Wife of man who helped fund terrorist group joined pro-Hamas protest at Columbia University: Report

News & Politics

The wife of a former professor who pled guilty to a federal terrorism charge was apparently among the pro-Hamas protesters who set up an encampment at Columbia University.

On Tuesday night, dozens of NYPD officers were dispatched to Columbia’s campus to break up the pro-Hamas protests that were simultaneously going on inside a building and outside on the lawn. Radicals had barricaded themselves inside Hamilton Hall, destroying property and threatening the safety of students and school employees, as Blaze News previously reported.

Meanwhile, the university’s West Lawn, where activists had set up tents sometime last week, had become increasingly violent as well.

Among those who joined the lawn radicals was Nahla al-Arian, the wife of Sami al-Arian, a former computer engineering professor at the University of South Florida. Fans of Bill O’Reilly’s former Fox News program may remember that Mr. al-Arian made an appearance on the show shortly after the September 11 attacks, an appearance that led to suspicion that he participated in terrorism-related activities.

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In 2003, Sami al-Arian was indicted on 17 charges. Two years later, he pled guilty to one count of “Conspiracy to make or receive contributions of funds, goods or services to or for the benefit of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a Specialty Designated Terrorist [organization],” an archived version of court documents said.

He served several years in prison and was deported at least once.

Last Friday, Sami al-Arian posted to X a photo of his wife, Nahla, who appeared to be sitting among the tents on the West Lawn. The message attending the photo bragged that Nahla was standing “in solidarity with the brave and very determined Columbia University students.”

Whether Nahla was still on campus on Tuesday when the police arrived is unclear. However, New York City Mayor Eric Adams (D) may have alluded to her during his statements about the arrests on campus that night.

Adams claimed that the pro-Hamas protests had been hijacked by “external agitators.” Though he did not mention any such agitators by name, he did add, “One of the individual’s husband was arrested for and convicted for terrorism on a federal level,” the New York Post reported.

In a separate conversation with CBS, Adams reiterated: “One of them was married to someone that was arrested for terrorism.”

Adams declined to give more details about the individual he had in mind. He did not even confirm whether the mysterious spouse in question was among the hundreds of arrestees. “I’m going to let the Intelligence Division do their job on what information should be released and what information should not be released,” he said.

However, he did also say, perhaps coyly: “If you look, you can find this information. They’re probably acknowledging themselves on social media platforms.”

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