… the FBI can take considerable pride in running a 16 year old Queens high school student out of the country. From Nina Bernstein in Friday’s NY Times.
Agents had seized Tashnuba Hayder’s diary, schoolwork and phone book – and the computer she had repeatedly tuned to sermons broadcast daily by Sheik Omar Bakri Muhammed. From her account of the agents’ questions, and comments by a government official who reviewed a report about the F.B.I.’s grounds for suspicion, it appears that Tashnuba’s interest in the speeches became the lens that colored everything else about her life.
Veering between “nice and awful,” she said, up to three agents at a time pressed her about possible terrorist ties among her friends, and what they saw as suspicious tendencies in her schoolwork, like class notes about suicide. She said they even criticized the austere dÃ©cor of the bedroom she shared with her 10-year-old sister.
“The F.B.I. tried to say I didn’t have a life – like, I wasn’t the typical teenager,” Tashnuba said bitterly, fingering her long Muslim dress. “They thought I was anti-American because I didn’t want to compromise, but in my high-school ethics class we had Communists, Democrats, Republicans, Gothics – all types. In all our classes, we were told, ‘You speak up, you give your opinion, and you defend it.’ ”
The lesson backfired, she said, when she found herself stubbornly debating the Koran’s definitions of jihad with the lead F.B.I. agent: Foria Younis, a Muslim immigrant of a much more secular stripe.
“It got personal,” Tashnuba said.
I listen to a lot of hateful crap on the internet and have no Justin Timberlake posters on my bedroom walls, either, but nobody is throwing me out of the country. Not yet, anyway.