Anesthesiologist and Muslim anti-radicalism activist Dr. Bilal Rana was detained in Houston’s airport after passengers reported him to authorities because they thought he “looked suspicious.”
Rana was flying home from attending a medical conference in Newark, NJ, when a passenger on the flight instantly profiled him and reported him to authorities. The flight crew shut off the plane’s wireless internet during the flight, and when they landed in Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport, Rana was greeted by the FBI.
He was interrogated by the police and FBI agents for several hours, after which he was finally released. Rana spoke about the November 15 incident in an editorial published by Time Magazine this week to address those who saw him as a threat simply because of his skin color:
“I hope you never know what it feels like to have a group of police officers single you out. I hope you never know what it is like to be frisked while standing in front of a plane full of passengers. I hope you never suffer the embarrassment of watching mothers hold their children tightly as you walk by them.
I hope you never feel the humiliation of having your belongings confiscated out of your hands, or being surrounded by cops who refer to you as ‘the subject’ on their walkie talkies. I hope you never have to, for the first time in your life, sit in the back of a police car.
I hope you get a chance to explain who you are before you are judged. I’m not your enemy. I’m your biggest ally.”
He also spoke about the incident to ABC where he stated that he was not angry at the passengers, but was embarrassed and humiliated when police swarmed in, frisked him, and took his belongings.
— Houston News (@abc13houston) December 8, 2015
“It was embarrassing, very embarrassing that I could be assumed to be that type of person,” Rana said. “It hurts, but I don’t profess to be a victim. I understand law enforcement has to do their job and I respect and support them. I always have. I recognize this as an opportunity to any Muslims out there, I’d want them to be patient, be graceful, rise above it.”
Rana still does not blame law enforcement officials for the circumstances that led them to treat him with suspicion.
“My intention is to try to bridge this gulf between Muslims and non-Muslims,” Rana said. “We need to talk to each other.”
[Raw Story] Feature image via screen grab