By Karema Akifa Saleh
Profiling of Muslims in Americas has become a serious issue that affects many Muslims in the United States, but also those traveling, visiting, and studying in the United States. In previous times racial profile was the main focus. Currently, profiling has become synonymous to islamaphobia, religious intolerance and bigotry against Muslims as a whole, mainly those of Arab, Pakistani, and African American descent, however profiling affects many Americans, even those that do not fit the stereotype. The Patriot Act has institutionalized profiling of Muslims post 9/11. There have been many cases of harassment in Airports justifying the newly coined phase “flying while Muslims.”
Flying while Muslim, is an expression referring to the problems Muslim passengers on airplanes and in airports face in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks. It derives from a previous expression driving while black, which similarly humourise the racial profiling of African Americans in this country. There is nothing humorous about the numerous deportations, and the modern day witch hunt to entrap, humiliate and harass Muslims – many without provocation.
Democracy Now! first covered the case of a nine-year-old Canadian boy held in a US immigration jail along with his Iranian-born parents. His parents had been on their way to seek asylum in Canada, when their plane was forced to make an emergency landing in Puerto Rico. US officials took them into custody and sent them to the T. Don Hutto Family Detention Center in Taylor, Texas. Kevin was one of an estimated 200 immigrant children being held there.
Sami Al-Arian, a respected leader, activist, and computer science professor (previous at the University of Florida) has been in prison for the past four years; accused of being a leader of the "Palestinian Islamic Jihad" (considered a militant group in the U.S.A) Secret evidence (under the Patriot Act) was used against this father and Palestinian activist, never the less, he was found not guilty over a year ago of 17 charges against him, he still remaining in jail.
The U.S government is unwilling to release Dr Arian despite the unconstitutionality of his incarceration. He has been in nine different jails subjected to horrible conditions. It appears to be a modern day political lynching against an Arab American activist whose political speech happens to be unpopular in the main stream.
This case has been one of the most closely watched post 9/11 cases in the United States. The injustice is setting a precedent of what is to come, not only for political free speech and profiling of Muslims or Arab Americans, but any American who speaks out against the state of Israel’s oppressive policies against the Palestinians, corporate corruption, the war, or governmental practices domestically and internationally. The world looks on as the U.S talks about democracy in places like Iraq, yet does not practice it at home.
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