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  • Technorati: graph / links

    CIA spying on British Muslim students


    by Sunny
    1st April, 2010 at 9:45 am    

    This is rather shocking:

    Personal information concerning the private lives of almost 1,000 British Muslim university students is to be shared with US intelligence agencies in the wake of the Detroit bomb scare.

    The disclosure has outraged Muslim groups and students who are not involved in extremism but have been targeted by police and now fear that their names will appear on international terrorist watch lists. So far, the homes of more than 50 of the students have been visited by police officers, but nobody has been arrested. The case has raised concerns about how the police use the data of innocent people and calls into question the heavy-handed treatment of Muslim students by UK security agencies.

    In the latest case, details of students from University College London (UCL) were handed over to police by the university’s student union, after detectives visited the campus in early January 2010 during their continuing investigation into the attempted Christmas Day bombing in Detroit by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. Abdulmutallab studied engineering at UCL in 2005-08, and was president of the UCL Islamic Society in 2006-07.

    I wonder what all those commentators who called for tighter regulation of university societies will say now. I pointed out at the time that what they basically wanted was for universities, or more likely professional bodies, to spy on mass numbers of students. Now it seems this is taking place.

    What will Con Coughlin, Melanie Phillips, Douglas Murray, or the writers at Harry’s Place say now? Not much, I suppose, since it seems they are only bothered about civil liberties when they don’t involve Muslims.


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    Filed in: Civil liberties,Muslim,Organisations






    47 Comments below   |  

    Reactions: Twitter, blogs
    1. pickles

      Blog post:: CIA spying on British Muslim students http://bit.ly/bzTeE2


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      RT @pickledpolitics: Blog post:: CIA spying on British Muslim students http://bit.ly/bzTeE2


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      RT @pickledpolitics: Blog post:: CIA spying on British Muslim students http://bit.ly/bzTeE2




    1. Adam Ramsay — on 1st April, 2010 at 9:49 am  

      The student union handed over the data? WTF?!

    2. Andrew — on 1st April, 2010 at 9:54 am  

      Once something like this is done to Muslims, the precedent has been set to do it to everyone!

    3. Lucy — on 1st April, 2010 at 10:14 am  

      Aghast, but not surprised. The failure of US Intelligence to pay attention to all the warnings that were supplied to them regarding the ‘underpants bomber’, which should have prevented him from being on that flight in the first place, needed to find a scapegoat somewhere to take the flak - and where else but in the British Government’s unctuous relationship to its super power?

    4. Matilda Stevens — on 1st April, 2010 at 10:20 am  

      I’m afraid that under the circumstances, you can hardly blame them. Most terrorist and anti-western activity seems to stem from them.

      What do you expect, the W.I. to get the same treatment?

    5. cjcjc — on 1st April, 2010 at 10:32 am  

      Not good.

      Though it is difficult to deny that the ISOCs have not brought this on themselves, is it?

    6. Boyo — on 1st April, 2010 at 10:41 am  

      Out of interest I read the Independent article and couldn’t find any source for the claim (unless I missed it) other than: “At another meeting with the Metropolitan Police, they told us they would keep it [the data] for seven years and would share the data with other intelligence agencies if requested.”

      Out of which we get “CIA spying on British Muslims” by Sunny and “CIA given details… etc” by the Indi.

      Is this what’s known as “spin”?

    7. damon — on 1st April, 2010 at 10:43 am  

      So the police are saying that they only wanted to know the details of those people because they wanted to interview them about Abdulmutallab and if they knew him.

      Where does the sharing the information with the the CIA get verified - apart from being mentioned at the beginning?
      That would be illegal I would have thought.

      Still sounds very dodgy though.

