He Said, She SaidFebruary 16, 2010 - 6:16 PM | by: Shannon Bream
“He Said, She Said”
Rashad Hussain, President Obama’s newly-appointed envoy to the Organization of Islamic Conference, is facing heat over comments attributed to him that appear to show sympathy for an admitted terror supporter. In a 2004 article, the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs recounted a session held at the Muslim Students Association gathering in Chicago. Hussain, then a Yale Law student, participated in the discussion. Talk turned to the case of Dr. Sami al-Arian, who was then detained in a federal penitentiary and later pleaded guilty to conspiring to aid the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ). PIJ has been classified as a foreign terror organization by the U.S. government. Hussain was quoted as saying that al-Arian’s case was one of many “politically motivated persecutions” and that al-Arian was being used “politically to squash dissent.”
The 2004 article was later edited to delete all of Hussain’s comments. Washington Report Editor Delinda Hanley tells Fox News she believes the change was made in February 2009, though she does not recall who requested the edit. Hanley remembers telling the group’s webmaster, “Let’s just take out the quotes since they have been attributed to the wrong speaker.” Hanley suggested to another media outlet that the comments attributed to Hussain were actually made by Sami al-Arian’s daughter, Laila, who also attended the event. However, the woman who authored the original article, Shereen Kandil, told Fox News she worked with Laila al-Arian and would never have confused her with Hussain. Kandil added, “If I quoted someone it’s because they said it.”
Late Tuesday a White House official spoke with Hussain and confirmed to Fox News that Hussain did attend the 2004 event. The official says Hussain went with plans to discuss civil rights in the wake of 9/11, but remembers the conversation turning to Sami al-Arian’s case. According to the White House official, Hussain has “no recollection” as to whether or not he made the comments attributed to him.