Muslim Sales Manager Marked as Terror Suspect for Encouraging Staff to “Blow Away” Competition at New York Trade Show

Sunday, February 05, 2012
Saad Allami (photo:
In yet another case of Islamophobic terrorism hysteria, Québec, Canada, provincial police arrested a Montréal telecommunications sales manager, searched his home and detained him for more than a day, all because he sent a text message encouraging sales staff working a New York trade show to “blow away” the competition.
Saad Allami, a Moroccan-born Canadian who sent the text on January 21, 2011, and was arrested three days later, is now suing the Québec provincial police force, one of its sergeants, and the provincial government for unlawful detention, unlawful arrest, loss of income and damage to his reputation. He is seeking damages of $100,000 Canadian, in part because the arrest has prevented him from obtaining a “certificate of good conduct” from the provincial government, which he needs to work in his profession. Allami actually sent the text in French, using the verb “exploser,” which means to explode, but is often used completely innocently, as in the phrase, “exploser de joie,” meaning to go wild with joy, something Allami probably has not done much of recently.
Allami’s case is scheduled to be presented in court March 5.
Back in 2008, another Montréal businessman, record company executive Mario Labbé, was forced to change his name to enter the United States. Even though it was determined that he had been the victim of identity theft four years earlier, Labbé was unable to have his name removed from the U.S. no-fly list. Exasperated, he legally changed his name to François Mario Labbé and the problem was solved.
As AllGov reported only days ago, American officials also recently misinterpreted innocent remarks made on a social network. Irish tourist Leigh Van Bryan tweeted about his plans while on holiday to “dig up Marilyn Monroe” and “destroy America”—destroy meaning party in British slang. But U.S. officials, who didn’t get the joke, arrested Van Bryan and his girlfriend, questioned them for hours, and then deported them. As in Allami’s case, authorities found no evidence of any wrongdoing, yet police snooping once again led to serious consequences for innocent persons whose only crime was using words the authorities don’t like.
The Allami and Van Bryan cases raise the question of how American and Canadian authorities found these text messages and tweets. Does this mean that the U.S. government is monitoring all messages and tweets for key words, such as “destroy” and “explode,” or that whenever any person applies to visit the United States, U.S. spies snap into action and monitor all of their communications?
-Matt Bewig, David Wallechinsky
To Learn More:
Workplace Quip Made Muslim a Terror Suspect, Lawsuit Alleges (by Siddhartha Banerjee, Canadian Press)
Irish and British Tourists Sent Home over “Threatening” Tweet (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov)

Quebec Man Changes Name to Dodge Relentless Airport Screening (CBC News) 


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