    8. Lucy — on 1st April, 2010 at 11:27 am  

      #7 If the details get posted on a US Terror Watch list that means the CIA gets to know it too, or if it didn’t mean that before last Christmas in Detroit, it certainly is likely to mean that now! Unless the CIA has been sacked. If I recall correctly there was an EU-USA data sharing agreement reached several years ago covering global travel surveillance, reported in ‘Statewatch’ and ‘Privacy International’ - but that does not mean student records can be legally handed over to the police merely upon request according to a report in the times higher education co uk on line on this matter. But the report says that this is indeed what happened, apparently, in January, and without even a warrant being produced from the Metropolitan Police. So much for a passion for human rights awareness among students - or, more accurately, at the organisation allegedly representing them. Was the UCL Student Union afraid of getting their names or org on a list - or what?

    9. Sunny — on 1st April, 2010 at 11:55 am  

      Though it is difficult to deny that the ISOCs have not brought this on themselves, is it?

      Mmmm. I bet you’d say the same thing if/when people were tortured or interned.

    10. chairwoman — on 1st April, 2010 at 1:07 pm  

      Why is anybody surprised? It’s what the CIA’s for.

    11. douglas clark — on 1st April, 2010 at 1:12 pm  

      Sunny,

      There is an ‘interesting’ aside in the link you gave.

      A chap called Zubair Idris is quoted in the caption under his photograph ‘is now on a terrorist watch list’

      Yet the only quote by him that I can find in the article doesn’t say that. It says:

      Zubair Idris, 21, a second-year international medical student at UCL, said: “I feel frustrated and outraged. To pass on 900 student details because they were members of UCL Islamic Society is ridiculous. The reason I joined the society was for socio-cultural reasons. I’ve never seen the guy [Abdulmutallab]. I wasn’t here when he was at university. “

      It is quite worrying that a reasonable expectation of fair treatment is being overturned, if that is the case.

    12. Laban — on 1st April, 2010 at 2:18 pm  

      That’s a good one Sunny. Almost fooled me there.

    13. Roger — on 1st April, 2010 at 2:35 pm  

      As the ultimate achievements of assorted western-based islamist terrorists has been to kill an average of a few humdred people a year at most, the response seems disproportionate. Even from the view of people who are worried about what might happen it seems foolish; by lumping in one mass theoretically and rhetorically extreme muslims, actively extreme muslims and the merely curious it makes it less likely that the people best-placed to tell who is genuinely dangerous will sympathise with the society in which they live and its government.

    14. notmarvin — on 1st April, 2010 at 3:51 pm  

      Islamic extremism on campus wouldn’t be a problem if the Universities weren’t complicit or at the least ignorantly negligent by allowing “Islamic societies” to invite despicable bigots to speak on campus.

      University staff of course are nearly all liberal-left or radical-left but as it’s group think scenario you’re not going to get much centrist thinking. Perhaps out of spite to the right, but mostly out of an ignorant and effectively racist moral relativism they allow brown skinned bigots to speak on campus and thus fomenting an actual problem with Islamic extremism. The twats.

      The Universities cannot be trusted to self-regulate and moderate themselves with regards to brown skinned religious extremism. Because like the banks, they simply don’t see they have any responsibility, or will to do so.

      However, this development seems wrong, and people are right to be outraged that the UCL simply handed over all members without a warrant.

      Still, if you have a terrorist in your little club, you’ve go to expect some questions from the law, surely?

    15. Raff — on 1st April, 2010 at 3:55 pm  

      Relevant story from the Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/03/31/AR2010033103613.html

    16. Sunny — on 1st April, 2010 at 3:57 pm  

      Still, if you have a terrorist in your little club, you’ve go to expect some questions from the law, surely?

      What’s that ‘little club’ you’re referring to?? Should people who aren’t guilty be presumed so?

    17. notmarvin — on 1st April, 2010 at 4:06 pm  

      Little club being the UCL Islamic Society.

      Should people who aren’t guilty be presumed so?

      Absolutely. However I understand the police simply want to ask questions to members of the UCL Islamic Society which has had a member of whom turns out is a radicalised would-be terrorist.

      If a murder happens at nightclub, the police would get the information from door ID scanners so they could question everybody in the club at the time. Not a brilliant analogy I know but you can see the reasoning?

