President Obama's new envoy to the Organization of Islamic Conference, Rashad Hussain, is at the center of a controversy over remarks attributed to him defending a man who later pleaded guilty to conspiring to aid a terrorist group.
The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs quoted Hussain in 2004 as calling Sami al-Arian the victim of "politically motivated persecutions" after al-Arian, a university professor, was charged in 2003 with heading U.S. operations of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
The United States has designated the Palestinian Islamic Jihad as a foreign terrorist group as far back as 1997. At the time of al-Arian's arrest, then Attorney General John Ashcroft called it "one of the most violent terrorist organizations in the
The White House claims the reporter mistakenly attributed a quote by Al Arian's sister to Hussain. The reporter in question told Fox News that they stand by the accuracy of the quote.