Two Lying Saudi’s

21 05 2006

Profiling? No way. Racist? Absolutely not. Two Saudi men tried to ride a school bus in Florida for language classes. Sure.

Via Tampa Bay 10:

Two men from Saudi Arabia were arrested today after they boarded a public school bus taking students to Wharton High School, the sheriff’s office reported.

Mana Saleh Almanajam, 23, and Shaker Mohsen Alsidran, 20, both of Tampa, were charged with trespassing on school grounds as unlawful riders on a school bus.

Deputies say the two boarded the bus at a regular bus stop at Fletcher Avenue and 42nd street. Deputies said the bus driver and the students saw them and became concerned by their presence. The driver notified her supervisors who, in turn, called authorities.

A sheriff’s deputy met then at Wharton High school and charged with them with trespassing.

The two men “initially told deputies they were from Morocco, but later admitted to being from Saudi Arabia,” the sheriff’s office said. “They told authorities they are enrolled at the English Language Institute at the University of South Florida. The defendants gave several versions of the reason they took a school bus to a high school, among those being they wanted to enroll in easier English language classes.”

Michelle Malkin reminds us of why we have reason to be concerned about young Saudi men on student visas purportedly studying English.

And we have plenty of reason to be concerned about possible terrorism operatives in south Florida, as well as plenty of reason to be concerned about terror attacks on schoolchildren and buses.

If Almanajam and Alsidran lied to Florida sheriff’s officials, whom else have they lied to? Federal and DHS authorities? Pretty much everyone except the local terrorism cell.

More from the Tampa Tribune:

“Both defendants gave several versions of the reason they took a school bus to a high school,” said Hillsborough County sheriff’s spokesman J.D. Callaway.

“They said they wanted to go to Wharton to look around, and then they said they wanted to go there to have some fun, and then they said they wanted to enroll in the English classes there,” Callaway said.

“We’re not sure if this was a situation of them just being new to this country, or if they were confused or what it was,” Callaway said. “We were unsure as to exactly what the final reason was, but it did cause great concern for the students on the bus and for us. One of the guys was wearing shorts with a black trench coat.”

While on the bus, the men laughed and spoke in Arabic, Callaway said.

Ahmed Bedier, Tampa director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations said the men likely meant no harm and that because “they were from Saudi Arabia, that escalated the situation.”

He blamed the incident on cultural differences.

“They didn’t differentiate between a school bus and public transportation,” he said.

This appears to really be digging. Couldn’t differentiate, huh? Doubt it.

Why was it so simple for them to be here studying in the first place? We are expanding our foreign student study program, that’s why.

The UA will enroll about 100 new Saudi Arabian students this summer, which could signal the reverse of a post-Sept. 11 trend of having fewer international students in the United States, especially those from the Middle East. The students are part of a new large-scale scholarship program by the Saudi government, which will send about 6,000 students to American universities this year after just 1,442 Saudi students had visas to study in the United States in 2004.

About 80 of the students are already at the UA, enrolled in English-immersion classes before they start their academic programs in the fall. More are expected by the start of next semester as they secure visas…

The program grew out of an agreement in April by President Bush and then-Crown Prince Abdullah, with the more open policy part of larger efforts at improving relations between the two nations.

Seems that this might be jumping the gun just a bit too quickly.

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