    18. douglas clark — on 1st April, 2010 at 4:58 pm  

      notmarvin,

      Your analogy:

      If a murder happens at nightclub, the police would get the information from door ID scanners so they could question everybody in the club at the time.

      were the extent of it, then I doubt there would be cause for concern. But the article, or rather the caption under a photograph, claims that at least one of the people is now on a ‘terrorist watch list’, despite not even having been a member of the nightclub at the time. If that claim is true, then the logic would be to extend it to all past, present and future members of all Islamic Societies at all UK Universities.

      Perhaps we already do.

      There is also a question on the international aspect of this. Can we assume that the US is providing us with information on all the ‘militia members’ - read terrorists - that exist within it’s borders so that we can place them on our own ‘terrorist watch list’? Or perhaps ‘no-fly lists’?

      Why do I doubt that they are?

    19. Lucy — on 1st April, 2010 at 5:27 pm  

      @15 Raff - very relevant story in the Washington Post article link you provided.:
      …”While the computers whirred and security bureaucrats scrutinized their lists, Mami’s nonrefundable flight from Lyon to San Francisco departed March 18 without him, and nobody would tell him why. As a result of the delay, he missed orientation and the first week of his financial engineering courses at Berkeley. After dozens of increasingly desperate telephone calls, e-mails and letters, Mami, 27, had concluded that he was being discriminated against because of his name and that Obama’s speech in Cairo calling for friendship with the Muslim world was hollow PR.”…

      Hmmn. Time for a variation on the racial profiling ‘driving while Black theme’, like ‘Flying to the USA while Muslim-in-name’.
      What is going to happen to Barack Obama’s flight schedule, I wonder, when he is no longer President [and he doesn't have to use his office title to prove to the tea-bags that he was born in the US] ;-}? Woe betide him if a tea-bag gets into the White House. Well, woe betide everyone actually, if the world is still with us, that is, by then…
      If Sarah Palin got in, at least we could look forward to non-stop Tina Fey.

    20. Sunny — on 1st April, 2010 at 5:34 pm  

      marvin - but this isn’t necessarily related to specific incidents. This could cover all students. And on top of that, at least the police is somewhat accountable and within British laws. The CIA??

    21. chairwoman — on 1st April, 2010 at 6:08 pm  

      The CIA?

      Their remit is to spy overseas for the Government of the USA.

      And I don’t know if anyone’s noticed, but the current Administration in the US is no fan of the UK.

      Obama may like you, Sunny, but I don’t think he’s much of a fan of our Government.

    22. Alec — on 1st April, 2010 at 8:13 pm  

      I pointed out at the time that what they basically wanted was for universities, or more likely professional bodies, to spy on mass numbers of students. Now it seems this is taking place.

      One thousand - out of how many hundreds of thousands? - is hardly is a mass number. Yet, if the implication from the Independent and Sunny is representative of the truth, it would be a cause for concern.

      Then again, as others have said, ISocs have more than helped make this bed. Plus, I’m sure there was similar sharing of intel during the Troubles.

      What will Con Coughlin, Melanie Phillips, Douglas Murray, or the writers at Harry’s Place say now? Not much, I suppose, since it seems they are only bothered about civil liberties when they don’t involve Muslims.

      You had a reasonable talking point, Sunny, but you to spoil it with one of your parochial blog-spats. It’s a demonstrable falsehood to pin this on “the writers at Harry’s Place” (not even “some of”). Why do you not go and leave a comment?

    23. Mango — on 2nd April, 2010 at 7:33 am  

      Is anyone in the slightest bit surprised by this?

      The UK is the USA’s biatch and knows it. When the US says ‘jump’, Sunny’s New Labour, ‘left wing’ masters says ‘how high’?

      Whatever residual respect the US establishment had for the UK has been used up after to the British Army’s shameful retreat and defeat in Iraq, and now Afghanistan.

      The CIA has and will continue to spy on UK citizens (Muslims and others) with or without the UK govt’s consent.

