University of Toledo Students Fear Racial Retaliation

TOLEDO -- Some University of Toledo students are having flashbacks to the days after the September 11th terrorist attacks. At that time, Muslim and Arab students were harrassed on campus. News 11 went to UT today to hear what folks are saying about Tuesday's announcement that one of the three Toledo-area men arrested on terrorism-related charges is a student there.

Rabai Khan didn't know Wassim Mozloum on campus, but she knows now who he is. "It is very shocking to hear," she said of the recent terrorism indictment. She also said, "we're ... feeling very unfortunate that something would happen from our University community like that."

Some Muslim students said there is always worry about racial retaliation. One student from Saudi Arabia said, "I feel very sad about that because I am from the Middle East. I feel sad about that and I cannot express my feeling. Actually, it's shame."

Another person we talked to expressed shock, saying that Mozloum is a quiet person and a good student. The 24-year-old is a computer science major, and attended class at Palmer Hall as recently as last week. There is a big Muslim and Arab population on campus, but Mozloum wasn't a member of either organization.

UT president Dan Johnson sent a letter to all faculty and staff saying this is a very serious matter and he doesn't want people to make false assumptions. He wrote, "As we categorically reject terrorism individually and as a society, we must be careful not to be similarly indiscriminate in our projection of blame."

One Arab student expressed relief at having the administration's support. "We are very confident of the students here at UT. They are our friends, classmates in the classroom, and they know us," the student said.

The Arab and Muslim students met with Dr. Johnson Wednesday. They just happen to be planning on trading positions with other ethnic students next week -- all in an effort to get another person's perspective on heir racial challenges on campus.