Airport laptop seizures anger Muslims

Imam Mohammad Ali Elahi

Imam Mohammad Ali Elahi

Imam Mohammad Ali Elahi, a frequent traveler who wears a robe and the traditional amamah headwear of a Shi’a leader, is accustomed to scrutiny at international airports.

But he was not prepared for what happened to him on Oct. 22 as he returned to Detroit Metropolitan Airport from an extended trip to his native Iran. After searching his luggage, customs personnel wanted to see more.

“They said, ‘Well, we need to check your computer,’ ” Elahi recalled. “They said they had to go to an office and check it. They came back and said, ‘Well, do the password.’ … He took it back, and it took another 20 minutes. And then he came back and said, ‘Well, you know, unfortunately, the computer died as I was looking at it.’ ”

Elahi was confronted with what many local Muslims and residents of Arab descent say are increased searches and seizures of laptops at airports and border crossings without warrant or warning. Civil rights groups are challenging the tactic, as the Bush administration and citizens continue to grapple with the conflict between civil liberties and national security seven years after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

full article: www.insight-info.com

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