36-year-old Bilal Rana who serves as President of Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association USA, was stopped by the FBI after he boarded a plane to his hometown of Houston.He was returning from a conference in New Jersey.
He believes another passenger became suspicious based on his appearance and reported him to the flight crew.Rana was wearing the traditional Pakistani dress “Shalwar Kameez”. He says he did nothing wrong and blames being profiled on fear.
Rana didn’t get angry, instead he realized his greatest revenge was to write. He sent an Op/Ed piece to Time.com, writing “I’m not your enemy. I’m your biggest ally.” Rana has gotten positive feedback and hopes to use his experience as a teaching moment.
“I recognize this as an opportunity to any Muslims out there, I’d want them to be patient, be graceful, rise above it,” Rana said.
He cautions against inflammatory anti-Muslim rhetoric and is more determined as ever despite the embarrassment he suffered.
“My intention is to try to bridge this gulf between Muslims and non-Muslims. We need to talk to each other,” he said.