    24. douglas clark — on 2nd April, 2010 at 8:07 am  

      Mango,

      I don’t think what you have to say @ 23 is exactly correct, however…

      It has an element of truth.

      We are the unloved older brother that is treated with a degree of contempt by our younger sibling.

      We should not be ageeing to a common law unless we know how it will be used. And that should include a mutual understanding of what law is about.

      It seems to me that that has been forgotten in a race to the bottom.

      Which is what politicians appear to be about.

    25. chairwoman — on 2nd April, 2010 at 9:24 am  

      Dougie

      I am 100 o/o with you on this.

    26. Alec — on 2nd April, 2010 at 11:24 am  

      Alternatively, Britain is like the smug older brother who fell from power and was usurped by the snot-nosed younger brother who suddenly found his feet.

    27. douglas clark — on 2nd April, 2010 at 11:45 am  

      Alec @ 28,

      Perhaps.

      Doesn’t make it right though?

    28. raff — on 2nd April, 2010 at 6:25 pm  

      From a while back, even more surreal: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article6977074.ece

    29. Lucy — on 2nd April, 2010 at 8:15 pm  

      #28 raff -
      surrealorama!

      missed it completely

    30. Stanislaw — on 3rd April, 2010 at 12:55 pm  

      In view of the links in recent years between British university ISocs and terrorism, I see no problem spying on members of such societies. I would expect the security services to be doing nothing less.

      These are essentially intolerant right wing religious societies. Such societies regularly invite bigoted advocates of violence to come and speak, so it is surely hardly a coincidence that a number of those who have members of such societies have gone on to involvement in actual terrorism. They have a reputation for, at the least, reinforcing intolerant religious attitudes, and are obviously to some degree in sympathy with the supremacist aims, if not necessarily the means, of bin Laden and co. The reputation of Isocs for being intolerant, antagonistic and often radical is not produced by prejudice is well-earned. Those who choose to belong to them don’t deserve any more sympathy than a Catholic who would join Opus Dei and then complain about being stereotyped as a right-winger. They are Islamists, not merely any old ‘Muslim students’.

      If the members of a right wing religious society were all white, no one posturing on this thread about civil liberties would mind at all the police being given such information. If a white supremacist carried out a terrorist attack, and was a member of some white power society, I would certainly hope the security services would interview and/or spy on other members of the society.

    31. yusuf_m — on 3rd April, 2010 at 9:12 pm  

      What pathetic reasoning Stanislaw…

      I know many Isocs that are exemplary inter-faith bodies.

      To equate an ISOC to a white power group is just obscene.

      I hope all Christians registerd at a church are put on the Sex Offenders Register.. to continue to be part of a religion so heavily linked with child abuse deserves nothing less.

      And people who attend gay clubs to be banned from professions that could cause HIV contamination.

      And all people who fly the Union Jack to be investigated as white power terrorists.

      What a little fascist you ARE…

    32. Arif — on 3rd April, 2010 at 9:47 pm  

      What are the likely consequences of this?

      1. Fewer people join ISOCs (particularly right wing Muslims who might be interested in traveling to the US in the future!)

      2. Both Muslims who do and don’t join ISOCs are more aware of themselves not just as Muslims together (of different political persuasions, social backgrounds etc) but also as sharing a common political identity as being on watch lists and police databases of Governments… with all the antagonistic baggage that entails.

      3. The Governments (of the UK and US) having tried this on one group of people, finding little resistance, use the precedent to move on to targeting other groups more widely.

      Although ISOCs I have known are no more radical than Christian Unions, it may be (given current political tensions) that the intelligence gained this way could help in some way in identifying people who really are going to be involved in terrorism. However the knowledge that this is happening becomes part of another dynamic -

      So now, ISOC members, feeling persecuted, are more easily to get politically radicalised. A few may join the terrorist networks which feed off experiences of oppression. Some of them may be picked up by the police who will then shout hooray for their databases, while others may be missed and - so secret services patiently explain the need for more databases… and so it will go on.

      The networks of both frightened sides will grow, taking more and more collateral damage on the way, thereby providing each other with more and more supporters.

