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Why Do They Expel Our Students? - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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A stamp that bans reentry into the county has been placed in the passports of scores of Saudi and other Arab students who arrived in the United States to complete their university studies recently. Thus, these students were obliged to look for other countries and new universities in which they could complete their studies. They were expelled because they were caught red-handed practicing extremism, such as visiting extremist or anti-US political websites on the Internet, or engaging in ideological correspondence with extremist or anti-US groups. However, all their deeds did not reach the extent of committing illegal actions or engaging in terrorist relations. If this was the case, perhaps they would have been dressed in orange jumpsuits and sent to the Guantanamo detention camp.

The blame here falls on the parties that are sending thousands of young students to universities without warning them about the need to act in accordance with the new situation of foreign students in US universities. It is likely that foreign students are under continued surveillance and that their telephone calls, e-mails, and Internet usage are monitored. If it is proved that these students have a tendency to be exposed to, or involved in, hostile ideology, they definitely will be expelled. The United States considers itself at war with terrorism. Therefore, it will not allow any anti-US ideological or terrorist cells to be established on its soil. Following the 11 September incidents, the United States tightened the noose on Arabs in an effort to cancel the possibility of the existence of anyone who is linked to Al-Qaeda or who sympathizes with it. Nevertheless, the current US President has adopted a contradictory recommendation that calls for the need to reconnect with Arab and Muslim students. In the long run, this policy will help improve the relationship between both ideologies, as well as between peoples, taking into consideration that the majority is actually against extremism and terrorism. Once this policy was adopted, embassies opened their doors and scores of thousands of students were granted visas. The US Government even offered Arab students educational scholarships. Despite this new positive inclination, the security services remained cautious and troubled and continued to watch the young newcomers. It became clear that the security services were going to expel everyone whose behavior seemed suspicious to them.

These young men were so naive that they did not realize the nature of the country to which they had moved to live and study. They did not realize that this country was keeping a suspicious eye on them and all it needed to deport them was one act of dubious extremist behavior. The US Government even has instructed US universities that deducting grades was not a sufficient punishment against those students who miss too many classes. Instead, they should be punished by deporting them. Parents might be pleased with this policy and consider it more of an advantage than a punishment, now that “Big Brother” is monitoring the students’ school performance. This is based on the belief that their hard work at school will keep them away from bad extremist companions who hate the United States and live on campus at US universities, where they spread provocative propaganda against it.

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed is the former general manager of Al-Arabiya television. He is also the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat, and the leading Arabic weekly magazine Al-Majalla. He is also a senior columnist in the daily newspapers Al-Madina and Al-Bilad. He has a US post-graduate degree in mass communications, and has been a guest on many TV current affairs programs. He is currently based in Dubai.

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