9/11 racial profiling: Where civil rights met national security
Lives Changed: A decade-long series of stories on those most directly affected by the 9/11 attacks.
Cameran Sadeq lost the life he'd built in America when racial profiling landed him in months of detention. His civil rights were sacrificed for perceived national security.
(Page 4 of 4)
The signs of the West's pull on the family's mentality are noticeable. There's the mixed language patter in his home – the kids speaking to the parents in English with such colloquialisms as "brain freeze!" and the parents speaking exclusively in Kurdish. There's the evolution of Moustafa: a decade ago she was quiet and submissive and dressed very modestly (though not as modestly as her mother who covers herself from head to toe); now, at a recent family picnic at Assiniboine Park here, there were jeans and a hint of cleavage above her leopard-print shirt and no reserve in her conversation. She rolled her eyes jokingly when Sadeq refused to have a family portrait taken for publication, because "they did nothing" to deserve the kind of publicity his detention might bring them (though he deemed a photo of baby Ibrahim harmless, because the boy won't look the same in a few months).Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
Yet still, Sadeq has barely engaged in Canadian affairs. He voted once, but admits his focus is more on Iraqi and Kurdish politics. He daily logs on to the websites of each Kurdish political party. It was his first trip home in 2007 – to see his ailing mother, whom he'd lost track of as the family fled to various countries in 1991 – that rekindled the idea that he could possibly live there again.
While the news of Osama bin Laden's killing by US forces last spring was a symbolic moment in the decade-long resolution of 9/11, it offered little healing for Sadeq. His worldview from Winnipeg, influenced heavily by Arab satellite channels and, he adds, "Democracy Now!" anchor Amy Goodman, is that the US continues to make the same mistakes, from the way it deals with average Joes like him to its conduct in global affairs.
"Osama bin Laden was a huge troublemaker for more than the US," he says, noting that he's glad Mr. bin Laden was caught, but thinks his killing foreclosed answers to many mysteries. "But nobody says this guy is [one] Muslim; they [equate him with] Islam. That's a problem for me."
Sadeq, a Sunni, says he's not "a tight Muslim," but he does use an iPhone alarm for the prayer hours and believes Allah is watching over him. And his religion – closely held or not – is a sore point in his memory of detention. He has a way of bitterly spitting out English acronyms to make his point: "Generals, CNN, CIA, FBI: They're like messengers who mix Islam with the [individual] Muslim."
"I'm not saying I hate the US," he says calmly, "It has a right to catch whoever it wants to ask if there's some connection to terrorism...."
And then, hoping to be heard, he leans forward: "[But] treat people the way you want to be treated."
Related Monitor video on 9/11 anniversary:
Lives Changed: A decade-long series of stories on the recovery of those most directly affected by the 9/11 attacks.