Muslim anti-radicalization advocate detained in Texas over ‘suspicious’ appearance

Bilal Rana © @MuslimPresident
An anti-radicalization advocate was detained by authorities at Houston’s Hobby Airport after passengers allegedly profiled him as suspicious based on his appearance.

Dr. Bilal Rana, an anesthesiologist, was returning home to Houston after a conference in New Jersey when he was taken into custody and interrogated. He told Houston-based channel KTRK that he believes he was reported because another passenger became suspicious of his appearance.

Rana is also the national president of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association, which works to present “the peaceful message of Islam by removing common misconceptions and misunderstandings.” He wrote to Time magazine after his ordeal.

“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,” he wrote

“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 finished.
He also said he was more humiliated by the incident than angered.
Rana has received apologies and heartwarming support online since highlighting what happened.

This is not the first time racial profiling on a flight has caused hysteria among passengers.

Last week, a Sikh activist and nursing mother’s simple effort to gain access to a breast pump, as she boarded a Delta flight from Minneapolis to Los Angeles, caused passengers to panic about terrorism.

READ MORE: Suspicious threat: Sikh woman’s breast pump causes terror alert before Delta flight

In Britain, it was reported last week that a man wearing a turban was refused entry to a nightclub and punched because the bouncer said he looked like a terrorist.

READ MORE: British Sikh punched by bouncer for wearing turban in Poland