FBI Agents Questioning Arab students
[Union of Arab Students Association]
It was brought to our attention that FBI agents are questioning Arab students nationwide. We are sending this email to inform you about this and provide you with some information on this sensitive issue. (Also following is an article about Arab students leaving the country).
Over a dozen students had informed us of such thing happening to them. The students have nothing in common, except being Arabs, some are Muslims, while others are Christians. The nationality is not playing a role, as well as being an Arab-American, or Arab student studying in the US. The level of activism on campus is also not being significant, if anything most cases are with students with very little activities with the ASAs.
The trend has been an FBI agent calling the student asking to meet to talk about few things. The agent along with a DA have been meeting, in most cases in a place indicated by the student. The FBI agent will then ask questions about any relations with Bin Laden, any students that he/she knows that have relations and so on, very general questions, and very simple in, most cases. At least one student was shown pictures, while the majority were asked if they know any one who knows Bin Laden. The FBI agents in these cases have been very friendly.
Points to consider if been asked to meet with them:
1) Have the meeting in a public place (Starbucks, McDonalds, Xando, and so on.. Try not have it on campus, to prevent any students remarks afterward).
2) Do not panic if you get called, that they are calling many people. Do not worry about it and take it as a simple meeting.
3) The DA present has been very suspicious. Ask about it, if you want, but do not let his present panic you. Most DAs sit there and do not say a word.
4) Let the agent buy you coffee, free coffee..
5) Ask them if it's ok to take notes, and do so if they do not mind.
6) Take the name and badge number before you say anything. We do not want any one to claim they are FBI, while they are not.
7) Answer there questions and anything they need about the ASA/UASA activities, we have nothing to hide. All our activities are legal, just and right for American and Arab students.
8) Inform us, of any thing like this if you like. Our email address is email@example.com, you also can call us or call the ADC at 202 244 2990.
Finally, all take care in these tough days on us as Americans and particularly Arab-American. Its not enough we have to suffer from the tragic attack like anyone in this country, we also have to suffer from hate crime from follow Americans.
This article might be of an interest to you. If any one is considering doing such a thing, we call upon you not to do it. Our education is our mean in life and the American educational system is probably the best in the world.
Arab students leaving U.S. colleges and universities, going home to
parents worried of war
By NICHOLAS K. GERANIOS=
Associated Press Writer=
Around the United States, scores of Arab students have dropped out of college and left the country, many of them after being called home by parents fearful of war and anti-Arab sentiment following the terrorist attacks. Some 47 students from the United Arab Emirates have quit Washington State University in Pullman, Wash. There are also reports of about 100 Arab students leaving other U.S. colleges in the wake of the Sept. 11 suicide hijackings. ''There are some students who feel anxiety,'' said Shafeeq Ghabra, spokesman for the Kuwaiti Embassy in Washington, D.C. ''Their parents back home in Kuwait are more anxious than they are. Some would like to be together with their children.''
While it is unclear exactly how many Arab students are leaving, it appears that the vast majority are staying. Of the 570,000 foreign students in the United States, about 40,000 of them are from Arab countries, according to the American Council on Education. One of the biggest exoduses appears to be from Washington State, with 18,000 students in wheat country. ''For the most part it's because their parents want them back,'' said Ranna Daud, 20, head of the Muslim Student Association at WSU. Daud, an Arab-American raised in Pullman, said there has been no violence against the students, though some have been harassed verbally.
Efforts to contact some of the departing students were not successful because colleges would not release their names. The Saudi government is providing free airfare to students who wish to go home. Those who choose to do so will not lose their government scholarships.
Kuwait has more than 3,000 students in the United States, Ghabra said. ''We have encouraged students to stay,'' he said. Those who are afraid to stay in the United States are getting Kuwaiti government assistance to come home, but are being asked to return to this country for the spring semester, said Ghabra, who has a daughter who is a junior at American University in Washington, D.C. ''There were some difficult times for her in the first days, but she is over it,'' he said. ''My daughter is staying on and her friends are staying on.'' However, more than 30 Arab students were reported to have left American University.
_ About two dozen Arab students have left both the University of Missouri and the University of Colorado at Denver.
_Up to 30 students from Arab countries have left California State University, Long Beach.
_Four Middle Eastern students have left the University of Arizona.
_At Boston University, five Arab students have left.
_Three students from the United Arab Emirates have withdrawn from Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma.
At Montana State University in Bozeman, all the Arab students appear to be staying, said Abdullah Bahazig, head of the university's Muslim Student Association. The school usually has about 30 Arab students a year. ''I think Bozeman is one of the safest places in the U.S. for an international student,'' Bahazig said.
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