      Unless, I think, we can build enough solidarity between Muslims and non-Muslims to start to challenge these things together.

    33. Lucy — on 3rd April, 2010 at 9:58 pm  

      What are the likely consequences?

      When it comes to terrorism, innocence is no excuse.

    34. yusuf_m — on 3rd April, 2010 at 10:12 pm  

      Having studied and worked at a University for the last 10 years I can tell you that Muslim students I know weren’t outraged by this revelation but just scared..

      They were worried about joining the Uni gym or even the NUS.

      Some of them have conferences in the US they wish to present papers at and feel their names will pop up on a screen somewhere…

      Muslims are guilty until proven innocent and the majority of the UK public don’t care what happens.

    35. Stanislaw — on 3rd April, 2010 at 11:31 pm  

      “I know many Isocs that are exemplary inter-faith bodies.”

      Comical. I can name several whose heads have gone on to commmit terrorists offences, and plenty of others who have invited anti-semitic, anti-democratic, religiously intolerant or homophobic preachers. They are hardly the equivalent of the university Darts society.

      “To equate an ISOC to a white power group is just obscene.”

      Isocs have produced more terrorists than all other university societies put together in recent years. It’s your evasiveness which is obscene and contemptible.

      “And people who attend gay clubs to be banned from professions that could cause HIV contamination.”

      Spoken like a good little islamist. That is indeed the sort of shit that is preached at Isocs in this country. You have remembered well. Nevermind, I’m sure plenty of the ‘liberals’ will rush to your side, you bigoted little shit. I applaud you for not bringing Jews into this, though. That must have taken some self-restraint.

      “What a little fascist you ARE…”

      What a textbook Islamist you are. I’m glad your jihadist pals are being watched. You are the fascists. It’s important that your friends don’t get the chance to blow up British civilians.

      “Muslims are guilty until proven innocent and the majority of the UK public don’t care what happens.”

      No, members of Isocs are rightly and belatedly under the microscope, in view of the links to extremists and terrorists, and the UK public are probably and rightly quite happy that at long last they are on the back foot rather than bullying and spouting their bile with impunity.

      @ Arif

      “Although ISOCs I have known are no more radical than Christian Unions,”

      Absurd, grotesque, dishonest. How many heads of British university Christian unions have in recent years gone on to become terrorists? Zero.

      “So now, ISOC members, feeling persecuted, are more easily to get politically radicalised. A few may join the terrorist networks which feed off experiences of oppression.”

      They’ve already been incubators of radicalism and terrorism. That’s why they are now being investigated. Take your head out of the sand and stop blaming the state for Muslims radicalising themselves.

    36. Zubair Idris — on 4th April, 2010 at 8:05 pm  

      @everybody: hi, i’m one of the 900 muslim students whose details have been handed over to the police, and i do not think it had anything to do with making the world a safer place. it is just an example of spectacularly bad counter intelligence skills.

      this guy Omar Farouk was recruited and trained in Yemen, AFTER he left UCL. UCL or UCL ISoc had nothing to do with it whatsoever. if anything, if he cud hav stayed in London longer, and never meet those ppl he met AFTER he left UCL, he wud not hav become an extremist. to blame UCL for his crimes is akin to blaming Cambridge bcoz Nick Griffin happened to study there, or Harvard bcoz George Bush studied there.

      most muslim students join ISoc for socio-cultural reasons, for company, to celebrate Eid together, for Friday prayers… all ISoc events r open to everybody. i do not regularly attend all their events, but i welcome all of u to come and see if they r training ppl to blow themselves up b4 passing any judgements on them. it is not a crime to be a member of ISoc.

      i say it is spectacularly bad counter intelligence skills bcoz if Omar Farouk wasn’t recruited in UCL that means that there r no extremists in UCL. so the list that the police has contains 900 names of muslims who r NOT terrorists. bravo, way to narrow the net down on prospective suspects.

