Thursday, August 26, 2004

Racial Profiling Alleged in Muslim Arrest

Here's a big surprise .... The CAIR and al Qaida advice to turn everything into a civil liberties question arrives from the Baltimore family videotaping the bay bridge

Ironically, both a CAIR and al Qaida Refrain

By KASEY JONES, Associated Press Writer

BALTIMORE - The oldest daughter of a man described as a high-ranking Hamas operative said Wednesday that police used racial profiling when officers stopped her family's sport utility vehicle while her mother made a home video of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.

We were wearing hijabs (headscarves)," Duaa Elbarasse, 20, said in a telephone interview from her home in Annandale, Va. "We feel we have been racially profiled since we are Muslim."

Duaa Elbarasse said she, her 18-year-old sister and her 14-year-old brother were in the back seat of the SUV Friday as they headed home across the bridge from a vacation in Delaware. Her father, Ismael Selim Elbarasse, was driving while her mother, whom she declined to name, taped "scenery of the bay and us in the car," Elbarasse said.

Her mother also tried to zoom in on boats in the bay, she said.

"There is no way to avoid the cables, the bridge itself in the pictures," Duaa Elbarasse said.

According to a search warrant for the video, the tape showed cables and upper supports of the main section of the 4.3-mile bridge. The video pans the eastbound span and shows support cables and footings, zooming in on the bridge joints, the warrant indicated.

Three Baltimore County police officers driving on the bridge told Maryland Transportation Authority officials about the vehicle, and that it was driven by someone of Middle Eastern descent, according to court documents.

"The individuals were pulled over because they were videotaping the bridge," and because when someone in the vehicle spotted the officers' car, the woman put the camera down and the vehicle slowed down so the officers would pass them, said Bill Toohey, a Baltimore County police spokesman. "That was the suspicious activity, not because they were Middle Eastern-looking."

Neither Ismael Elbarasse nor his wife were charged with any wrongdoing on the bridge, but Maryland authorities arrested Ismael Elbarasse after discovering a federal material witness warrant had been issued for him the same day in Chicago.

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