Saudi, Kuwaiti students attacked on US university campus

Published April 14th, 2016 - 10:45 GMT
Idaho, in the rural midwest of America, is facing issues with discrimination and harassment of Arab students. (AFP/File)
Idaho, in the rural midwest of America, is facing issues with discrimination and harassment of Arab students. (AFP/File)

Saudi and Kuwaiti students on scholarships in Pocatello, Idaho, have been subjected to beatings and stabbings in the recent past. They have complained of facing threats, having their belongings stolen and racial discrimination by the local population.

Saudi cultural attaché in Washington Mohammad Al-Issa told a Saudi newspaper that the cultural mission has been working since Tuesday morning to communicate with all the affected students in the city and facilitate their transfer to other universities if the situation warranted.

More than 700 Saudi students studying in Idaho, especially the students studying in Pocatello, the fourth largest city in Idaho, face racial and religious discrimination by some residents of the city, mostly because of their religion. 

About fifty homes of Saudi and Kuwaiti students were burgled. Some students were beaten while others stabbed. Most were showered with insults and curses by the population. Posters on the windshields of some cars screamed: "Go back to your country. Why are you here?"

The students said told the paper that inhabitants of the city were circulating CDs warning one another of Islam and the possibility of it spreading in the state. Twitter was flooded with comments on this issue through the hashtag #students_Pocatello_in_danger.

One student, Abdulaziz Al-Shahrani, recounted instances of harassment and violence. He and his friends were harassed and discriminated against routinely, and that one of the students was stabbed by a young American man, while another student was beaten up and his nose broken. In another case, an apartment where three Saudi female students were living was burgled.

He said Saudi and Kuwaiti students of the city held a meeting at the Saudi Club headquarters at the university to discuss the problem and find some solutions. They slammed the slow response of the Saudi Embassy and the office of the attaché to the problem.

The students also criticized the local police. They said the police released a couple of Americans who robbed them hours after they were handed over to them.

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