      also, they took the details of muslim students both from UCL ISoc and RUMS ISoc (which is the ISoc for medical students like me in UCL). Omar Farouk was an engineering student, not a medical student and hence was NOT a member of RUMS ISoc. they took details of students who joined these societies from 2005 to 2008. this meant that I, who joined UCL after Omar Farouk had already left and NEVER SAW or HEARD of him, also made it to the list.

      now y wud u take the names of muslim students who were in a different society to the one Omar Farouk was in, and y wud u take the names of muslim students who joined the societies b4 or after Omar Farouk had been there??? bcoz basically they took the names of ALL (or at least the overwhelming majority) muslim students in UCL. SO IF U ARE A MUSLIM STUDENT IN UCL, CHANCES ARE U MADE IT TO THE SUSPECT LIST. wow, when i was signing up for all sorts of clubs and societies in the Fresher’s Fayre, i didn’t realize i was getting myself in this mess.

      the police didn’t just take our names. they also took our email addresses. the police doesn’t need our email addresses, if they want to talk to me, they can just call me or show up at the door. my email address is only important if they plan to go thru it. hmmm, and we condemn China for being intrusive. how outrageous.

      i thnk UCL Union failed us in every regard. u cannot just hand over student details wthout a warrant. data protection laws apply. i strongly bliv legal action shud be taken against them. the police wud probably never hav got a warrant for this from the courts, bcoz it is an unreasonable thing for them to demand.

      i hav done nothing wrong. i am not an extremist. yet now as an international student i wud probably be harassed at most western airports, for no reason whatsoever. this has caused me considerable distress, and more importantly made my family, including my disabled father, worry unnecessarily. it has fed into the stereotype that many ppl back home in Bangladesh, my native country, wrongly hav of western nations - that they treat all muslims badly.

      if we r serious abt combating terrorism then perhaps we need to look into the underlying causes of it. perhaps, and i’m just saying, the continued occupation of Palestine, the hundreds of thousands of innocent ppl killed in the wars in Iraq, Afganistan and Lebanon, the atrocities in Chechnya and Kashmir hav something to do wth it.

      if a kingdom is very poor and ppl r dying of starvation, chances are that the crime rate wud be very high. there wud be lots of looting and pillaging, robberies and thieving. now the king can send his guards out and start lopping ppl’s head off if they get caught pickpocketing. but then the pickpocketers wud turn into robbers and bandits and start fighting the guards and the cycle wud continue. but then the king can also try and feed his ppl, that way they wudn’t need to rob others.

      wen dealing wth Al Qaeda we hav to remember we r dealing wth a smart enemy here. airports check us for firearms, but the Sept 11th bombers took over the planes using knives! they check our shoes, Omar Farouk carries explosives in his underwear! they racially profile all Muslims at the airport, along comes Jihad Jane. hmmm, mite there be a lesson here…

      Al Qaeda kills more Muslims than non-Muslims every year. Al Qaeda’s biggest enemy and the West’s biggest ally wen it comes to fighting terrorism is us, the moderate Muslims. don’t alienate us.

    37. Arif — on 6th April, 2010 at 7:58 am  

      Stanislaw, I think you misunderstood my post. I specifically argued that given the current political situation, such an investigation might turn something up about an individual. I am not ignoring political realities. I just want to draw attention to other political realities - that the knowledge of such an investigation, showing suspicion and threatening life chances of whole groups of people because of their religion, is part of the very dynamic we need to challenge.

      Zubair Idris - I am really sorry about your situation and hope that other people at your Uni are showing solidarity and working out ways to challenge what has happened to you.

      I would suggest:

      Firstly that all the ISOC students go to their MPs and explain what has happened and what they want done (eg, get their names taken off the list, information about how exactly the information was gained and could be used, pressure on government to legislate to stop such sweeping actions in future… etc). As you are an overseas student, you won’t have a local MP, but maybe contact the MP for the constituency your halls or the Uni is in. At least to find out what can be done from someone who has some political knowledge and experience.

