London: In the wake of the Detroit flight bombing bid by Nigerian-origin British student, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, police in Britain are set to share personal information concerning the private lives of almost 1,000 British Muslim university students with America’s Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
The decision has sparked off outrage among British Muslims, who feel that they are being targeted without any mistake. They are also concerned that their names will appear on international terrorist watch lists, The Independent reports.
Police got the personal information of members of the University College of London’s Islamic Society from the student union.
“At another meeting with the Metropolitan Police, they told us they would keep it for seven years and would share the data with other intelligence agencies if requested. Obviously, I`m very concerned with what they plan to do with this information,” Mojeed Adams-Mogaji, the president of UCL`s Islamic Society, said.
So far, the homes of over 50 of the students have been visited by police officers, but nobody has been arrested.
“I feel frustrated and outraged. To pass on 900 student details because they were members of UCL Islamic Society is ridiculous. The reason I joined the society was for socio-cultural reasons. I`ve never seen the guy [Abdulmutallab]. I wasn`t here when he was at university,” Zubair Idris, 21, an international medical student at UCL, said.
Prominent human rights lawyer Gareth Peirce, who advised the Islamic Society during the affair, described the police`s actions as "completely inappropriate".
“You wonder if he (Abdulmutallab) had been a member of a society without the name Islamic on it, then would there have been such an appetite to grab the information. The whole concept of data protection was meant to nail down absolute privacy, which is being breached without a legal reason being imposed on the university to comply,” she said.