When the presidential debate rolls into Tempe next week, Yaser Alamoodi, a
27-year-old political science major from Saudi Arabia, almost certainly
won’t be in attendance. And not just because Arizona State University,
which is hosting the event, is limiting the number of seats available to
ASU students. Apparently, because he’s an Arab, Alamoodi’s name is, he
says, on a special list kept by the Joint Task Force on Terrorism, and,
according to the folks at the Council on American Islamic Relations, he is
one of dozens of Tempe residents in the ASU area recently visited by an FBI
agent. (The Joint Task Force on Terrorism hadn’t returned our calls by
press time, and apparently the FBI doesn’t share information about whether
it’s visited for a “voluntary chat.”) Alamoodi says the friendly agent
questioned him about his school, his work, and whether he planned anything
special for the night of the presidential debate. Alamoodi has kept his
sense of humor (he’s taken to calling the FBI “the Friendly Brothers of
Islam” and has published an open letter to John Ashcroft, thanking him for
the FBI visit, in his column in ASU’s State Press)


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