Abdullha part 8
They handcuffed me and dragged me off in full view of my mother, wife and little children, not to mention the entire airport. No one said a word. They took me to cubicle barely large enough for 3 men to stand in. The officer who had questioned us at the hotel closed the door and ignored my requests for a lawyer. I was kept in the room for hours, different officials came in and tried to engage me. I refused to speak. The quieter I was, the angrier the officials got. Eventually I couldn’t take it anymore and I told them that I knew my rights and my most basic human rights were being ignored. It didn’t matter to anyone.
They claimed to have a video which proved I was a member of ISIS! I tried to explain how absurd that was and reminded the official that we had this talk back at the hotel about the situation in the restaurant.
They asked if I was Muslim. I replied in the affirmative. I reminded them that there were a billion Muslims globally and considering we were all still alive they were probably mostly peaceful.
I explained that ISIS had warped our religion and that I didn’t agree with them.
They asked me if I had been to Pakistan or Syria, I replied I hadn’t.
The questioning went on for hours and hours and they kept going in circles trying to ‘catch me’ lying.
They had proof that I had spoken to the Imam and I explained that his daughter married my best friend , which was the reason I was in London to begin with.
Luqmaan had given them the video , he had edited out everything he had said. According to them I had motive and I went to Paris, they knew our hotel was 10 blocks away from the Charlie Hebdo office, I had no idea about this. I asked them if Muslims were no longer allowed to be tourists but they didn’t see the humour in it.
They kept me in the cubicle in the airport for 2 days and whenever I needed the bathroom they would hand me bottle to use. I was given food and left by myself, there was no way to know if the food was halaal. Time dragged on and whenever I fell asleep they threw water at me and started the questioning routine again.
After 2 days I was blindfolded and transported. Although I had initially though this misunderstanding would be quickly cleared up, I was slowly starting to wonder if that was a real possibility. In this day and age any western government could easily detain you and on suspicion of terrorism. Suddenly all the movie plots don’t seem that far fetched. The line , “innocent till proven Muslim” came to mind. I was a South African who has just been detained in the UK on suspicion of terrorism and here I was blindfolded at the back of a van and I had no idea where I was being taken. Little did I know…this was where the real story began.