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Are You on THE List? About DHS Watch-Lists & How to Get Off them

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watchlist.JPGThe scenario is always chillingly the same with little variation. You – typically a Pakistani or Arab American (although generally any Muslim will do) – have just finished a grueling transatlantic flight where you may have been doing anything from taking a European vacation, to visiting family, to doing business, etc. You are excited to be “back home” in the United States of America, which in many cases is the only country where you have citizenship. You expect a warm welcome from fellow Americans at the Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) who seemed like really nice, warm people with big smiles on the airline’s on-board video describing customs procedures.

You get in line where it says “US citizens” and await your turn to have your passport stamped by the Customs agent. As you come up to his cubicle you are relieved to see that the smiles really are there. The agent greets you with a “Welcome home!” as he takes your passport. As he scans it, he asks you the typical questions: “Where were you? How long did you stay? What was the purpose of your visit?” The problem is that all of a sudden the smile disappears and they don’t really seem to be paying attention to your rambling on about the crazy drivers in Rome. They seem taken aback by some ominous message which appears to have come up on their computer. The poor agent in fact looks very distraught at whatever it is he sees. He reads it again to be sure. Then he tells you in a very serious voice, the smile long having faded, that you need to step to the wall or to the side and wait for another “agent”.

“Is there a problem?” you ask in a concerned voice. “No, just a random check,” comes the traditional reply. You are then led to a room by a not-so-smiley “agent” who clearly appears to have no interest in small talk. About all he does is reiterate the “random check” line you were given before. He leads you over to the luggage claim area and stands back while you reclaim all the luggage they will soon pore over with a fine tooth comb. After a tense 15 minutes awaiting your bags, you are then led to a room off to the side – in some cases behind an ominous one-way mirror – where you discover several other Muslims who have also been selected for this “random” humiliation and degradation. Concerned eyes of other passengers you accompanied on the plane follow you all the way until you are behind the one-way mirror.

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You are gruffly told to take a seat by your latest handler for what looks like a long wait. As you scan the room, you are saddened by the terrified looks of hijabis in their 50s and 60s who look like they could be your mother. What could they have possibly done to be treated like this? For that matter, what could any of us have done? The “war on terror” takes more collateral damage it appears.

After a wait of anywhere from 30 minutes to over an hour, the “agent” who brought you here asks you to come over to a steel table where they proceed to take every item out of your bags to do a thorough search. Any paper with any addresses, phone numbers, names or other information of a personal nature is taken for photocopying. God forbid you should have anything in Arabic other than a Qur’an because that too will need to be taken for photocopying and can increase your detention and interrogation time to hours. While they scour through your personal belongings, they do their version of “casual” interrogation. Every question is usually asked twice during the questioning to ensure that you aren’t lying or making anything up. They at last come to the contents of your pockets. Be ready to surrender your driver’s license and credit cards for “photocopying” as well. Don’t worry though – it’s all just “random”.

After that ordeal, which seems very adept at making most everyone who goes through it feel like a criminal even if they never even had a parking ticket, you are commanded to once again sit among the other randomly selected (read Muslim) passengers. It is not uncommon to have another agent come and request your connecting flight information, “because it looks like we will need to book you on a later flight”. You may be emboldened by this point, if not before, to ask why this keeps happening to you if you are a frequent international traveler, but you will only get the same “it’s random” response. You will not be offered any information to help make any sense out of this whole experience, nor a method for resolving whatever seems to be the issue.

Once everything seems to have cleared to CBP’s satisfaction, you are then “free to go.” Sorry if there are no more connecting flights and you have to spend the night in whatever city you are, or if your family is worried sick because you are several hours late because you can’t use your phone until after you pass the screening area. In fact, you should be grateful for this new addition to national security.

Those of you who have never experienced this may wonder if there is a wee bit of exaggeration in this article, but unfortunately the above-mentioned phrases are based on personal experiences of several Muslims in the past six months. This article is designed to make those of you not on the infamous “terror watch list” or “no-fly list” aware of what does happen to the rest of us and to help guide those who are wrongly on this list to a pathway to legally get off and feel human again.

