FIU's Muslim Students Found a Listening Device in a Campus Prayer Room

The evening was sliding toward midnight, but the students were still hanging out. It was February 9, 2013, and the five members of Florida International University's Muslim Student Association had finished their evening prayers in the room they used daily at the Graham Center, the student union on the school's Modesto Maidique Campus.

They were lounging like any group of college kids, prayer mats spread out on the room's ugly blue-green-brown industrial shag, when one noticed a bump in the weave. It was just smaller than the volume button on an iPhone, with three holes in the top. As the group gathered around, the student pulled it up. A wire was attached to the bump. It looked like a listening device, they decided.

"We were just shocked," one of the students, who like the others in the room asked to remain anonymous, tells New Times. "I knew that the same thing happened in New York, but we were just surprised it was here."

Surveillance operations on Muslim students at American college campuses have been an unfortunate byproduct of the War on Terror. A 2012 investigation by the Associated Press revealed the NYPD had monitored campus Muslim groups across the Northeast. But now, FIU students were possibly holding evidence that they too were being watched.

"We've learned about many, many stories of students being picked up at colleges and spied on," says Aman Muqeet, a former FIU graduate student who is familiar with the situation. "We really don't know how many other Muslim students are being tracked. This could be related."

The students quickly contacted Nezar Hamze, the regional operations director for the Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). Hamze says he contacted the U.S. Attorney's Office, the Department of Justice, and FIU's campus police. He also says he took the device to a spy store, where a clerk confirmed the gadget was the kind of expensive surveillance device used by the government.

When Hamze met with school officials, he laid out his concern. "If someone put in this equipment, someone had to know about it," he says. "They promised they had no idea what was going on." The device was turned over to the FIU Police Department, according to Hamze.

Now, a year later, the students still have no answers or explanation for why the device was in their prayer space. Muqeet speculates the surveillance might be linked to the Flagler Mosque, the closest mosque to the FIU campus. In 2011, federal authorities arrested the center's imam, Hafiz Khan, and two of his sons for funneling money to the Pakistani Taliban.

Charges were dropped against the latter two, but in August 2013 the elder Khan was convicted and sentenced to 25 years. A handful of FIU Muslims worshiped at the mosque, Muqeet says. "After the arrests, there were FBI agents on campus trying to talk to FIU students," CAIR's Hamze says.

Neither FIU President Mark Rosenberg nor the FIU police department returned calls to comment on the case.

That radio silence on the issue — now going on more than a year — is what troubles the students.

"I guess spying on Muslims is acceptable today," Hamze says.

 
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13 comments
kamal.shakoor001
kamal.shakoor001

أنا مسلم وفخور بذلك! من فضلك لا نمطية لنا جميعا!

I'm a Muslim and proud of it! Please don't stereotype us all!

robertnels
robertnels

Not all Muslims are terrorists, just like not all Germans were Nazis, or Nazi sympathizers during W.W.II, The only problem is, how do you tell the good from the bad???  

magus8990
magus8990

After all the deaths radical muslims have caused due to "jihad" in america and around the world is only natural and logical to have an eye on the followers of that religion.Due to their religion beliefs people die everyday in the middle east.  And yes, people will say all religions have radicals and extremist but the percentage of those killers and terrorist compared to all of the other religions doesn't even come close. These are facts no one can deny. 


I'm glad FIU and other institutions are taken precautions and thinking in the health-being of it's students. It's always better to be prepare for the worst scenarios.

kamal.shakoor001
kamal.shakoor001

أنا مسلم وفخور بذلك! من فضلك لا نمطية لنا جميعا!

I'm a Muslim and proud of it! Please don't stereotype us all as you said. Thank you.

bturtle
bturtle

@magus8990  


Magus; I couldn`t agree more. Sorry Cyhi, unfortunately that`s the problem of all Muslims will be paying for the rest of their life, in order to help the safety of the American people and others.

cyhi
cyhi

all the deaths? 911 is still trying to be.figured out, there is more evidence to contrary it was a inside cooperated false flag. Waco terror, Atlanta Olmpics, Ohklahoma city, Norway children shooting and list goes on and on of fanatical Christian groups that have caused terror and let's not forget the born again Christian evangelical bloodlust war in Iraq and middle east that causes terror there at mass scales. So I really hope churches are spied upon also because as we can see, not only has it become a domestic threat but also international threat as how we saw so many Christian preachers in the US that drummed for war in Iraq because it was part of some delusional insane prophecy

cyhi
cyhi

I believe we are speaking about the American people, the American-Muslims and any other Americans based off of religion, nationality, or race. Being able to spy on one particular group of Americans, then gives the right to spy on any American. But bturtle, I'm sorry, it's also you that is going to be paying for the rest of your life for the safety of mine and other Americans

cyhi
cyhi

well I guess if a dufus like magus8990 states it's ok to spy on a whole group, and me then having a rebuttal to say it's ok to spy on another group, I guess both of us like morons are saying it's "ok" to lose our liberties without actually knowing that is what we are really doing. point should be taken and lessened

magus8990
magus8990

@aqua  The fact that you can't dispute and deny my argument and objective data, That fact that you're just ridiculing  facts without providing solid information, makes mi case stronger. Prove wrong with verifiable data, but you cant so you have no choice but to try ridicule my statements as best as you can. How intellectual you are. :)


See people another person who doesn't want to recognize the problem with islam

aqua
aqua

Yes watch out for the Muslims, better yet, watch out for the Muslim Godzilla, what kind of drugs are people on these days, magus8990, yes protect yourself from the Muslim Godzilla reptalian alien from Mars

magus8990
magus8990

@cyhi  Readers please beware of individuals like "cyhi" Although this person might not be an extremist that fact that he doesn't recognized and acknowledge all the deaths and atrocities caused by islam in a way is indirectly supporting or making an excuse for extremist behavior. Please pay attention to this, they will use racism an all they can think of to make themselves as victims. Be safe everyone, always have an extra eye for muslims! not because we want to, but we need to protect ourselves!

cyhi
cyhi

bbss, the west is waking up to the bigotry and hate that the wacko likes like you and Pamela geller spread.

BBSS
BBSS

@cyhi  This islam defender "cyhi" is trying so hard to rebuff all the other statements. He just doesn't want to recognized the truth and will reply to anything to get the last word. But that won't change the facts. Islam tends to instigate violence. Islam is a submissive, primordial and violent religion. Sonner or later the West will wake up. Its hard to believe how people on those countries torture individuals for the stupidest things. In the present no other major religion in the world does those gore and barbaric acts.

 
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