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.
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?
- Flight Risk? (alumni.stanford.edu)
- Rahinah Ibrahim, Former Stanford Doctoral Student in Court, Says She Was Mistakenly Put on “No-Fly” List (nbcbayarea.com)
- Former Stanford Doctoral Student Challenges Government’s No-Fly List (blogs.kqed.org)