The story of the Egyptian exchange students is getting very strange. Concerning the pair arrested in Dundalk, Maryland, local Baltimore TV station WJZ has this to say:
Two of the missing students were found and arrested in Dundalk, but the family that housed the students said they weren’t aware the students were missing.
The students were found staying with Jennifer Evans and her husband, who had introduced the pair to her as family friends from his village in Egypt. Thinking nothing of it, the couple welcomed the students into their home where they resided for a week before INS officials arrived to take custody of the students.
El Sayed Ahmed Elsayed Ibrahim, 20, and Alaa Abd El Fattah Ali El Bahnasawi, 20, were arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents.
It was then that Evans realized the students should have been staying in Bozeman, Mont. attending a month-long academic program at Montana State University.
The husband (last name “Evans”??) didn’t know they were missing? Really; he had no clue? How did he happen to bring them home? Did he meet them at the airport in New York, or just find them on the street? What did he think they were doing there?
The employment explanation comes up again:
Evans’ housguests [sic] will now face some major immigration violations and may be deported. Authorities believe they were looking for jobs in a place of opportunity.
Mr. Evans, who is from Egypt, thought they were looking for work. Did he not know about the student visas they carried, which specifically prohibited their holding employment in the United States? Or did he turn a blind eye to it, knowing that such visas are routinely abused by “students” who obtain employment?
Notice that the husband’s first name is never mentioned. Do you suppose it might begin with “M”? And is his last name Evans, or did his wife simply retain her maiden name? The WJZ account coyly avoids the whole issue.
This story raises more questions than it answers.
But there’s one thing we can always count on:
Immigration officials say the two students who stayed with Evans are not a terror risk.
The Mandatory No-Terror DisclaimerTM.
Update: Thanks to CP and commenter Johnnie for digging up the name of the husband. He is Attia Gouda, and a pizza shop owner, according to the Baltimore Sun.
A woman called Jennifer Evans writes regularly for the Egyptian publication, Weekly Al-Ahram (which also has an entire section of its website devoted to Yasser Arafat, as a matter of interest). I have no idea whether it’s the same person.
Also: three more of the students have been arrested, leaving only two at large. I’ll be posting on the topic later.