UC Irvine PD Investigating FBI’s Surveillance of Muslims

IRVINE, Calif. – The University of California, Irvine (UCI) police department is investigating claims that a Muslim student was assaulted by an FBI agent who was in an unmarked vehicle doing surveillance.

The incident, which allegedly took place May 14 at an anti-Israel protest, has further strained relations between the Muslim community and the agency. Back in 2006, students and parents protested after an agent told a business group the FBI was monitoring Muslims at the University of Southern California and UCI. The protesters believed the agency was singling out the Muslim community.

In response to the protests, an official from the Los Angeles office of the FBI told a group of individuals at a local mosque that their community was not being monitored. He would not, however, say that the original quote was incorrect. Last week’s incident has made the students and parents even more skeptical.

According to an FBI spokesperson, on May 14, the agent was conducting an investigation. No additional details were provided.

The alleged incident involved UCI senior Yasser Ahmed, 21, who says he was followed by an unmarked car as he was driving to the school’s free speech zone. According to the student, he then got out of his car and asked the agent why he was being followed. When the agent didn’t respond, Ahmed tried to take a photo of the agent’s car’s license plate. The car then pushed Ahmed, who was not hurt. Immediately after the incident, the car was pulled over by UCI police.

The altercation is currently being investigated. It has also been alleged that an object was thrown at the agent’s vehicle.

Tensions between Muslim and Israeli students are nothing new at UCI. Four years ago, a Holocaust memorial was damaged. The following year, someone set ablaze the anti-Zionism exhibit. Anti-Semitic incidents are also being investigated by the U.S. Office for Civil Rights.

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