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September 18, 2003 -- HURRICANE Isabel is giving the FBI a chance to avoid an injustice.

By forcing a delay in the bureau's annual award ceremony (originally set for today), the storm gives Directer Robert Mueller a chance to rescind the award he's set to give to a terror apologist - at the same time he's to honor a 9/11 heroine.

Mueller will give the FBI's Exceptional Public Service Award posthumously to Madeline Sweeney, the courageous flight attendant murdered aboard Flight 11 (which hit the World Trade Center's North Tower on 9/11). But when Sweeney's husband, Michael, accepts the award at a ceremony now set for Oct. 9 at FBI Headquarters in Washington, Imad Hamad will get one, too - the only other non-FBI civilian to be so honored in America this year.

Unless Mueller rethinks this ill-advised choice. For Hamad supports terrorism and was himself a suspected terrorist.

That the FBI would honor a man with Hamad's record is an outrage. And it as an abomination to do it at the same time it honors Sweeney for heroism in the face of death by terrorists.

Born in a Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon, Hamad came to America decades ago. But the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) suspected him of being a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), responsible for countless homicide bombings and the October 2001 assassination of Israeli Tourism Minister Rehavam Zeevi. It so opposed Hamad's presence in the United States that it fought to deport him for over two decades.

But, due to political pressure from Michigan politicians like Sen. Carl Levin and Rep. David Bonior, the immigration judge chose to disregard classified evidence, and he is now a U.S. citizen.

Since then, as Midwest Regional Director of the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), Hamad has been busy promoting the terrorist cause - doing interviews throughout the Detroit area supporting Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic hate.

In a 2002 broadcast on Detroit's FOX affiliate, Hamad supported a Palestinian Authority TV "Sesame Street"-style program that urges Palestinian children to kill Jews and Christians and encourages them to become homicide bombers. Hamad called the program "patriotic."

And Hamad has opposed virtually every arrest and conviction of Islamic terrorists.

When U.S. Customs raided several Islamic businesses and arrested owners for laundering over $50 million per year to Yemen in violation of the Patriot Act, Hamad protested. When four Detroit al Qaeda sleeper cell suspects were charged with plotting to blow up landmarks and tourist attractions, Hamad protested again.

Then there's the 2002 National Palestinian Student Conference on the Palestine Solidarity Movement, sponsored and endorsed by Hamad's ADC: The ostensible purpose of the University of Michigan meeing was to promote divestment from Israel - but the keynote speaker was Sami Al-Arian, long alleged to be a frontman for Islamic Jihad and since indicted for it. Worse, "Annihilate the Jews" was chanted in Arabic at the event.

At Michigan ADC's April 25 awards banquet, Hamad gave its "Attorney of the Year" award to Nabih Ayad, whose clients include Omar Abdel Fatah Al-Shishani - accused of attempting to launder $12 million in phony bank checks to fund al Qaeda. Hamad defended him, too.

Hamad was nominated for the award by Detroit FBI Special Agent in Charge Willie Hulon because he organized BRIDGES, a group of Arabs who meet with Hulon and other Detroit federal agents once a month to protest arrests of suspected terrorists, and because he enlisted Hulon to partner with ADC for its unique brand of sensitivity training for Detroit area high schoolers.

Since Hamad has opposed government efforts to thwart terrorism and given his views, the FBI award is bad enough.

Worse, Robert Mueller is equating Hamad with a heroic, murdered flight attendant who acted bravely in the face of terrorists.

Hopefully Mueller will rethink this mistake. Or Madeline Sweeney might turn over in her grave.

E-mail: dschlussel@yahoo.com

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