Methinks the system is broken.
For seven-year-old Javaid Iqbal, the holiday to Florida was a dream trip to reward him for doing well at school.The name Javaid Iqbal is a very common one among Muslims. I must know four myself, from old business connections with the Scottish Muslim community. If they were stopping everyone called Paul Smith, do you think the libertarians would notice?
But he was left in tears after he was stopped repeatedly at airports on suspicion of being a terrorist.
The security alerts were triggered because Javaid shares his name with a Pakistani man deported from the US, prompting staff at three airports to question his family about his identity.
The family even missed their flight home from the U.S. after officials cancelled their tickets in the confusion. And Javaid's passport now contains a sticker saying he has undergone highlevel security checks.
...Javaid said: "All this was about my name. They said that it had a block on it. We felt scared and didn't know what was going on."
His father Nadeem Iqbal, 48, a consultant anaesthetist, said: "My son is psychologically traumatised by this experience and said he doesn't want to fly to America again.
"The problem seems to be isolated to the US because this did not happen when we visited Tenerife. We don't want to have to experience anything like this again."
...The name Javaid Iqbal was blocked and flagged up as a security alert on each airport's computer system set up by Homeland Security, a US organisation.
A 39-year-old Pakistani man of that name was arrested in New York two months after the terror attack on the World Trade Centre in 2001.
He was never charged with any terrorism offences, although he was convicted of fraud for having false papers and deported.
He is seeking compensation from the U.S. government, claiming to have been beaten up by guards during more than a year in detention.
Security sources say that as Iqbal was deported, any attempt to enter the US by someone with a similar name would trigger an alert.
Neil, over at Ezra Klein's place, correctly pinpoints the mindset that leads to this kind of overzealous and over-xenophobic application of terror laws, although he's talking about the kind of uber-nationalist idiots who are happy that Israel is turning away refugees from Darfur.