Tuesday, September 09, 2008

U.S. performer says forced to dance for Israeli airport security to prove identity

U.S. performer says forced to dance for Israeli airport security to prove identity
By The Associated Press

A performer with the famed American Alvin Ailey dance troupe on Tuesday said he was twice forced to perform steps for Israeli airport security officers to prove his identity before he was permitted to enter the country.

Abdur-Rahim Jackson, an eight-year veteran of the African American dance
ensemble, said he was singled out by Israel's renowned airport security
because he has a Muslim name. He called the experience embarrassing and said at one point, one of the officers even suggested he change his name.

To be greeted like this because of my name, it took me back a little bit,
Jackson said.

Israel is the first stop on a six-nation tour celebrating the New York-based dance company's 50th anniversary. Earlier this year, the U.S. Congress passed a resolution calling the group a vital American cultural ambassador to the world.

Jackson said he was pulled aside from other members of the troupe when they arrived at Israel's international airport on Sunday night. He said he was taken to a holding room, where he was asked about the origins of his name. When he explained he was part of the dance group, he was asked to perform.

I stood up. I asked what type of dance? he explained. He said, Just do
anything.' I just moved around.

Minutes later, he said a female officer put him through a similar
interrogation and asked him to dance again.

The only time I'm really expected to dance is when I'm performing, he said.

Jackson said he received his name because his father was a convert to Islam. Jackson said he was not raised a Muslim, does not consider himself religious and is engaged to a Jewish woman in the troupe who has relatives in Israel.

Jackson said he did not plan to press the matter further, saying the numerous apologies he has received from American dignitaries and his Israeli hosts is enough for me. The Israel Ports Authority said it had no comment because it did not receive a formal complaint.

The incident was reported in Israel's largest newspaper and on an Israeli
television news and interview program. The security guards should be sent home or (the airport) will become a mental asylum, said Motti Kirshenbaum, a veteran commentator and host of the Channel 10 TV program.

Israel is constantly on the alert for attack because of the Israel-Palestinian conflict and extremist Islamic rejection of the Jewish state's existence. Security is strict at all entry points and inside the country.

Israel is famous for the effectiveness of its airport security. But a key
element in its security checks is ethnic profiling. The practice has been
criticized by Israeli human rights campaigners as racist because it singles out Arabs for tougher treatment.

Such profiling is illegal in the United States, but Jackson said that the only place he has had a similarly humiliating experience in the past was at a U.S. airport when he returned from a vacation in the Dominican Republic.

Jackson said that since the Israeli airport incident, the reception in Israel has been amazing.

We're only here to bring positive light to our lives and the people here, he said, calling the group's multicultural appeal an amazing bind you can't touch, you can only experience.

Related articles:

Arab Labor MK says airport security 'humiliated' her children

Colored tags for Arabs' luggage at Ben Gurion airport discontinued


At Thursday, December 25, 2008, Blogger arash said...

pishe manam bia

At Saturday, July 11, 2009, Anonymous جوات موات ایران said...

اخرین اخبار تقلب سبز منتشر شد


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