So You Think You Can Dance?
Posted: Sunday, September 14, 2008
African-American Dancer with Muslim Name Ethnically Profiled by Israeli Airport Security
By Omar Barghouti
Israeli security officers at Tel-Aviv's Ben-Gurion Airport Tuesday forced an African-American member of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater -- by far the best-known touring company in the United States -- to perform twice for them in order to prove he was a dancer before letting him enter the country with the dance company, the dancer told the Associated Press. But even after he complied, one of the officers suggested that Abdur-Rahim Jackson change his name. Jackson felt humiliated and "deeply saddened," according to an Ailey spokesperson, particularly because his Arab/Muslim sounding first name, given to him by his Muslim father, was the reason that he was the only member of his company subjected to this typical Israeli ethnic profiling.
While still officially illegal in the U.S., ethnic profiling, described as "racist" by human rights groups, is widespread in Israel, at entrances to malls, public and private buildings, airports, etcetera. Israeli citizens and permanent residents with Arab names -- or often just Arab accents -- are commonly singled out for rough, intrusive and glaringly humiliating "security" checks.
Full Article : counterpunch.org