      Secondly, make sure other students and student societies are aware of what has happened and that the SU and Uni authorities are aware of how you are feeling. I know you may feel they do not care, but don’t make it too easy for them to ignore - most of them are good people and the more they can empathise with your situation, the more confident they will be to challenge things on your behalf when they get an opportunity, and to not make the same mistake again. At least if you can get them to make a public admission that it was wrong, other SUs will realise this is not a precedent.

      3. Keep saying what you are saying! Like you say, I think Muslims are the major victims of Al Qaeda. Unfortunately what’s happened fits very neatly into their argument that there is a War on Islam, and it takes a lot of energy to keep reminding people not to think their enemy’s enemy is their friend. I also think, like you say, there are underlying causes of terrorism and people some people want to simplify and ignore them, while some others exploit them like gangsters.

      I want to offer you one of my frameworks for understanding what the police are doing: the rise of a security-State model - like the way the UK police will collect DNA from anyone they arrest and keep it even if they are innocent, to build up a database for use in solving crimes. This is also a case of guilty until proven innocence, and part of a changing relationship between the State and individuals. Your struggle can be part of a wider struggle against oppressive laws, not just to avoid being targeted as a Muslim.

      I guess you know you need to be careful in campaigning for human rights, as that in itself can often attract police suspicion. And as a Muslim, you might also find human rights campaigners want to limit your participation in “their” struggles. There’s no easy solution. But I am glad you came on here and shared your experience - a lot of people at Pickled Politics are open to campaigning for each others’ rights. Please keep us updated.

    38. douglas clark — on 6th April, 2010 at 8:38 am  

      Zubair Idris,

      Thank you for posting here. I take it you are this man?

      http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/cia-given-details-of-british-muslim-students-1932727.html

      You can’t be too careful these days.

      I think you have been shafted by the British state, whatever that is, exactly. Their paranoia makes mine look like a headache.

      It is not a happy situation.

      Best wishes.

      (If you want to be taken seriously here, don’t txt. Just a suggestion.)

    39. Lucy — on 6th April, 2010 at 8:50 am  

      True, Douglas Clark, re txtng, but texted or not it was a powerful statement. Thanks for sending it, Zubair Idris, and best of luck. Have forwarded it on to many.

    40. Lucy — on 6th April, 2010 at 9:05 am  

      And then there are the Humberside PCs, who seem to have better things to do with their time. Maybe it’s a case of too many resources going into one basket - the one marked ‘T’.

      ‘A shopkeeper chasing two thieves in the street asked a policeman for help only to be told “ring the police”.’
      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/7556948/Shopkeeper-who-asked-PC-for-help-told-to-phone-police.html

    41. douglas clark — on 6th April, 2010 at 9:27 am  

      Lucy @ 39,

      True, Douglas Clark, re txtng, but texted or not it was a powerful statement.

      Yup.

      It was just because I thought, I think even, that his arguement would have been better stated without txt spk.

      Why spoil it?

      I am on his side, just so’s you know…

    42. Lucy — on 6th April, 2010 at 11:15 am  

      @41 ‘I am on his side, just so’s you know…’
      Never thought otherwise!

      Wouldn’t it be a good idea - ?? - if the people who wrote a letter to the Guardian on 25 March 2010 in concerned response to the Channel 4 documentary ‘Britain’s Empire of Islam’
      http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/mar/25/islamophobia-a-threat-to-democracy

      and the people who wrote a subsequent letter to the Guardian on 3 April 2010 criticising the above letter that criticised the documentary
      http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/apr/03/criticism-does-not-exclude-muslims

      - could put their esteemed collective heads together to protest with joint strength the wholesale spying on British Muslim students and to demand answers to the question: - why names were handed over at UCL to the police without a warrant by those who are supposed to represent students’ interests.

      (and all, seemingly, just because of an incompetent cock-up - allegedly - on the part of US intelligence services that amounted to their not properly winnowing out important bits of intelligence from the vast amount of pap that gets fed into their info gathering cauldron.)

    43. douglas clark — on 6th April, 2010 at 11:27 am  

      Lucy @ 42,

      Yes.

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