Five US men arrested in Pakistan

The five men in their 20s from northern Virginia are believed to have travelled to Pakistan as a group. One of them left behind a videotape that appeared to be a "farewell" statement accompanied by references to the conflict between the West and Muslim world, Nihad Awad, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), told reporters on Wednesday.

There were also hints of extremism in the language and the "potential misuse" of Koranic verses, Awad said, refusing to go into further details. The tape was handed over to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The college students went missing last week. Their families contacted CAIR, who informed the FBI, Awad said. At least three of them are believed to be of Pakistani descent.

"The Muslim community has taken the lead in bringing this case to the attention of law enforcement authorities and will offer ongoing cooperation with the FBI as the investigation moves forward," Awad said.

The FBI issued a statement saying it was working with Pakistani authorities to determine the identities of the five men and "the nature of their business there".

"The FBI is working with families and local law enforcement to investigate the missing students and is aware of the individuals arrested in Pakistan," the FBI said.
US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton refused to comment on the arrests first reported by the Pakistani media.

A spokesman for CAIR, Ibrahim Hooper, said the organisation was launching an educational programme within the US Muslim community to ensure youth are politically engaged in the US and do not fall vulnerable to extremist views.

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