July292012

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”
January302012
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