Monday, January 16, 2006

Let Me See Your Papers

On Jan. 2 Badr Malik was detained at a border checkpoint near Niagara Falls. He and his family were returning home after a holiday visit with relatives in Toronto. Malik said his wife and four children watched as security guards patted him down and searched their van. He plans to file a report with the Council on American Islamic Relations, or CAIR. CAIR claims that since Sept. 11, 2001, Muslim Americans are being unjustly targeted as potential terrorists. They are upset because U.S. citizens attending the 2004 Reviving the Islamic Spirit convention in Toronto were interrogated, fingerprinted and photographed at the border. The New York Civil Liberties Union sought a court injunction to prohibit these lengthy security checks in 2005 but a federal judge in Buffalo, NY ruled against them. They are planning an appeal. Read my post about this here.

Malik is upset. He says the guards were nice to him but “it was just pure harassment.” His wife claims to have been transported back in time to the 1930s, “like in Germany.” Oh, the drama of it all. Mirroring the tactics of the Gestapo, the guards made him empty his pockets. They “looked at all the contents of my wallet,” then asked what items he was bringing into the United States, Malik said. Is there no end to their brutal interrogation tactics?

Could it be that as director of the Connecticut branch of the Council on American Islamic Relations, Malik has an axe to grind? Wouldn't a reasonable person expect to be caught up in this process just like those of us who travel frequently find happening at airports around the country? As the judge in NY said, Customs, "had reason to believe that these conferences would serve as meeting points for terrorists to exchange ideas and documents, coordinate operations, and raise funds intended for terrorist activities."

Malik admits he has crossed the border many times without incident. So why does he feel he's being targeted? I guess the opportunity to get publicity for CAIR's agenda was just too great to resist. Who cares if you smear law enforcement in the process?

Thanks to The Day.

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