Haneen has been the subject of harassment and threats as the result of her work with the Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP). In addition to threatening phone calls and personal attacks about her appearance, multiple websites have accused Haneen of being a terrorist. Now if a future employer googles her name, it brings up these websites. The Campus Citizen was able to speak to Haneen following this morning’s press conference (which you can read about here).
How does it feel to know that some students on campus think you’re a terrorist?
It’s a terrible feeling that there are these words being spread about me. These false accusations that I am a terrorist. I’m not a terrorist. I’m a student just like everybody else, minding my own business, working for justice, trying to complete my degree.
Why do you think students would feel threatened by you?
Honestly I don’t know. We don’t know why this person is doing this to me. We don’t know why it’s me. This could have very well happened to anybody else.
How does it feel to know that students and social media’s response has been in support of you?
It’s a great feeling. It’s really nice to see that people support me and can say good things about me to try and put the articles down. So when you google my name it won’t show up as much anymore. It’s overwhelming to see all the emails, all the texts, and messages and posts on Facebook. I try not to get on Facebook as much just because I see my name everywhere. So, it’s really nice.
Do you fear for your life right now?
I do. I fear for my safety, because I don’t know who this person is. I’m walking on this campus and I don’t know who the person that is talking about me and saying all these lies is. At any moment, I could be talking to this person face to face and I would not know that it’s them.
Is this the first time that you’ve felt that you couldn’t have free speech, or felt unsafe on this campus?
This is the first time. I love my campus. I love it here. Everybody’s kind and everybody’s nice. Everybody supports one another even if you don’t agree with their opinion, you stand by them. This is the first time that I have not felt safe on my own campus. This is the place that I chose to attend. I chose to come here, and I can’t walk these halls. I can’t walk outside without looking left and right and being really paranoid that at any moment this person could show up. I don’t know when. I just don’t know who this person is, but at the same time this has made me a lot stronger and it makes me want to move forward with what I’ve been doing with SJP, as a Muslim, as a student. It makes me want to continue studying and to go to law school and become somebody who can fight for those who go through the same thing or go through something similar. This person’s not scaring me. I guess you can say I need to know who it is, so that I can feel comfortable walking the streets. I want to know who it is, because I’m pressing charges against this person.
So you are pressing charges?
I have two lawyers on the case already and we’re pressing charges.
Is there anything else you’d like to add to share your side of the story?
I’m not a terrorist. I guess that’s as good as it gets. I’m not. I’m a student attending college trying to get a degree. As you can see I have a lot of support from a lot of different faculty members and students so that should show that those things that are in that article… First off I was not born in Palestine, I was born in Indiana. I was raised here. I am a Hoosier. I am an American Palestinian. An American is key in this. I don’t hate my country. I love it here. I absolutely love the place I live in. I love Indiana. I love the Midwest and I think that needs to be clarified. I don’t have a roommate, so the accusations that this person came to my home and saw these things and did a project with my roommate. I don’t have a roommate. There are blatant lies that are said in these blog posts that if you fact check it, you can know it’s all a lie. It is all a lie.
With these negative posts about you online, do you fear anything?
I can’t travel. I mean, I’m a national security threat is the first thing that pops up when you search my name. Traveling is going to be really hard, just living a normal life. My future what’s going to happen when I apply for a job and the boss searches my name and he sees ‘Oh national security threat,’ or a graduate school or law school. This is why we want a public statement from the chancellor to help clear my name to tell everyone, “No. It’s a lie. She’s not a terrorist. She’s a student,a student that needs our help to clear her name.