June 8, 2010, - 7:59 pm
Anytime you hear about Western “students” in Yemen, you know they’re not exactly there to learn how to make shawarmeh or become familiar with the local culture. Or to learn Arabic, which you can learn anywhere, including in the U.S. and Israel. You don’t need to travel to Al-Awlaki-land to gain Arabic language skills. And there’s nothing special or important about the Yemeni dialect, unless the guy teaching you has the first name, “Anwar,” and was born in New Mexico.
Beware of American “Arabic Students” in Yemen
First, there was this story from Reuters, yesterday. You just knew these people weren’t just “students,” unless what they were, uh, “studying” is advanced explosive and underwear rigging techniques. That includes, by the way, an Australian woman, probably specifically recruited to escape notice and profiling efforts.
Yemeni authorities have detained several US and French students of Arabic on security grounds, a government official said yesterday, shortly after an Australian woman was reported to be held for links to militancy.
The official said the Westerners had been detained in Sanaa at the behest of their own governments, but declined to give details of their arrests.
Then, just an hour ago, this story broke, telling us more of what we already knew (even if some stupid liberal pot-smokers want to believe these “students” are in Yemen to enjoy the “exoticism” of Yemeni destitution and extremism). Note that the State Dept. says that no U.S. citizens were arrested on terror charges in Yemen, recently. Really? Then, who are the U.S. “students of Arabic”
The State Department said on Tuesday three U.S. citizens are in Yemeni custody on terrorism-related charges but none was arrested recently.
The Saudi-owned al-Hayat newspaper on Monday reported that Yemen has detained around 50 foreigners accused of links to al Qaeda after stepping up monitoring of Arabic language schools.
Responding to questions triggered by the report, State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley on Monday said there were 12 U.S. citizens in custody in Yemen but gave no details on why they were detained.
On Tuesday, Crowley said that he did not know of any recent arrests of U.S. citizens in Yemen. He also said that the number of Americans in custody in the impoverished Arab nation varies and can be as high as about 20 at any given time.
“We are not aware of any new arrests on terrorism charges at this point,” Crowley said on Tuesday.
“Right now, we are only aware of three American citizens in custody in Yemen on terrorism charges,” he added, saying that the three had been arrested since the beginning of the year.
Al-Hayat said U.S., British, French and Malaysian nationals were among the foreigners detained since a failed December, 2009 attempt to bomb a U.S.-bound plane. The Nigerian suspect in that case had studied Arabic in the Yemen’s capital, Sanaa.
Uh-huh. “Arabic students.” Just like the Arabic students who were just detained. Just like Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. And Nidal Malik Hasan.
Tags: Arabic students, Australian woman, detained, French students, Islam, Islamic Terrorism, Islamic terrorists, Sana'a, San`a, State Department, Western students, Westerners, Yemen