After being stopped for three consecutive weekends straight, I asked one of the TSA workers who now knew me by name why he thought I was being stopped. “You’re young. You’re male. And you’re Muslim. Those three things don’t go so well together right now.”
I didn’t really understand the impact it was having on me until my wife and I traveled together for the first time for our honeymoon. We went to St. Lucia and our entry point back in the United States was through Miami. As we got up to leave the plane, I told her to not get off with me, as I didn’t want her to somehow get detained as well. Two of our friends, Shala and Faraz, were going to be meeting us at the airport and Priya would hang out with them while I was being held.
She, of course, insisted on walking with me. We got out of the plane and no one was there to take me away. I assumed that it was because we were in Miami, and my usual entry point to the USA was through NYC when returning from an international visit. We then went through the customs check and I told her it might happen here, but then nothing happened. We then walked through the baggage claim, something I had not done without an escort for almost three years, and as we neared the exit I kept looking over my shoulder to see if someone was coming to stop me. We made it to the public area of the airport and Priya joked with me saying that she’s my good luck charm and it’s because I married her that I was not stopped. I responded by putting my arms around her, my head on her shoulder, and crying for the next few minutes.
Imam Khalid Latif, “Racial Profiling”
New Yorkers have long put up with discriminatory ‘stop-and-frisk’ searches. Now, the NYPD is demonising us as fanatical jihadists
Just as, every day, I pray for the safety of my family members who serve in the New York Police Department, now I also have to pray for safety and security of my community from the very agency that is legally bound to protect them. Recently, it has been revealed that New York’s police commissioner sat for a 90-minute interview during the making of The Third Jihad, a patently anti-Muslim film. Just as troubling, for months the commissioner and his staff played down both his involvement and the extent of the film’s viewing by cadets in training.
The level of obfuscation has shocked New Yorkers and left many wondering: what else might the NYPD be lying to us about? Let me tell you about a few policing methods that have left a bad taste in many diverse communities.
The NYPD has had a long standing history of bad policing in black and Latino communities. In 2010 alone, the NYPD engaged in more than 600,000 stop-and-frisks searches; 84% of those stopped were of black or Latino. Time and again, police officers have used force when stopping blacks or Latinos. Half of these stops have been cited as “furtive movements”, a label that portrays black and brown people as clandestine. The stop-and-frisk widespread problem that is racially discriminatory under the ostensible excuse that the practice is necessary in fighting crime. Sadly, this procedure has not proved to reduce crime or make the city any safer.
Another method deployed by the NYPD is subway bag searches, which were instituted in the wake of the July 2005 attempt to bomb London’s subways. NYC subway riders are “randomly” selected for search. The NYPD’s formula is, supposedly, to stop every 25th person. In 2009, the New York Civil Liberties Union filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of a Brooklyn man, Jangir Sultan, a 32-year-old native New Yorker who has been stopped and searched by police officers 21 times since the NYPD’s subway bag searches began. This is another policing method to date that has not foiled any subway rider plots or provided any leads; the only thing it has done is further perpetuate racial profiling.