Procedure for Getting Off “the List”

The process of getting your name cleared from “the list” is actually fairly simple and straightforward. It involves filing a “complaint” for redress with the Department of Homeland Security. What you are attempting to do is clear your name from some classified similarity to a known or suspected terrorist in DHS files. It may be that you have the same birth date, same last name, or some other aspect that in some way resembles someone they have concerns about. The process is as follows:

  1. Go to www.tsa.gov/travelers – when there you will click on Traveler Redress Inquiry Program (known as DHS TRIP).
  2. Next you will be guided through several screens where you can file your complaint online or via email.
  3. Last, you will be required to send in documentation – by snail mail or by attachments to an email – to help verify your identity. These include but are not limited to passport, driver’s license, social security card, etc for citizens and other supporting documentation for legal residents or those on work/student visas.

Lastly, you will be given a redress control number that will allow you to check on the status of your filing if all supporting documents are in order. The process was supposed to take only 30 days but there have been reported delays in the past several months such that processing time now is longer. My particular case has extended to seven weeks at the time of this article.

Helping to Expedite Your Detention

Regardless of filing a redress with DHS, it still takes time to clear everything. There are things you should do to help you avoid missing connections or creating undue suspicion. Here are a few tips:

  • Pack light – I typically carry only what normally qualifies as carry-on luggage so that I can avoid having to lose 15-20 minutes at the baggage claim before getting my special “interview”.
  • Avoid prohibited items – On customs declarations, it specifies that seeds and a variety of foods are prohibited. Some Muslims really miss their Auntie’s cooking and want to bring a piece of the old country back with them – don’t. It will cause you significant delays and will end up in the garbage. Face it brother, those sunflower seeds aren’t worth it.
  • Don’t be impatient and don’t make stupid jokes – It appears that a lot of these “agents” are just waiting for some idiot to mouth off about “his rights” or to make stupid jokes assuming he is a free person. The unfortunate reality is that you no longer have rights and you are not free under these policies. The easiest way and the way of the Sunnah in such a case is to follow the instructions given and to be easy. Allah has decreed this for some of us and it may be a test that will elevate our degree with Him or forgive our sins. It is also an opportunity to give da’wah. It gives them a chance to see the easy nature of Muslims and their patience and gentleness. If you want to rock the boat and demand your rights wait until you get out of their area and contact a lawyer or your CAIR office. Your good behavior and cooperation will go a long way towards getting your case attention as opposed to brazen arrogance that can sink any sympathy for you. And whatever you do, don’t use your cell-phone inside the screening area. It is a violation of their protocol and I have witnessed those who violated it be subjected to significant delays and further scrutiny.
  • Avoid materials in other languages – Face it, the Arabic language is now a language of immediate suspicion and Urdu and Farsi aren’t far behind. When one of these agents finds a paper written in Arabic (they once “discovered” a word game I had been playing with my wife who was learning Arabic at the time – sea, tree, water, sky, mountain, girl, boy – clearly very concerning things for our national security I’m sure) it was like he struck gold. It led to a renewed round of questioning and of course the “I’ll have to photocopy this” line. The Qur’an appears to be an exception. Hand written documents clearly are more scrutinized than printed materials but they both create delays and extra questions. Just avoid the hassles and extra dose of suspicion if you can.
  • Finish your prayers – Remembering that this process can sometimes take hours, you don’t want to leave your prayer to be done in this place. Make sure that you complete your prayers if the time for them has entered before disembarking from the plane. This will free you such that you will not be concerned about losing them and secondly offer you a good opportunity to seek refuge in Allah from any mishaps or troubles.
  • Du’a – Among the commonly neglected Sunnahs of today is making the remembrances and supplications of the morning and evening. This was something rarely, if ever, missed by the Prophet (saas) and provides the best kind of medicine to many of our problems – and that is preventive medicine. For example, the Prophet (saas) said: “Say: ‘Qul huwa Allaahu ahad (Surah 112) and al-Mi’wadhatayn (Surahs 113 and 114) in the evening and in the morning, three times, and that will suffice you against everything.” (Saheeh Abi Dawood) Among the supplications and remembrances, Uthman reported that Prophet Mohammad (saas) has said that (nothing will harm) the servant who recites these words three times every morning and evening.

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الَّذِي لَا يَضُرُّ مَعَ اسْمِهِ شَيْءٌ فِي الْأَرْضِ وَلَا فِي السَّمَاءِ وَهُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ

In the name of Allah, who by His Name nothing in the skies nor on the earth can be permitted to cause harm and He is the All-hearing, the All-knowing. (Tirmidhi)

There are many other important supplications and remembrances prescribed for these two blessed times (morning and evening) which should be learned. Lastly, in the lengthy hadith of Muslim regarding the boy and the King, we learn the valuable du’a the boy made to be protected from the King’s men who were intent on killing him:

اللهم اكفينهم بما شئت

“O’ Allah, protect me from them by whatever means you wish!”.

