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UAE Urges Citizens to Avoid Traditional Clothing When Traveling Abroad

Source : | 4 July 2016 |  World | 435 views


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By Tatiana Flowers

Rabat – The United Arab Emirates Foreign Ministry adviseits citizens to avoid wearing traditional clothing while traveling abroad, after an Emirati man dressed in a kandura and a headscarf was mistaken for a member of ISIS and arrested by police in Avon, Ohio.

Authorities arrested Ahmed al-Menhaliat gunpoint, after the sister of a suspicious hotel clerk called police and told them she had heard him on the phone pledging allegiance to ISIS.

Menhali, a 41-year-old businessman travelled to the United States from Abu Dhabi to receive medical treatment for a recent stroke.  He was booking a hotel room at Fairfield Inn and Suites when police were called.

Police responded the call from the clerk’s sister that said there was a man in the lobby “in full head dress with multiple disposable phones, pledging his allegiance to ISIS,” according to The Independent.  The clerk’s father had also called police, urging them to come to the scene.

Just 10 minutes after Menhali’s arrest, police realized their mistake and removed Menhali’s handcuffs.  But just after the situation deescalated, he suffered a panic attack and collapsed.  Police immediately rushed him to a hospital.

“They were brutal with me,” Menhali told The National.“They pressed forcefully on my back.  I had several injuries and bled from the forceful nature of their arrest.”

Cleveland’s news station WEWS released a police body camera video showing the entire arrest.

Police can be heard screaming, “There he is! On the ground!  Do it now!  Grab his hands! Cuff him up!”During the footage, Menhali replies,”Don’t do this.  I’m a tourist.  This is not good.”

Activists say this is an instance of the heightened Islamophobia that comes directly after terror attacks carried out by Muslims.  In this case, they refer to the recent attacks in Bangladesh and Orlando.

The Avon police chief and Mayor have since apologized, adding that their policies are being reviewed.

“No one from the police department wished to disrespect you,” they addressed Menhali. “That was not the intent of any of the actions of our officers.  It is a very regrettable circumstance that occurred for you. You should not have been put in that situation like you were.  The woman who made the false claim could still face charges,” it added.

Julia Shearson, the executive director of the Council on American- Islamic Relations said she had visited Mr. Menhali in the hospital who is “traumatized and can’t speak right now,” she said.

“The great irony is he was looking for [another] hotel room because the apartment he was staying in was being used for the Republican National Committee.”

According to the Independent, Mr. Menhali told The Independent, “Please tell Donald Trump to stop hating Mexicans and Muslims. Please tell Donald Trump to stop hating people.”

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