent advocate against the use of secret evidence in trials and for the rights of Muslim Americans.

  • Deportation: After a protracted legal struggle, Al-Arian was deported from the U.S. in 2015, ending a significant chapter in his life that involved fighting for his legal rights and civil liberties.

  • Continued Advocacy: Currently, he serves as the Director of the Center for Islam and Global Affairs at Istanbul Zaim University and remains an active commentator on Middle Eastern politics.

  • Advocacy Against Secret Evidence: Al-Arian was a leading figure in campaigning against the use of secret evidence in U.S. courts, significantly impacting the debate on civil rights in the post-9/11 era...See More

  • Promotion of Civil Liberties: His case brought international attention to the challenges facing civil liberties in the United States, especially concerning ethnic and religious minorities.

  • Academic Contributions: Contributed significantly to the academic community through his teachings and writings, particularly on computer engineering and Middle Eastern politics.

  • Public Speaking and Writing: A prolific speaker and writer, Al-Arian has contributed to numerous forums and publications discussing the Palestinian cause and broader Middle Eastern issues...See More

  • Cultural and Educational Impact: Through his roles at various educational institutions and his public advocacy, Al-Arian has influenced both policy and public opinion regarding Middle Eastern affairs and the rights of Palestinian people.

Date of Last Update: 
June 26, 2024

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