Syma Mohammed and Robert Verkaik
April 1, 2010
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.
This week, MPs criticised the Government’s key policies on countering extremism which they said were alienating Muslim communities.
*Last year, The Independent reported on the alleged harassment of young Muslims by the police and security service, MI5, whose officers had tried to recruit them as spies. 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.
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