Rabat - “Do Moroccans like Americans?” a Canadian woman of Moroccan origins was asked by the American customs at the Philipsburg border crossing.
Rabat – “Do Moroccans like Americans?” a Canadian woman of Moroccan origins was asked by the American customs at the Philipsburg border crossing.
The list of victims of US President Donald Trump’s travel ban continues to grow. After what would be known the “Muslim ban,” a decree that banned nationals from 7 Muslim-majority countries to enter the US, it is now Canadian Muslims’ turn to feel the brunt.
Fadwa Alaoui, a Canadian citizen of Moroccan descendant was shocked to find herself banned from entering US soil after a four hours of interrogation by American customs agents, reported TVA Nouvelle, a Canadian newspaper.
In an interview with TVA Nouvelle, Alaoui recalled her misadventure with the US customs officials: “I was on my way to Burlington with a cousin of mine and my children to spend the day shopping. But at the border crossing, the US customs officials asked us to get out of our vehicle and get into their office. We were asked what our country of origin was. I told them that I was originally from Morocco. Then they claimed our cell phones. They demanded our passwords and searched the content of our phones for an hour.”
Alaoui told the newspaper how she and her cousin were then interrogated separately, saying: “They came to get us one by one. It was in an office. And then the interrogation began. What is our religion? Do we practice it? What is the name of the mosque that we frequent? Who is the Imam? What are we told at the mosque?”
The US customs officials asked them about their opinion on Trump’s policy, to which Alaoui, astonished and confused by the question, replied: “Mr. Trump can do whatever he wants with his country!”
This is not the first time Alaoui had through such an experience. She told the newspaper that she went through the same ordeal a few days after 9/11: “I was interrogated, but eventually I was free to enter the US.”
When asked how she interprets such behavior, Alaoui sees it as discrimination. “Is it because we are Muslim or because I wear a veil?” she asked before adding, “The customs officers even asked me if I knew the victims of Quebec mosque attack. In my cell phone, they found a message that showed I had made a donation to the families of the victims.”
As part of the interrogation, the customs officials went through their phones, where they found videos of Islamic prayers. Alaoui and her cousin were then asked to explain and interpret every video.
“They asked us if we loved Americans. If Moroccans in Morocco loved Americans,” she said.
After four long hours of investigation and questions, the customs officials told Alaoui and her family that they could not enter US soil. “You have videos and concerns against us,” is all what they would give Alaoui and her family as reason.
Alaoui and her cousin were then forced to sign a document they couldn’t even read, only to discover later that they had unwittingly signed on a form withdrawing their admission to the US.
Mrs Alaoui told TVA Nouvelle that the reasons given by the customs officers for denying her access were not clear, but she felt that she had been discriminated against on the basis of her religious beliefs.