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Muslims interrogated for praying

1st Jul 2016

Kowther Elmi

A passenger alerted security on June 16 at Wellington station in Medford, Massachusetts, US, after witnessing “suspicious activity” on the train, which turned out to be two Muslim passengers praying.

Heavily armed Transit Police approached the two Muslims at the station and after interrogation found that all the Muslims had done on the train was praying.

Superintendent Richard Sullivan claimed the incident as a “non-event” and that the passenger was suspicious because the duo “appeared Middle Eastern” and were involved in “suspicious activity”.

Even though General Manager of the station, Frank DePaola, claimed that the Islamophobic incident took place due to “heightened sensitivity on everyone’s part” following the Orlando shooting, in reality it was due to the national policy of “See something, Say something”. This policy is about raising awareness of terrorism and related crimes.

The next day an Islamophobic graffiti was found on a Red Line train stating, “Muslim trash, go home!”

Former Boston Police Commissioner, Ed Davis, said that these “heightened suspicions” are “unfortunate but understandable” and advised American Muslims “if it’s time to pray, pick a place that isn’t so closely watched”.

Spokesman of Council on American-Islamic Relations Ibrahim Hooper, (CAIR), said: “It’s really up to the person who makes the initial report to make a report based on actual evidence and not on prejudice.”

DePaola maintained that the incident was “resolved in a very gentle manner”. Hooper asserted that CAIR would investigate to ensure transit cops followed the proper procedure as “praying should not be regarded as suspicious”.

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