I just got this in email, and I have no idea of it's veracity:
Subject: Brave Florida Student goes to Iraq.
Brave Florida Student? Brave Florida Student? Really a Terrorist in Sheep's Clothing!
Remember that kid, Farris Hassan, who, as a 16 year old, went to Iraq to allegedly find out for himself what conditions were like for Iraqis and to satisfy a requirement for this journalism class he was taking? Remember also how his parents were all distraught not knowing where he was? Remember how the media lionized him for being so brave?
Would it surprise you to learn that NO NETWORK JOURNALIST took the initiative to do a little research? Further, would it surprise you to learn that his parents KNEW where he was because they helped him get his ticket? Would it surprise you to learn that his school has no such journalism class? Would it surprise you to learn that his parents sent a note to school saying he'd be gone during that period? Would it surprise you to learn his father was arrested for forging 2000 Iraqi passports and was probably attempting to forge 2000 more? Read all about it below, because you won't hear it on the network news.
18 January 2006: Farris HASSAN, the 16-year-old Pine Crest student from Fort Lauderdale who left the comforts of his $4 million family home on December 11 for Iraq, claimed that he made the trip to put his lessons of his immersion journalism class into practice, and selected Iraq out of humanitarian concerns for the Iraqi people.
His story quickly caught the attention of the media, who portrayed this young man as adventurous but naive, and his worried parents clueless to his intentions until they received an e-mail from him when he was in Kuwait.
Upon his return home, he would certainly face the consequences from his concerned parents, despite his ostensibly altruistic intentions. With all of the reporters covering the story, however, it appears that no one did any research into the background of the Hassan family, or made any attempts to verify the young mans story. If they had, they might have been compelled to ask some very basic but extremely important questions.
Even the most basic research found that Farris Hassan was NOT enrolled in any journalism class at Pine Crest, which should automatically cast doubt on the true nature of his journey. Lourdes Cowgill, president of the Pine Crest School, said that Hassan was never given an "immersion journalism" assignment and added that there is, in fact, no journalism class at the school.
Also, the school confirmed that the boys father, Dr. Redha Hassan not only knew of his sons intended travels, but authorized his absence, which is inconsistent with his initial public statements. Further, investigation found a number of other inconsistencies in the public statements made by Dr. Redha Hassan.
Although it was initially reported that neither parent knew of the young boys intended travels, it was ultimately revealed that Dr. Hassan actually assisted his son. He admitted that he arranged for his son's flight into Baghdad through his political connections, even though he knew the grave risks to foreigners wandering the streets of Baghdad.
[According to a January 2, 2005 CNN news story, Hassan's father said that he had helped his son get a visa into Iraq from Beirut. The elder Hassan said he was leaving Iraq himself when the teen called, unable to get into the country from Kuwait. He told him to go to Lebanon and said he spoke with him almost daily].
Perhaps most importantly, research and investigation into Dr. Redha Hassan found that he was arrested by the FBI in 1985 for forging 2000 Iraqi passports and military I.D. cards and seeking to forge 2,000 more. Dr. Hassan asked his next-door-neighbor and print store owner Joel Feinstein to make the passports and IDs.
According to Feinstein, Dr. Hassan claimed the documents were for his family in Iraq. Feinstein reported the request to the FBI, and became an operational asset for the federal government, leading to Hassans arrest. Also arrested were two of Farris's uncles and a "pro-Khomeini" activist identified as Salah Jawad Shubber. Interestingly, Dr. Hassan, who also went by the name Redha K. Alsawaf, was also the President of the now defunct Florida non-profit organization World Orphanage & Refugee Relief Foundation at the time of his arrest.
Authorities dropped the charges against Hassan, and Shubber ultimately pled guilty to conspiracy charges.Farris Hassan’s initial stop was Amsterdam, Netherlands, where he claims that he bought a ticket on KLM Airlines. From Amsterdam, Hassan headed to Kuwait City, where he alleges that he tried to cross the Kuwait-Iraq border twice by taxi, but was turned away due to Iraqi elections. At that point, it appears that Hassan sought assistance from his father, who told Farris to travel to Beirut and stay with family friends.
Obligingly, Farris spent ten days in Beirut, and while there, met with a media relations officer of the terrorist group Hezbollah at their Central Press Office. This meeting was arranged through the assistance of his hosts the family's friends.
Hezbollah is a Shiite Muslim organization based in Lebanon and tied to Iran. They have a significant presence in Iraq, and an army that is resolved to drive the Americans out of Iraq.
Given the family history, the inconsistencies and the public contradictions, could it be that Hassan was going to Iraq to join Hezbollah to fight against the "American occupation?"
Perhaps those are the questions that need to be asked.