An Ohio Muslim man made a telephone call; a mundane daily occurrence that, for some reason, resulted in at least five gun-toting police showing up and at least one person winding up in the hospital, The Independent is reporting.
The incident took place on Wednesday afternoon, but is only now gaining attention in the national and international media.
41-year-old Ahmed Al Menhali, a businessman from the United Arab Emirates, was in Avon, Ohio for medical reasons last week. On Wednesday afternoon he was standing outside the lobby of the Fairfield Inn & Suites in the well-to-do Cleveland suburb, making a phone call and speaking in Arabic.
The woman working behind the desk, witnessing the phone call, became alarmed. What happened next is unclear, but for some reason, the desk clerk’s sister and father both called 911, claiming that a man with “multiple disposable cell phones” was “pledging allegiance to ISIS,” according to WEWS (Cleveland).
Officers from the Avon Police Department responded in force; at least five Avon cops showed up, guns drawn and pointed at the Muslim businessman, and ordered him to the ground. He was handcuffed and on the ground while cops body-searched, pulling out his wallet and his shoes and not giving him any explanation as to what was going on.
— Silvi Krebs (@SilvijaKrebs) July 2, 2016
As Mr. Al Menhali protested, cops responded to his pleas with sarcasm. At one point he protested that the cops had broken his telephone; a cop responded, “Yeah, well you’ve broken my nail.”
You can watch the video of the incident below; the confrontation begins at about 1:30.
Cops found no weapons on the businessman, and when interviewing the desk clerk, they determined that she had made no claims about the Muslim man pledging allegiance to ISIS.
Mr. Menhali did not come through the incident unscathed, however; while cops were there, he collapsed to the ground for unknown reasons and was taken to an area hospital via ambulance. Julie Shearson, executive director of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) in Cleveland, told The Independent that she believed Mr. Menhali has suffered a stroke.
“He’s traumatized and can’t speak right now.”
Shearson was utterly alarmed at how cops in a diverse place such as the Cleveland metro area could act in such a way.
“The fact that the police referred to his clothing in their report as a criminal indicator is very concerning. Police need more diversity training. This is shocking to have happened in Avon, one of the most affluent and suburban neighborhoods outside of Cleveland.”
CAIR’s national spokesperson Ibrahim Hooper echoed similar sentiments.
“Once a report comes in, police have to act, but they have to act in an appropriate manner, not based on someone’s anti-Muslim bigotry.”
Through an interpreter, Mr. Menhali blamed Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump for creating an anti-Muslim climate that he believes played a role in what happened to him.
“Please tell Donald Trump to stop hating Mexicans and Muslims. Please tell Donald Trump to stop hating people.”
Donald Trump has proposed a ban on Muslims entering the United States, has suggested that Muslims be targeted for special surveillance, and has even suggested that Muslims should be required to carry special identification cards that identify them as Muslims, according to a November 2015 CNN report.
WOIO (Cleveland) reporter Shelby Miller asked Marriott Hotels, the chain that manages Fairfield Inn & Suites, for comment about the incident involving Mr. Menhali, and got the following response:
— Shelby Miller (@ShelbyMillerCBS) June 30, 2016
Do you believe the Avon, Ohio cops reacted appropriately to a Muslim man making a phone call?
[Image via Shutterstock/Minerva Studio]