THERE seems to have been a mini spate of Americans worried by Middle Eastern-looking travellers recently. Towards the end of last year, there were reports of Arabic-speaking Americans not being allowed on a plane because their fellow flyers were scared of them, and of a group of Middle Eastern-looking men being ejected from a flight because they had asked to sit together.

This week, Ahmed Al Menhali, a businessman from the United Arab Emirates, dressed in traditional thobe and ghutra, was forced to the floor and handcuffed by police (see picture) after they received a call saying he had been talking on a mobile phone outside an Ohio hotel “pledging allegiance to ISIS”. The details are a little unclear, but reports suggest that the receptionist at the hotel panicked at the sight of the Arab man talking on a mobile phone. She then hid at the back of the hotel and contacted her sister who, it seems, called 911 and added the embellishment about jihadism. Mr Al...Continue reading