MSNBC: Muslim with U.S. family is held, turned away — Authorities detain businessman of Syrian descent for four days in Las Vegas

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. authorities’ 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 couldn’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.

“Overall these cases send a message that Muslims are second-class citizens who can be detained and kept from their families,” 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.

Shehadeh’s daughter Majida Shehadeh said she was glad her father made it home, but feared he wouldn’t be able to return to visit.

“I used to be happy I moved here,” she said. “But now I can’t wait for when I leave here. The mentality is not what it was like beforehand.”

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.