Islamic South Africans refused entry into USA
This weekend Professor Adam Habib became the latest islamic south african to be denied entry into the united states upon arriving at JFK, despite being on legitimate business, and holding a legitimate visa. Professor Habib is the director of the Human Sciences Research Council’s Democracy and Governance research program. He suffered the indignity of being interrogated, having his visa revoked, and being escorted back to an aircraft by armed guards. He said he hadn’t experienced treatment like that since apartheid.
Professor Habib’s ordeal followed that of Islamic scholar Faziur Rahman Azmi, who was detained on Friday at San Francisco International, questioned for hours and then deported. Azmi had travelled to the US frequently without trouble, and was going there last week on the invitation of a local Muslim organization to participate in an Eid celebration.
So, how much confidence can we really have in the US’s procedures for denying access to the country for suspected terrorists? One of their first lines of defence is the “no fly list”, a list of 44,000 names against which your name is compared every single time you enter or fly within the united states. Based on your name registering against the no fly list, you can be detained, deported, or even arrested. It’s very interesting then to find that CBS’s 60 Minutes discovered that 14 of the 19 dead 9/11 hijackers’ names are still on the list. As is Francois Genoud, a financier of Arab terrorism… who has been dead for 10 years. Some extremely common names like Robert Johnson are also on the list… and because they don’t check against birth dates or even basic physical descriptions, a large number of Robert Johnsons get detained unnecessarily. It should be pretty obvious when a white guy with that name comes through that it’s not the Robert Johnson, because he’s a 60-year-old black man. But not even that simple a check is done before strip searching an innocent person.
And speaking of innocent people, let’s take Canadian Mahad Arar, who was sent to Syria and tortured for 10 months before being released. He is completely innocent of any charges against him, and it turned out that the tip-off that had started the whole thing was false in the first place. His name has been put on the no fly list. He couldn’t even fly to the US recently to accept a human rights award. Because the US authorities won’t take his name off the no fly list, and have not even apologised for shipping him off to Syria to be tortured .
Yes, that’s right, the US outsources their torturing to Syria now, so that they can claim that no one is tortured in the united states. I wish I was joking.