Odd that we should have to read about this on the World Socialist Web Site, but an article by Jordan Shilton provides more details on a situation reported on this site a few weeks ago (here). If this were a Christian group or a Jewish group, would we see more outrage and coverage?
The details of up to one thousand Muslim students at University College London (UCL) have been made available to the CIA jointly by the university and the Students Union.
The main suspect of the failed Detroit bomb plot, Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, studied at UCL between 2005 and 2008. He was president of the Islamic society between 2006 and 2007. There was no proven connection between Abdulmutallab and any of the students whose details were obtained by the CIA, with many confirming that they had never seen, let alone met him.
That has not stopped the stepping up of intimidation against the students, with at least 50 addresses on the list having been visited by police. Not a single student has been charged or arrested as a result of the disclosure. Sayyida Mehrali, a first year student at UCL commented, “I feel that it is a bit extreme that my information has been passed onto the Metropolitan Police as I joined UCL after Umar Farouk had left. There was never any opportunity to meet this individual and I think it’s shocking that they have my details on a database.”
With the students’ details now on a CIA database, concerns have been raised that some may find themselves on the US’s anti-terrorism watch-list, which would bar them from entering the country and open up the possibility of increased surveillance. Given the record of the US when it comes to detention without trial, extraordinary rendition and the torturing of prisoners, the threats to those involved are very real.
Spokesmen for the university and the students union responded to the news by seeking to absolve themselves of all blame, stating that they had merely complied with police requests. Adams-Mogaji was severely critical of the role of the union, commenting, “We also realised that the student union gave the details of the UCL Medical Islamic Society without being requested for it. The union is supposed to protect the societies under it and not hastily succumb to pressure without the need to. We’re clearly not safe with the union and our trust in them is undoubtedly diminishing.”
Read more on WSWS.org.
Thanks to the reader who sent this link.