Bilal Ahmed's story of FBI harassment

Bilal Ahmed, who contributed this piece on Yemen a few weeks ago, on his and his family's experience being harassed by the FBI because he traveled to Yemen:

The message was clear: I was being treated this way because I am a Pakistani with an Arabic name. It seemed, as it still does, impossible that at any point during the harassment I was considered an American. Americans do not receive visits by counterterrorism officials for no reason. Similarly, Pakistani-Americans, integrated minorities with hybrid identities, would not be treated this way as their “American” side was impossible to ignore. The “American” part of their identity guaranteed that even Pakistani-Canadians such as myself would be treated equally in the United States. No. I wasn’t an American. I wasn’t a Pakistani-American. I was ultimately only a Pakistani. The moment I traveled to Yemen, I became suspicious because I was only regarded as a Pakistani. One professor agreed with my statement on the matter, “there is no such thing as a Pakistani-American. The hyphenation has been destroyed by the war.”

Read the rest at Souciant.

Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region, www.arabist.net.

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