I hope these suggestions will help smooth your travels and protect you from unnecessary delays and harassment. We all ask Allah that justice will someday return and that we will once again have equal rights with other travelers where our religion will not be a source of suspicion and detentions. In the meantime we ask Allah to keep our faith in Him and His religion strong and to not allow these trials and tests to lead us astray from His guidance. In summary, it may be of benefit at this point to briefly remember the famous authentic hadith of Khabab ibnal-‘Arat:

‘I approached the Prophet when he was reclining in the shade of the Ka‘bah one day. This was in the days when we had received some harm from the pagans (tortured by them). I said to him: ‘O Messenger of Allah, will you not ask God to help us? Will you not pray for our relief from this persecution?” He sat up red in the face and said: “Among the followers of God before you were those who were thrown in a ditch and then sawed in half. Yet this did not make them turn away from the worship of God. And others had their skin combed with iron combs to the point that the flesh was lifted from the bones yet they too were not swayed from the worship of God. For there is no doubt that God will cause Islam to spread until a person can ride from San’a to Hadramaut (two distant cities in Yemen) and he will not fear anything except God and the wolf regarding his sheep. Yet you are a people who are too hasty!” (Ahmad)

Forgive me if I have made any mistakes in the preparation of this column. I ask Allah that it be a source of valuable information and relief to distressed travelers – ameen, was-salaam alaikum.

Other Resources:

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Dr. Ali Shehata is the author of Demystifying Islam: Your Guide to the Most Misunderstood Religion of the 21st Century. Dr. Ali is an Emergency and Family Medicine physician currently living in an area of central Florida. He was born in Maryland to parents who had immigrated to the US from Egypt. He has studied Islam mainly through traditional methods among various scholars, du'at and students of knowledge here in the US.

36 Comments

36 Comments

  1. Hassan

    March 24, 2008 at 9:54 AM

    Jazak-Allah khyran. Very beneficial. By the way, they do get a white person randomly in that room, with rest of the muslims to make others feel that its not racial profiling. But yes majority there are muslims.

  2. ibnabeeomar

    March 24, 2008 at 10:08 AM

    this was very informative! jazakallahu khayr.

  3. ruth nasrullah

    March 24, 2008 at 10:34 AM

    Salaams, Br. Hassan – your comment makes it sound like there are no white Muslims.

  4. Amad

    March 24, 2008 at 10:40 AM

    jazakallahkhair Shaykh Ali.

    I am sure many of us have our horror stories of “VIP” treatment received at the airport.

    For me, actually I experienced my first real “Muslim” treatment this last time on my trip back from Pakistan with my family. My name was called out by the crew in the plane, and I had two “friends” waiting outside to especially receive me.

    Of course, it didn’t matter that I was with my family. Expecting that this may be related to my blogging against Israel, I was mildly surprised to hear the officer telling me that he KNEW that it wasn’t me that they “wanted”, but that they would still have to wait for their headquarters in DC to clear my name. Meanwhile, for this fishing expedition, they wanted me to collect all my bazillion suitcases and bring them for their checks.

    At this point, I was not too happy about the situation, and didn’t follow Dr. Ali’s advise of remaining patient. So, I told the guys that if they wanted my suitcases, they need to come and help me pick them up… I wasn’t doing it alone. So, a couple of them came with me and loaded them up.

    I also told the main guy that, as an American citizen, I didn’t appreciate this inconvenience and that I would be talking to my senator about it. At this point, he suggested to me that it would be better not to, and rather to follow the procedures to take my name off. I told him I had already done so for the “domestic list” and was no longer bothered on domestic flights. For some reason, this officer did become a little extra courteous after I threw the senator reference in!

    I also talked to another sister in the waiting room, whose only crime seemed to be in having the same last name as me… a young born-and-bred American Muslimah with a toddler. Profiling at its best.

    There is no doubt in my mind that the State Department has been padded with LOBBY members in order to deny as many Muslims as possible entry into America…whether through visa restrictions, denials, or stupid reasons at port-entry. Besides the long wait that Muslims have to go through for citizenship. That is why it is even so much more important that we recognize what is happening and start fighting for our rights!

