Terrorist? Not!

Rahina Ibrahim's plight to clear her good name. Credits: Krzysztof Domaradzki/Stanford Magazine November/December 2013

Rahina Ibrahim’s plight to clear her good name. Credits: Krzysztof Domaradzki/Stanford Magazine November/December 2013

I have been following the news on the nearly nine-year odyssey of Rahina Ibrahim’s efforts to clear her good name.

In January 2005, she had gone to the San Francisco International Airport with her 14-year old daughter to travel back to her native country, Malaysia, for a presentation of her doctoral research at a conference sponsored by Stanford University. She had been living in the Bay Area while pursuing her doctoral degree in Architecture at the university.

Instead of an uneventful ticketing and check-in, Ms. Ibrahim, who was only 10 weeks post-hysterectomy, was handcuffed and placed in a jail cell for two hours. She was released after with not much explanation.

Since then, Ms. Ibrahim has been barred from returning to the United States. Her visa had been cancelled “under rules barring entry to the United States to anyone with known of suspected connections to terrorism.” She’s in the infamous “No-Fly List.” Yes, it sounds like a snake-filled pit where you barely cling to the crevices on the wall with your teeth, fingers and toes lest you fall into the pool of dancing slither-slathers.

We hear a lot of acts or disrespect, violation, invasion, more disrespect performed on us, all in the name of Homeland Security.  Have we become  prisoners in the "Home of the Brave and Land of the Free?" photo credit Bill Koplitz/FEMA/Wikimedia Commons

We hear a lot of acts or disrespect, violation, invasion, more disrespect performed on us, all in the name of Homeland Security. Have we become prisoners in the “Home of the Brave and Land of the Free?” photo credit Bill Koplitz/FEMA/Wikimedia Commons

Was it her hijab? Her Muslim faith? Her national origin? Her nightmare had only begun.

It looks like Ms. Ibrahim’s plight is not unique. There have been thousands of people wrongly placed in “the list.”  But, it also looks like her case may be the first to go to trial, in spite of the Feds default blanket excuse of protecting “national security interests.”

We will continue to root for you, Rahina. By doing so, we are rooting for the truth, what’s right, what’s fair. And, what’s just—if this is still at all possible in our NSA-Big-Brother-Big-Business-Ruled world.

P.S. If a mother, a renowned scholar, and an active advocate of community collaboration can be violated this way, what about the rest of us ordinary people? Do we now have to actively prove our innocence all the time?

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6 Responses to Terrorist? Not!

  1. Pingback: To Ms. Ibrahim: We Are Sorry! | Not the Family Business!

  2. That is a horrible event. It saddens me that a country priding itself of freedom and equality also is the culprit of everything dark and evil. Reading this scared me too. So, yes, what happens to the rest of us ordinary Americans? What if one day we fall victims to such similar situations? I hope and pray those wrongly accused will be set free and those who wrongly accused them take courage to acknowledge it.

  3. The Hook says:

    It just goes to show you: if you think you have it rough… think again.

  4. Madhu says:

    Shocking indeed Maryann. I know of several friends who have been harassed by US airport/ customs officials, just because their names set off alarm bells. I understand the paranoia, especially post 9/11. But I think overzealous officials take it too far sometimes. We have a running joke around here about not giving children – Muslim or otherwise – names ending with ‘Ali’, if they ever intend visiting the US :-)

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