Saudi temporarily suspends Idaho scholarships in wake of harassment reports

Published April 17th, 2016 - 08:53 GMT
Idaho State University. (Twitter)
Idaho State University. (Twitter)

The Saudi Arabian Cultural Mission (SACM) at the Saudi Embassy in Washington confirmed that none of the scholarships students were assaulted in the Idaho State University, USA.

Cultural Attaché Dr. Mohammed Abdullah Al-Issa told Okaz daily that urgent and quick measures to protect students and their families are being taken including temporary suspension of scholarship to the university until the situation is resolved.

A large number of scholarship students from Arab and Muslim communities in the city of Pocatello had filed complaints against harassments and thefts led by racists in the city. There are about 400 scholarship students in the city.


Cultural attaché Dr. Mohammed Al-Issa confirmed that SACM had received complaints from the students. He stressed that none of the scholarship students had been subjected to direct confrontation with the racists. He added that SACM met with university officials and discussed solutions regarding the safety of students in cooperation with the city’s police.

Temporary suspension

Al-Issa stressed that SACM asked the students to drop out of the university temporarily in all disciplines and degrees until the university’s position becomes clear on the incidents students are facing in the city. He pointed out that students have been granted several options to relocate to other universities outside the city or stay at their own risk.

A few hours till graduation

Al-Issa said he would file a comprehensive and detailed report to the embassy in Washington to pursue aspects of the case and what the scholarship holders suffered due to racist harassment. He threatened to escalate the matter if these measures do not yield positive responses from the university.

He urged all scholarship students to file requests to their scholarship supervisors in which the students explain options they desire knowing that if no action is taken then that means the students desire to stay at the university and that’s their full responsibility.

While SACM presented several options to transfer students to other universities, a source told Al-Watan Daily that there has been communication between the Saudi Embassy with the FBI. He added, “There was communication between the Saudi Embassy in Washington and the FBI to find a solution to the hate crimes.”

Mayor of the city is unable to intervene

President of the Saudi Student Club Abdullah Al-Dossari said that 67 percent of the city’s residents are religious and 52 percent of them are Mormons who follow Protestants and 6.2 percent of the population is Roman Catholic.

He added, “The state of Idaho supports the Republican Party and its candidates Donald Trump and Ted Cruz. Both of them spoke during their election campaigns against Islam and Muslims, and that they thus grant people the courage to practice extremism and racism against others.”

Al-Dossari confirmed that he had visited the mayor of the city, and briefed him on what is happening, but there has been no change and the problems have increased.

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