Muslim Man Detained At Ohio Hotel After He Was ‘Mistaken’ For A Member Of ISIS | THE POLITICUS

Muslim Man Detained At Ohio Hotel After He Was ‘Mistaken’ For A Member Of ISIS

Being Muslim in America is downright dangerous these days, as one man in Ohio found out recently discovered. Thanks to the Islamophobia of a hotel desk clerk and her family, a man wearing traditional clothing soon found himself face down on the ground while surrounded by police with guns drawn, all because he looked too Muslimy.

Ahmed al-Menhali, a businessman from Abu Dhabi, was dressed in robes and a head scarf when he was mistaken for a member if ISIS by a front desk clerk at the Fairfield Inn and Suites in Avon, Ohio. The clerk texted her family to tell them about the scary brown guy who came into the hotel searching for a room to rent. Obviously, with suspicious activity like that, he had to be a terrorist. The clerk’s sister and father then called 911 and reported that there was a man in the hotel lobby talking on multiple cell phones in Arabic and “pledging allegiance or something to ISIS.”

She went off and texted her sister and said I pledged my allegiance to Isis,” al-Menali said through a friend while hospitalized.

Police showed up in full force with their guns drawn. They pinned the terrified man to the ground, even though he complied with all their commands immediately, and placed him in handcuffs while they searched his wallet. Body cam video from the incident has now been released. Al-Menhali, who speaks very little English, can be heard desperately trying to reason with the officers.

“What is this?” “I’m tourist,” and “Not good,” said al-Menhali while he was on the ground.

“No, it’s not good,” replies the officer snidely.

It was finally determined that al-Menhali had no weapons, posed no threat, had said nothing about ISIS and had done nothing wrong, besides the aforementioned looking too Muslimy thing, of course.

After al-Menhali was allowed to get up from the ground, he suddenly collapsed onto the pavement. It turns out that he was in the United States to receive treatment for a heart condition at Cleveland Clinic after suffering a stroke. That afternoon, he suffered another “light stroke” and was hospitalized. 

While undergoing treatment, al-Menali had been renting an apartment near the hospital since April. However, the landlord asked him to find other accommodations during the week of the Republican National Convention so the apartment could be used by the RNC, which would be why he was looking for hotel rooms.

Julia Shearson, executive director of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), said the incident was “shocking” and called for police to undergo “diversity training.”

The fact that the police referred to his clothing in their report as a criminal indicator is very concerning.

Police need more diversity training. This is shocking to have happened in Avon, one of the most affluent and suburban neighbourhoods outside of Cleveland.

Avon officials have since apologized for the incident. Richard Bosley, the chief of the Avon police, said, “You should not have been put in that situation like you were.” 

The mayor, Bryan K. Jensen, told Mr. Menhali, “There were some false accusations made against you, and those are regrettable.” Jensen also said that the situation is “frustrating on our end” because “it could’ve been tragic.”

Guns were drawn,” the mayor said. “When you make a false accusation, you put that person’s life in danger.

Mr. Menhali, he added, “was 100 percent innocent.”

“I think it’s important to the Muslim community and the rest of the world to know that we care and it’s not something that we take lightly,” Jensen continued.

Speaking through an interpreter, al-Menali said he appreciates the apology and it’s a “good first step,” but it is not enough.

Ahmed greatly appreciates the overture by coming to meet him on a holiday weekend. He appreciates their sincere apology, this is a positive and very important first step.
However, he still has a lot of unanswered questions and concerns [as] to how this could have happened in the first place.
Shearson stated that cultural education is vital to stopping incidents like this from happening.
“I believe the clerk had little cultural training to where she called her family to make it something outrageous,” Shearson said. “The only behavior that was unusual was the clerk’s, not Ahmed. It’s the lack of cultural education.”
The United Arab Emirates issued a warning to its citizens on Sunday, urging men not to wear the white robes, headscarf and headband of the national dress when travelling.
For citizens travelling outside the country, and in order to ensure their safety, we point out not to wear formal dress while travelling, especially in public places.

You can watch the body cam video of this incident here:


Featured image via video screen capture

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