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Arab and Muslim Students Have Their Records Pulled By the FBI and Face Widespreaddiscrimination at College

October 03, 2001

Federal agents are targeting Arab students on college campuses as part of their investigation into the Sept. 11terrorist attacks, gathering lists of foreign nationals and combing through files. Investigators began looking atcollege campuses after learning some of the alleged hijackers or their accomplices were in the country on studentvisas. Officials at universities across the country say they have received requests from the FBI.

Because of the emergency nature of the situation, schools have been ordered to waive normal privacy concerns. TheU.S. Department of Education has told campuses they can release data without a subpoena or student consent when thereis a health or safety emergency.

At least three California State University campuses have turned over student records to the FBI, and federalofficials have asked for details on students at all of its campuses. The FBI made a blanket request for the recordsof all 736 foreign students at the Fresno campus of California State, though at most of the campuses, they only haveonly requested the records of one or two students.

As the attacks and the FBI investigation raise concerns about the sacrifice of individual freedoms, scores of Arabforeign students have dropped out of college and left the country. Many have been called home by parents fearful ofwar and anti-Arab sentiment. The Saudi Arabian and United Arab Emirates governments say they will provide freeairfare to students who wish to go home.


  • Will Lafi Youmans, Law Student At UC Berkeley who works with Al- Awda, the Palestinian Right to ReturnCoalition.
  • Ibrahim Hooper, spokesperson, Council On American Islamic Relations.
  • Usama Kahs, finance major at California State University at Long Beach.

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