A 41 year old Emirati man visiting the US for medical treatment was handcuffed at gunpoint last Wednesday at the Fairfield Inn & Suites Cleveland Avon. His crime? “Looking” like a terrorist. According to NBC station WKYC:
On Wednesday, June 29, the Avon Police Department received a 911 call from the sister of a woman who was working as a desk clerk at the Fairfield Inn and Suites on Colorado Avenue.
The caller reported her sister told her there was a male in the lobby “in full head dress with multiple disposable phones pledging his allegiance to ISIS.”
Avon Police then received a second 911 call from the desk clerk’s father who also requested assistance on behalf of his daughter.
Except as it turned out the whole “pledging allegiance to ISIS” thing wasn’t actually true. My guess is that as far as some people are concerned, speaking Arabic is the same thing as pledging allegiance to ISIS. In other words, this guy’s only “crimes” were being in “full head dress,” and I suppose having multiple phones, which isn’t at all unusual for people traveling internationally.
Unfortunately the Emirati collapsed after the incident, though at least he did something cool at the hospital, per Middle East Eye:
A picture of Menhali carried by local news site The Chronicle showed him lying in a hospital bed holding up a poster of the Biblical Nativity scene, saying he had been dressed similarly to the three wise men of Christian tradition.
He added, in statements to The Chronicle, that white robes are typically only worn by wealthy people in the UAE, and that it would be very rare to see a suicide bomber or militant wearing such dress.
The last part is really key as well. If you’re going to be an ignorant, racist idiot, at least have some context for your ignorant, racist stupidity. As pointed out above, what he was wearing was more the “local” dress for the fairly well off than something worn by suicide bombers. We’ll have to hope that the poor desk clerk at the Fairfield Inn never makes it to the Dubai Mall.
Interestingly the Emirati foreign ministry is now advising citizens to not wear their national dress during travel, to avoid incidents like this:
The Emirati foreign ministry, in a statement posted on Twitter, urged citizens “not to wear national dress during their travel, especially in public areas, to ensure their own safety”.
Here’s a full video of the incident, including the 911 calls, the officers approaching the Emirati, and the suspect collapsing:
This stuff just infuriates me.
The guy was apologized to after the fact, though I’m not sure that cuts it:
Perhaps this is a bad story to stumble upon on the 4th of July… 😉