FRESNO, Calif. – A German businessman of Syrian descent who wanted to surprise his daughter with a holiday visit was detained for four days in a Las Vegas holding cell before being sent back home without explanation.
A civil rights group called the U.S. authoritiesâ€™ treatment of Majed Shehadeh a case of anti-Muslim discrimination.
Shehadeh, 62, flew from Frankfurt to Las Vegas last Thursday, hoping to meet with his wife and drive to Bakersfield, California, where his American-born daughter had just gotten news she had passed the California bar exam. Instead, he wound up shivering in a holding cell without ever being told why he couldnâ€™t enter the country, he said.
. . . The detention follows a series of similar incidents involving Muslim passengers, according to the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
In October, an Islamic scholar from South Africa was denied entry at San Francisco International Airport. A month later, six imams were taken off a US Airways flight from Minneapolis to Phoenix after a passenger reported overhearing them criticize the U.S. war in Iraq.
â€œOverall these cases send a message that Muslims are second-class citizens who can be detained and kept from their families,â€ said Affad Shaikh, a civil rights coordinator for CAIR.
. . . Once in the holding facility, Shehadeh said he was stripped of his shoes, jacket and prescribed heart medicine and locked in a cell with about 25 other detainees. There was one toilet in the middle of the room, and access to a telephone was extremely limited, he said.
On Sunday, he was released and sent back to Frankfurt on the same charter airline.
Shehadehâ€™s daughter Majida Shehadeh said she was glad her father made it home, but feared he wouldnâ€™t be able to return to visit.
â€œI used to be happy I moved here,â€ she said. â€œBut now I canâ€™t wait for when I leave here. The mentality is not what it was like beforehand.â€
I don’t blame Majida for how she feels. America has a racist government which treated her father in a shameful way. It is wrong (and should be illegal) to hold someone for 4 days without telling them the reason or giving them the chance to defend themselves. This is the kind of treatment one would expect from a third world country, not the United States of America. The USA claims it is a bastion of “Liberty and justice for all” but that is a lie.