  5. Hassan

    March 24, 2008 at 10:56 AM

    Sister ruth nasrullah, I did not mean it in that way. What I meant non-muslims and people that can not be commonly mistaken as muslims.

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  7. ruth nasrullah

    March 24, 2008 at 12:01 PM

    Br. Hassan, I knew what you meant :) Your point is well taken, that “racial profiling” is a lot easier to call out than “religious profiling.”

    In my family, it was my stepson who ended up on the no-fly list. It turned out they were “targeting” someone with the same name but around 20 years older than him. The ironic thing is that the clerk who cleared it up for us the first time was a brother named Tarik. He told us, “Don’t worry, I’m on the list too.”

    I’ve actually found the security to be getting a little more culturally sensitive lately. The last time I flew I was wearing a long jacket that was not quite like a jilbab but looked like a regular suit jacket, and the screener asked me to take it off. I told her I couldn’t because I only had a sleeveless blouse on underneath, but unfortunately I reached into my coat as I said that, I guess thinking I could try to show her somehow, and a look of true fear came over her face – I must have looked like I was reaching into my coat for a weapon. I felt awful about that all day. At any rate, they called for a “female assist” and put me to the side in that little plexiglas cubicle, and when the female assist came the first thing she said was, “Oh that’s part of her religious thing” and waved me right through after wanding me.

  8. Musa Maguire

    March 24, 2008 at 1:24 PM

    The waiting at the door of the plane treatment is nice because you get to skip the lines. It is also nice how they make the interrogation feel like a conversation because then it is like you made a new friend…at least until they find the souvenir Moroccan dagger and Chinese “gunpowder” tea in your luggage.

  9. Anas

    March 24, 2008 at 2:59 PM

    I love and totally appreciate the plane door treatment, you skip all the lines and they make you feel very special.

  10. Malik

    March 24, 2008 at 3:50 PM

    You know, you’re complaints won’t sound like the whining of spoiled brats once you strongly advocate that non-muslims be allowed into Mecca.

  11. JC

    March 24, 2008 at 3:51 PM

    The direct link to the TRIP program is:

    http://www.dhs.gov/trip

    I understand they got so many requests for removal from the list that this program is extremely backed up.

    When in these situations it is important to write down the name and employee ID number of EVERYONE who meets with you. When they know you’re taking notes on who exactly they are and what exactly they’re saying, they tend not to go to extremes in their questioning.

  12. Hid

    March 24, 2008 at 4:15 PM

    hmm I am very very curious about VIP treatment our Shayookhs get on airports..Waiting for them to shed some light on the issue!

  13. Abu Hafsa

    March 24, 2008 at 4:52 PM

    I had a strange incident travelling to London on Continental a few years ago.

    As the aircraft doors were about to be shut, an airport security guy came walking right upto me and said, “Excuse me sir, but a lady lost her handbag, could you please stand up?”. I obliged, he lifted my seat cushion up, patted the seat, and then left abruptly. I immediately realized what had happened – and boy was I mad – since every one in the plane was looking at me! This ‘alert’ agent had likely seen me praying at the terminal and thought I was offering my last rites lol!

    Any way, I complained to the flight attendant and the airline rep on landing. Of course, they maintained their story that a lady *had* lost her handbag.

    Any way, it’s funny that if that guy was even a little smart, he would’ve looked under the seat or under some other seats to at least make it look authentic! It was so obvious he’d come after me.

    I still wonder what he thought I was hiding under my seat cushion?!

  14. Muhammad

    March 25, 2008 at 3:59 AM

    Jazakallah for this post – I really needed this.

    I’m planning a trip to USA, insha Allah, and was worried about exactly the sort of incidents mentioned here. I’ve been falling behind on morning/evening izkaar and insha Allah I’ll try to make it a habit. Of course it’s a good idea to learn them by heart instead of carrying around a little book of izkaar in your pocket and give Mr. Immigration Man an excuse to photocopy it.

  15. ibn 'abd al-wadud

    March 25, 2008 at 6:28 AM

    I dont feel I would be able to patient if this ever happened to me. Me Allah save us from such humuliation

  16. affad shaikh

    March 25, 2008 at 7:35 PM

    Salaam,

    I am the civil rights coordinator for CAIR Los Angeles.

    I can only directly assist people in Southern California but I can help people calling from other places.

    I have a person who did the TRIP process last year 17 times. after the 18th time he had no hassle. I have another guy who did the TRIP process once and he had no problems.

    They are not back logged, if they are they haven’t told me and I meet with them on a regular basis. I was involved in setting up this program through the FBI meetings we have in Los Angeles.

    I would encourage people to LET CAIR (me) know. I have other things I can assist people with if they fly out of LAX, or back into LAX.

    Read this article in InFocus which covers this issue:

    http://www.infocusnews.net/content/view/16890/392/

    You can reach me at 714-776-1847 ask for Affad tell them its a flying while muslim case.

  17. Yasir Qadhi

    March 25, 2008 at 10:07 PM

    Salaam Alaikum

    Some more practical tips:

    1- Always be extra polite to your ‘handlers’. Since I get routinely stopped, I can tell you from experience that if you are nice with them, they are cordial with you. If you are irritated with them, they typically are cold with you. Its generally not your ‘handlers’ fault that you are there in the first place, hence there is no reason to be rude to him. In fact there is little that he can do to expedite your process (unless it really is a racist guy who pulled you out in the first place).

    2) Go mentally prepared to spend another hour in the ‘interrogation room’. If you expect it, it becomes easier to handle it!

    3) Take some reading material and sit down for a quite read. One of the most difficult things to do is just sit and wait, not knowing what and when something will happen. Relax. Bring an interesting book and appreciate that you have some quite time to read it.

    4) Tell your ride in advance that there is a strong possibility (in my case, 100 % strong) that you will be detained, hence he should wait for you for at least x amount of hours (you know your situation best). Also make sure you have his contact number so that you can call when you do get out.

    5) Appreciate the fact that this is ALL that’s happening to you, and compare this with what our predecessors had to face in Makkah.

    6) If you are a da’i or going for Islamic reasons, thank Allah that He is testing you with something that you can (easily) bear, and ask Him to save you from that which you cannot bear. Realize the prophets before you were tested with much more, and yet were much more patient than you will ever be.

    7) This doesn’t mean that you resign to this clear humiliation. Fight for your rights from within the system, and leave the rest to Allah.

    Yasir

  18. affad

    March 25, 2008 at 10:56 PM

    Any reading material you take will be taken, and photocopied if you get agents who really dont care for your rights. I know that this has happened to several imams in Southern California, where Imams have even offered to give them their books so as not to hassle with them photocopying cover to cover.

    I know its common practice now (though not legal) for them to say that they want to copy hard drives on lap tops- even if it is your works (businesses have changed policy not allowing their associates to carry company laptops with them or take out hard drives), they also have taken cell phones and gotten numbers and addresses off there.

    I think people need to know there rights and be aggressive in protecting them. I will get information to cover things that the ACLU advises my clients I work with to do, and post a link here in the future. But the idea of not keeping address books, books of any sort, any papers in your wallet etc should be followed because while they wait for clearance from Washington DC they will find things to occupy themselves with.

    You generally have different “handlers” in the process. Often times the names you want to remember are those of the people asking questions. Those are people you want to report to CAIR since we file complaints with DHS Civil Rights department on treatment.

    Also remember acceptable questions are acceptable but cross the line, when they start asking about religious views, political views, who you were meeting with, why you fly so frequently, how often you pray, which masjid you pray at, what your kids are studying at college etc. If they care to find this information out they should contact your attorney, if you dont have one, ask them if they are being interrogated and ask them if they are charging you with something, if not then tell them they can give you their number and you will have an attorney get in touch with them to help answer these questions.

    Everything you say to a federal agent is “on the record” and if you miss something or forget something and dont answer appropriately they can use that against you and that (perjury) carries a minimum 7 years (i believe) sentence. Protect your rights by knowing them.

  19. Muslim

    March 26, 2008 at 12:28 AM

    Malik, what is your malfunction little boy?

  20. Amad

    March 26, 2008 at 9:53 AM

    Affad, jazakAllahkhair for the information.

    If you have an article or a piece that covers some of the basics that you have mentioned regarding what to say and not say, or what is a legitimate to be asked or not asked… I think many of us could use that kind of information, and we can post it here inshallah

    w/s

  21. Solomon2

    March 26, 2008 at 4:01 PM

    This post contains much-needed information about clearing people from the watchlist. So many people’s names are similar, it really creates unnecessary difficulties.

    I should emphasize the importance of avoiding prohibited items, even something so innocuous as a piece of fresh fruit. If you’re lucky they’ll make you eat it then and there; if you’re unlucky, you’ll be surrounded and questioned. And none of this has anything to do with terrorism!

  22. Sunie

    March 26, 2008 at 4:47 PM

    Malik. There is a big difference between disallowing someone from entering your house, and permitting them, only to humiliate them when they arrive. We are lawful citizens of this land and are here with lawful permission.

  23. ibn insaan

    March 26, 2008 at 7:19 PM

    do they have lists like this in the uk, and if so du think you could tell us how we can get of them?

  24. affad

    March 27, 2008 at 2:20 AM

    What i can tell you is that the UK and the US law agency’s are buddy buddy. Infact the “racial/religious mapping” happening over in the UK is what the LAPD Mapping was based off of last winter.

    I would not be surprised if there are lists in the UK, but its worse for Muslims coming into the US. I have had numerous situations where Muslims from Europe who are citizens of Germany and the UK were stopped, denied entry, kept like common criminals, strip searched and sent back on their tabs and basically denied entry to the US for good. They must now apply for a visa through the US embassy, however, no visa will be given because once you get denied your visa waiver you have a stigma of suspicion that can not be cleared in any way yet. I know one brother whose family will be suing the government, but I am not certain how that will play out. I am optimistic iA.

  25. Abu Anwar

    March 27, 2008 at 9:09 AM

    Ask any palestinian about the VIP treatment & they can tell you mannnnny mannnnny stories about the Israeli treatment on the boarders.
    the US government learned from the best how to realy herass it’s own citizens & others of muslim heratge .
    I myself have been through it countless times & the more you complain the longer they keep you, but still I do complain,screem & shout at them because you realy can’t control your emotion after a long trip.
    May Allah protect & free us from all the evil out there.

  26. Pingback: Collateral Damage: The DHS Watch-List » Islam on My Side

  27. nuqtah

    April 6, 2008 at 4:18 AM

    assalamu alaikum JzakAllahu khair for this piece.

  28. Muslamics

    April 6, 2008 at 11:54 PM

    Muslamics Post- Price of Being Muslim- […TRIPS from DHS off the ground. (MuslimMatters has a good discussion)…]

  29. Neela Chakravartula

    April 22, 2008 at 8:30 PM

    Hello,

    I am an attorney at the Asian Law Caucus in San Francisco. The Asian Law Caucus and Stanford Law School Immigrants Rights Clinic are documenting instances in which Northern California residents have been subject to intrusive questioning by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents when returning to the country after traveling abroad.

    Please contact us if you have experienced excessive or repeated searches or questioning or believe you were singled out by Customs agents because of your ethnicity, religion, or other similar reason. We would also like to hear your story if your company or organization has been affected by Customs and Border Protection policies. Please call the Asian Law Caucus at (415) 848-7714 or email neelac@asianlawcaucus.org. For further information about our work on this issue, please visit http://www.asianlawcaucus.org.

  30. Alia

    May 7, 2008 at 5:50 PM

    Assalaamu `alaykum Dr. Ali,

    I didn’t see this article sooner but I’m glad I read it now. It’s usually exactly as you described in the article however the most recent time I traveled internationally they did something strange. When I was in the security line, after putting my bags on the belt suddenly all the workers present called out BRAVO! They continued to do this in an echo fashion until the “Bravo!” shout reached the line at the farthest end. Then they pulled me and other Muslims aside and took us to the cubicle. I politely asked them what that shouting was all about and they said it’s something called “CODE BRAVO” which is a “security measure.” What exactly that meant I never found out, but we did come to learn that “Code Bravo” was another way of saying the Muslims would be missing their flight.
    And, of course, after being questioned/searched/and made to wait they promised us we wouldn’t be missing flight. So when they finally let us go we ran to the terminal and found out the flight was long gone.

    So if you ever hear a Code Bravo (and I pray that you don’t!) then ‘bravo’ to you -you get the chance to practice your patience.. :)

    BarakAllahu feek for the helpful information and I look forward to reading more from you on Muslim Matters!

    `Alia

  31. A Friend

    March 29, 2009 at 7:46 AM

    Bismillah. Here is a good, 15-minute video (available in different languages) put together by Muslim Advocates in regards to when questioned by government officials at one’s home or at the airport. Scenarios include what not to do, and what to do.

    *Warning*: There is some music throughout the presentation.

    http://www.muslimadvocates.org/get_involved/got_rights.html

  32. klm

    April 30, 2009 at 3:04 PM

    I am not muslim but I’d just like to say that YES every last detail of this article is completely true. Somehow I ended up on a watch list (I am a 22 year old caucasion) and this is the ordeal I go through every time I re enter the US. It is so stressful. I also notice that around 80% of the people I sit in the holding area with are always Muslim.

  33. Mike

    September 5, 2009 at 11:41 AM

    Well, there are a couple issues. First I go back to my personal history. All asians looked the same to me for the longest time. Then after stationed in Japan, just minor subtle facial feature differences and getting a knack for the language, i can pick out a japanese among a crowd within a single minute of every day. But remember what I had said before that, that they all looked the same. Now lets move on to ketchup. lol! Yall remember when they came out with different colors?? I dont care what color it is, if it aint red ketchup, im not eating it, eyes closed or not. I have ALWAYS known ketchup to be RED, not GREEN! Now, all that said onto the sad part. From a white boy’s perspective, we just see and hear the media most of the time. The media has made mid-easterners a threat to us here. and im sorry, i cannot say that it does not have some sort of justification, lets be honest here. OPEC’s high oil prices knowing that we are in an economic slump, they didnt give a rats rear end, we dont have to be reminded of 9/11, while i personally put a lot of blame on the Bush administration, BOTH of them, all the media saw was what the us govt issued, and that was the “supposed” war on terror, etc. every day for weeks and months you saw yet another mid-easterner HOMICIDE-bombing killing lots of innocents, terrorist leaders constantly issuing statements about how they are gonna purge the world of us westerners, etc etc. Now, lets go back into americann history. I know people who are still all against the japanese for their wrongdoings in WWII, even my own father dislikes any and all Cuban simply because he was born and raised in Miami during the cold war era, and there are MANY that are like that, not just my dad. We are not all perfect, we all have our opinions, I am no better than the rest, while i LOVE culture and diversity, I practically embrace it, I am the FIRST one to stand in line to speak out against faggots (gay people). I just dont believe it to be right, I am actually a strong believer in evolution and procreation, and this simply just goes 100 percent against that grain. So now that ive strayed off topic, lets go back to WWII and the japanese haters. That war ended in 1945. 64 (SIXTY FOUR) years later, there are still die hard cold HATERS against the japanese. I was just in hawaii not that long ago, and they still have that cold joke where the japanese guy ask the american in present day “uh, excuse me sir, where is the Arizona Memorial” to which the american replies “back over there… where you left it!!” I guess this long story really short, the media mixed in with the government and the actual thousands of crimes that DID in fact occur, chances are, there is ALWAYS going to be some hate toward that. If you want the hate to dwindle, the violence has to cease immediately to start. and then you pretty much have to wait a lifetime or better, and hope that grandparents sstories dont rub too hard on their grandchildren to the point where they hate too. It is a time thing.. a REALLY LONG time thing. In the meantime, I AM actually glad the govt has stepped in to try and curtail unneeded and unnecessary hate and discrimination. I was a hater too, listened to nothing but the media. I drove a semi truck. You always see at least one or two middle-easterners wearing turbines having difficulty with the redneck truck stop personnel. I had my own personal hate, even as adults, we still learn new stuff everyday, but i kept to myself. But I tell ya what, it was about 3 am, I was so tired i couldnt sleep so i was sitting in a 24 hour truck stop restaurant. Now, we all know about how many people are in any restaurant that time in the morning. Came across this guy, his name was bakeer or bakir, not sure how u spell it. We got to talking, minutes turned into 3 hours, just carrying on casual conversation. So I finally got back into my truck about 5 or 6 in the morning and still couldnt sleep. I was laying back in my bed in the truck and it all came crashing down on me at once. I was 24 at the time, and i still admit, I cried for about an hour for the HATE that i let build inside me. It was at that time, I realized they put on their pants just as i do, they still take showers, have a need to eat, have their restless nights… they really are NOT all that different than i am!!!

    But, until the world can see that, I think this website has pretty good details on filing complaints and such and keeping it professional. I just hope that one day… ONE DAY…. the world can wake up as well and as quickly as I have.

    Good website guys and gals!

  34. Pingback: Yasir Qadhi | The Lure of Radicalism and Extremism Amongst Muslim Youth | MuslimMatters.org

  35. Pingback: The Lure of Radicalism and Extremism Amongst Muslim Youth | 1st Ethical Charitable Trust

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