USF student Khalid Shakfeh approached by military, feds after Syria trip

10:46 PM, Aug 30, 2013   |    comments
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Tampa, Florida -- Instead of partying on Spring Break like many college students, Khalid Shakfeh decided to take a humanitarian trip to Syria.

The 18 year-old, along with his sister and members of a group called the Syrian American Council, transported supplies for hospitals and refugees in the war-ravaged country.

"Basic medical supplies like gauze, Tylenol, Advil -- these sorts of things that they need that they're not getting access to," said Shakfeh, who was born in Hernando County and is a child of Syrian immigrants.

After returning, he was contacted by the MacDill-based U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM).

"What did you? What were the people there facing? What do they need and things like that?"

The USF microbiology student asked for the questions in writing, he said he was told that SOCOM did not want to do that.

"I [would] to give them the best answers; I get to get them the clearest answers," he said.

But days later, a Department of Defense representative showed up at his father's medical practice and asked to speak with his son. 

He made the same request: prepare the questions in writing and he would answer them, but since that request, has not be contacted again by the DOD.

"The FBI and other government agencies actively targeting us just to harass... a means of harassment," Shakfeh said.

Hassan Shibly, a spokesperson for CAIR, the Council of American-Islamic Relations spokesperson, says he's seen this before.

"We've seen a pattern of the government simply focusing and questioning individuals on their background, their color, or their religion and we believe that un-American and unacceptable," said Hassan Shibly, a spokesperson for the Council of American-Islamic Relations.

Shibly doesn't have a problem questioning individuals helpful to national security, but offers this:

"We've seen a pattern of the government simply focusing and questioning individuals on their background, their color, or their religion and we believe that un-American and unacceptable."

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