US Authorities Targeting Muslim Professors at Airports

Image Two well-known Muslim professors joined the ranks of many Muslims who have been targetted by U.S. authorities at airports in recent years. Turkish professor Dr. Talip Kucukcan and Iranian-American professor Hamid Dabashi were both questioned at the New York JFK airport last week. Dr. Talip Kucukcan revealed that he was questioned for one and a half hours in an humiliating manner as he entered New York’s JFK airport on November 11, according to his Twitter account.

He claimed that the authorities were inquiring about his connections of ISAM, an educational institute for Islamic theological sciences in Istanbul. They also asked him about the U.S. Istanbul consulate’s visit to ISAM after he was invited to a fast breaking dinner during the month of Ramadan.

Two days later, on November 13, Prof. Hamid Dabashi, a professor of Iranian Studies at Columbia University, was questioned for three hours at the same airport for three hours after returning from South Korea.

He told Al Jazeera that he was told to empty his pockets and bag. His credit card receipts, driver's license, Columbia University ID, iPhone, iPad, and personal handbook were taken and scanned. While he answered questions, a full photocopy was made of his notes.

Recalling the intimidating experience, Dabashi mentioned that he had been asked if he had ever criticized Israel. Ironically, he was asked for his consent before his notebook was photocopied. Regarding this, Dabashi told Al Jazeera, "Consent? How could I give or deny him consent? He was a federal officer, standing over my tired bones and heavily jetlagged body with a gun and a handcuff and the full authority to do with me what he pleased. I was homo sacer incarnate, reduced to my zoë, full of fear and loathing - how could I grant or deny him consent?"

Whilst Kucukcan said that he would have happily have answered any questions, he said the process of being pulled to the side and being made to sit in a waiting room was a form of "abuse". (
Last modified onSaturday, 06 May 2017 10:07