Mustafa Abu Sway, associate professor at the Islamic Research Center of Al-Quds University in Jerusalem, is a Fulbright scholar teaching an introduction to Islam, as well as courses in Islamic philosophy and politics, at the Honors College of Florida Atlantic University in Jupiter. Fulbright scholars undergo vigorous academic scrutiny, and the State Department checks their background. After 9/11, the professor would have had to go through homeland security review before his one-year assignment at FAU began this fall.
Still, when a group of Jewish leaders this month gave FAU President Frank Brogan a document on Israeli government stationery saying the professor was a member of the Hamas terrorist group, Mr. Brogan did the responsible thing. Within days, he alerted the Fulbright and State Department authorities. They said they would take another look. Mr. Brogan also let the professor know that the allegations had been made and forwarded.
What came next, nine days ago, was an inaccurate New York Post commentary claiming that, "when informed of Abu Sway's ties to terrorism in early October, (FAU officials) kept mum, seemingly wanting to avoid dealing with the issue." The author could have taken the accusation to State himself. But, then, consider who wrote the column: Daniel Pipes, the unreconstructed crusader who makes his living and reputation through vituperative attacks on Muslims and Islam, not just Muslim terrorists. In August, to avoid Senate opposition, President Bush had to use a recess appointment to put Dr. Pipes on the federally financed Institute of Peace.
Dr. Pipes may not like the fact that Mr. Abu Sway has drawn parallels between Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza and the apartheid policies of South Africa's former white-minority government, but some Israelis make the same comparisons. Unlike Sami Al-Arian, the former University of South Florida professor awaiting trial on charges that he raised money for terrorists, there is no known evidence against Mr. Abu Sway. Dr. Pipes' column said only that Mr. Abu Sway " 'is known as an activist' in Hamas."
The professor and his students, some of whom are Jewish, suspect that the object is to discourage academic freedom and certain viewpoints. FAU has done what the university should have done. Unless there is evidence otherwise, Mr. Abu Sway should remain on the FAU faculty.