Toronto - It was a routine flight that turned into anything but routine for Muhammad Ali Jr. and his mother, Khalilah Camacho-Ali, after they landed at a Florida airport, according to the Courier-Journal.
Toronto – It was a routine flight that turned into anything but routine for Muhammad Ali Jr. and his mother, Khalilah Camacho-Ali, after they landed at a Florida airport, according to the Courier-Journal.
Returning from a Black History Month event in Montego Bay, Jamaica, Ali Jr. and his mother found themselves singled out and pulled aside by Customs and Border agents for questioning, presumably because of their Arabic-sounding names.
Camacho-Ali was released in short order, after she was able to present a photograph of herself with her late ex-husband, boxing legend Muhammad Ali. Her son, Ali Jr., had no such luck and was questioned for the next two hours while his mother ran around the Fort Lauderdale airport asking where her son was, begging for help. Local police, however, were unable to offer any assistance to her because incidents involving customs officials are considered to be in federal jurisdiction.
As his mother frantically looked for anyone who could help her son, he was being subjected to questions about his name and religion. “Where did you get your name?” and “Are you a Muslim?” they asked. When he explained who his legendary father was and told them he was indeed a Muslim, more questions followed about his religion and place of birth.
While for some, the questions might appear reasonable on the surface, family friend and lawyer, Chris Mancini, describes the family’s reaction to the incident; “To the Ali family, it’s crystal clear that this is directly linked to Mr. Trump’s efforts to ban Muslims from the United States.”
The family has announced it is considering filing a federal lawsuit. For the moment, they are researching how many other people have been subjected to the same profiling at American airports since Trump’s attempted travel ban. “Imagine walking into an airport and being asked about your religion,” Mancini said. “This is classic customs profiling.”
The Fort Lauderdale airport did not respond to requests for comment but US Customs and Border Protection issued the following statement; “Due to the restrictions of the Privacy Act, United States Customs and Border Protection cannot discuss individual travelers; however, all international travelers arriving in the United States are subject to CBP inspection.”