WTOP, a Washington, D.C. television station, as well as several other media outlets are reporting that a student at Howard University is among several D.C.-area students who have been detained in Pakistan on terrorism charges.
A federal enforcement source says Howard University dental student Ramy Zamzam and four unidentified D.C.-area students were arrested Wednesday after Pakistani police launched a raid in Sargodha, a town in the eastern province Punjab.
Authorities became suspicious and began looking for Zamzam after he and the men disappeared just after Thanksgiving.
The Washington Post reports that all of the detained men are from Northern Virginia, but it did not identify any of them.
Officials at the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said the men — who are in their early 20s and from the Alexandria area — disappeared last week. Their families approached CAIR, which informed the FBI and has been working with federal authorities to locate the men and find out why they went to Pakistan.
FBI agents have been interviewing family members, friends and classmates of the men in the Washington area. Their names have not been released, and it was unclear Wednesday afternoon where they attend school.
Howard University’s student newspaper, The Hilltop, reported via Twitter around 3 p.m. that student Zamzam “is one of five U.S. citizens currently being detained in Pakistan under suspicions of terrorism.”
UPDATE: The Hilltop’s Web site is now carrying a statement from Howard University:
There are reports that a Howard University student was arrested today overseas. By law, universities must maintain the privacy of student records and Howard is committed to that.
There is no evidence of imminent harm to the University community. If students are in need of counseling, please contact the University Counseling Center.
Hamilton released a separate statement to City Desk in response to inquiries about Zamzam: “We can confirm that Ramy Zamzam was enrolled at Howard University during fall 2009. Privacy laws prohibit universities from disclosing details about student records.”