The twinge of xenophobic racism that is making its way through American society made itself painfully clear in an embarrassing incident for our nation. Mehreen Faruqi, a member of the Australian Greens political party from New South Wales, was stopped by TSA during a visit to America – and was forced to endure some ridiculous racial profiling.
Dr. Faruqi, Australia’s first female Muslim Member of Parliament (MP) , was visiting the United States to partake in a fact-finding trip on drug reform laws (or lack thereof) when she was pulled out of the line in Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and taken into the back room to be interrogated, where they angrily fingerprinted her and asked her “where she got her Australian passport from” – implying that it was fake or stolen.
It was a callous show of disrespect towards a notable politician and esteemed academic from a closely allied nation. Dr. Faruqi was born in Pakistan and emigrated to Australia in 1992, where she earned a Ph.D in environmental engineering and was the Academic Director of the Master of Business and Technology Program at the University of New South Wales before she was elected to Parliament.
Understandably, she was not pleased with her treatment:
“Being asked how ‘we got’ Australian passports and then about my Pakistani history clearly points towards racial profiling, It is quite ridiculous, nerve wracking and scary to be treated so suspiciously for no reason and sent off to be interrogated. There is no excuse for treating people this way. I’ve come to the US to find out more about drugs policy reform and to meet family. To be treated with such hostility at Los Angeles airport is the last thing you expect.”
It just goes to show how baseless and detrimental the anti-Muslim policies that Trump and other Republicans want to institute truly are, and how much damage that the rampant anti-Muslim hate being propagated by Republican presidential candidates can really do to the health of our society and our international standing. It’s shocking that it might be difficult for Americans to understand that there are Muslims that live in other Western nations; or that they even might ascend to governance. We cannot allow our nation to descend into such rampant Islamophobia that we are harassing foreign dignitaries at airport checkpoints.
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Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.