Over the last few years, Hatem Fariz has been spending time in Israel – a lot of time. He did not always have that opportunity. Following his 2003 arrest and, later, his conviction for material support of Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), Fariz spent several years in jail, unable to travel, let alone overseas to Israel, the nation he and his co-conspirators allegedly sought to destroy. But Israel, it seems, has a serious gap in her security, and because of this, Fariz and his associates have been permitted to roam the countryside, including at times when Israel faces serious threats from PIJ. Last month was one of those times, as Fariz toured Israel’s Golan Heights.
Fariz had been part of a PIJ network run out of the Tampa Bay area of Florida, in the city of Temple Terrace. The ringleader of the network, fellow terror convict Sami al-Arian, was involved in PIJ’s establishment overseas and looked to install a PIJ hub within America. He did so by founding a mosque, a children’s school, a think tank, and a charity, all linked to PIJ. That mosque, Masjid Al-Qassam, a.k.a. the Islamic Community of Tampa (ICT), would be led by Fariz, following Fariz’s release from prison, and he continues to direct it.
Via Al-Qassam, Fariz manages a travel company, the Adam Travel Tampa Hajj Group, which he uses to bring others to the Middle East. While Adam Travel advertises that its trips are for visiting religious-oriented sites in Saudi Arabia, Fariz’s time is overwhelmingly spent trekking through various locations within Israel.
Many of the people Fariz takes with him on these trips have like feelings towards Israel and Jews in general. They post videos on social media of Israelis being blown up during ambushes and videos of successful rocket attacks on Israeli civilian structures. They post memorials for their favorite dead leaders from Hamas and PIJ. They call on “Allah” to “take revenge on the Jews.”
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Author: Ruth King
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