Wednesday, March 12, 2003

The Moscow bust

Talk Left has some remarkable material on the recent arrest of a Saudi national in Moscow, Idaho (on, as it happened, the day after I had been in Moscow giving talks to journalism students at the University of Idaho).

Jeralyn's posts on the raid (including this earlier one) are chilling -- not so much for the case, which appears to have some substance, but for the subsequent treatment of the Moscow Arab-student community. Some of this is coming from the FBI, who appear to be treading over the normal boundaries in questioning the suspect's fellow students. Almost as disturbing is the suspicion drifting their way from their neighbors, including some of the college town's weak-kneed multiculturalists who are now evidently having second thoughts.

This is laid out as well at today's Denver Post:

Terror arrest roils small town in Idaho
Mossaad quit feeling safe in this town of 22,000 people late last month with the arrest of a Saudi graduate student accused of funneling $300,000 to a group instigating terror. Now, the Muslims in Moscow's sizable international community feel singled out in a way that exceeds even the fearful, suspicious days after Sept. 11, 2001.

And some of Moscow's other residents, until now nearly smug in their advocacy of diversity and tolerance, are wondering if maybe they were a little too trusting.

Meredith Csenscits, 21, who is majoring in human resources management, said of the foreign students, "We feel sympathy for them. But if we're honest with ourselves, we're a little more nervous about them."

People like Meredith should have been realistic about their Muslim neighbors all along -- which is to say, they should have understood there was a chance that some of them might be involved with terrorists, however small it might be. And that this shouldn't implicate the rest of the Muslim community, anymore than the white-supremacist terrorists arrested the month before up in Spokane should implicate the Christian community.

No comments: