24 August, 2006

The new word is profiling

Would the world consider the same issue anti Semitic if it was a Jew in this case?

UAE student falls victim to profiling


By Bassma Al Jandaly And Abbas Al Lawati, Staff Reporters

Dubai: A UAE student was detained for 26 hours with his wife and three children at Los Angeles International Airport on Wednesday on the basis of yet to be revealed "suspicions," and got his US visa cancelled in the latest incident of singling out Arabs and Muslims in western airports for racial profiling.

Saif Khalifa Al Sha'ali, 26, a nephew of Mohammad Hussain Al Sha'ali, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, told Gulf News that he was kept in detention by officials from the US Department of Homeland Security upon landing at the airport.

Al Sha'ali is a doctoral candidate in information technology at Claremont University in Los Angeles and a long-time resident of the United States. He was returning to Los Angeles via London from a vacation in Dubai.

After the detention and rigorous interrogation, Al Sha'ali managed to call a UAE Embassy employee and left a message.

He was eventually released at 5am UAE time on Wednesday upon intervention from the embassy but his American residence visa was cancelled.

The family was put on a plane back to London.

"I was treated like a criminal," Al Sha'ali said. His children spent the night on the floor in a room in which they were locked with their mother.

The wife was questioned for hours separately. Al Sha'ali is still puzzled by the incident but stressed he would never go back to the United States but rather pursue his studies elsewhere.

Relatives described the incident as part of the paranoia that has gripped many Western countries following the uncovering of an alleged plot in the UK to blow up US-bound planes two weeks ago.

It also comes in the wake of several incidents in the West where Arabs were believed to have been racially profiled.

This week, two Muslim students were forced off a British flight in Spain because other passengers feared they were terrorists after hearing them speaking in what was claimed to be Arabic.

Earlier, a UAE national couple was stopped twice by a security guard before being allowed to ride on the London Eye. The couple claimed they were profiled for being Arabic speakers.

19 comments:

blogrosh said...

This is sad - sad because, there are a lot of ignorant, mindless, clueless bigots hired as immigration officers.

Most of them are given so much power with little or no oversight, hence feel they are free to purse and treat folks anyway they want - even to the extent of their f*****g mood swings!!

ColOman said...
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ColOman said...

The guy is a student and his kids and wife were with him too. What kind of profiling is that?

blogrosh said...
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Arabized said...

this is so sad.
people are on a witch hunt :/

Anonymous said...

I do not agree with racial profiling, but there has to be more to this story than, what is written in the Gulf News. They would not just cancel a visa, just for the heck of it, there had to be a reason.

Arabized said...

actually, there was no story behind it.

They saw a tan arab muslim entering the US from the Middle East.

Ignorance and racism was put into place there.

I hope he sues. sues big time.

Mme Cyn said...

Sorry, I don't buy it. Detain him? Yes. Put his wife and children under hotel/house arrest? Yes. Interrogate everybody. Uh huh. Cancel their residence visa? Sorry. I'm not saying he did anything wrong, but there had to have been some kind of tip off, some inappropriate/suspicious action from him, or some specific reason that this happened. There's something else there.

Anonymous said...

People are treated like this at Dubai airport everyday, so its so funny to hear people complaining about this issue. Shut your pie hole, if people entering your country have to put up with your stupid immigration questions and rudeness we DAMN have the right to freakin search anyone the way we want and when we want.Its not your right but privilege to enter the US so SHUT UP.

Tim Newman said...

On the subject of profiling an bigotry at airports, how easy is it for a Jew to enter the UAE?

excorrigibo said...

The immigration Officers in question must be jailed for a minimum of six years. Also, in future, anyone looking like he's of Arabic origin, or that his religion is Islam (however that is determined) should not be searched, delayed, asked to stand aside, questioned, have his visa cancelled (irrespective of what stamps may or may not be on his i49 form), or otherwise treated disrespectfully at any Western airport for any reason whatsoever.

As for the report, there's nothing more to it than what was in the Gulf News. He's an Arab and a Muslim, so he was harassed, treated badly and had his visa cancelled. The rest is pure speculation, so kindly desist.

Anonymous said...

>>Tim Newman said...
On the subject of profiling an bigotry at airports, how easy is it for a Jew to enter the UAE? <<

Very easy. I have Jewish friends who come and visit every year, sometimes twice a year and have never had a problem despite the fact they have Israeli stamps in their passport and she is a rabbi. They even visit the Jumeirah Mosque and got into a lively but friendly debate with one of the teachers there last year - I must admit that freaked me out a bit! But they get abuse trying to gt into the US becasue they have a Middle Eastern sounding name despite speaking with plummy English accents and both being Cambridge graduates!
Suzy

blogrosh said...
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blogrosh said...

Anon said

"People are treated like this at Dubai airport everyday, so it’s so funny to hear people complaining about this issue. Shut your pie hole”

Just because Dubai or the UAE does the same thing or even worse, does not make it RIGHT - does it? I have a lot more respect for the US, however, do not stand by its faults!

Ofcourse customs & immigration officers, have a legit right to do their job. However in A SANE, CIVILIZED, LEGIT AND GODDAMN HUMANE MANNER.

With all due respect, this BLOG is a forum for free debate - not a Republican moderated site, hence, please avoid or do away with your rather radical comments.

Anonymous said...

What happened is very very wrong. The difference is that if enough noise is made, the US guy may well be investigated. When this happens in the UAE, it's just tough luck.

truth and justice party said...

Airport Immigration Officers have the authority to cancel visas issued by the US Government?

Saif said...

The only reason the visa was canceled is because of my act of "withdrawing my application for entry to the US". However, they told me there that I would be banned for 5 years from reentering and refused to be given a visa for life if I chose to leave which apparently changed after the media coverage. Furthermore, they still are not able to give a reason for my that happened, even on a diplomatic level. The Immigrant officers have the right to detain you indefinitely too and you have no right to a lawyer. Those are some of the the reasons that made me choose to come back.

Saif said...

Excuse my numerous spelling and grammar mistakes in the previous post. I wrote it in a hurry.

ukite said...

Now the arabs will know how the other people suffer in most of the gulf countries. they are treated like slaves irrespective of their position and profession. arabs who lick white people's arse should be treated like this. visa on arrival for arabs, US or UK qualified people preferred in jobs. see how the whites treat u.
when these arabs insists on UK or US degrees, this will only be possible for non arabs because arabs are forbidden to enter these counties.

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