Pakistani woman stopped at WV airport - positive hits for explosives in carry-on

24 August 2006: It was Thursday, August 17, 2006 when Transportation Safety Administration scanners spotted several bottles of unknown liquids in the baggage of Rima QAYYUM, a 28 year-old Pakistani woman flying from Huntington, WV to visit her parents in Michigan. Two separate field tests found that two bottles tested positive for explosives. Further, trained dogs from the West Virginia State Police confirmed the explosive detection on the same bottles, forcing the evacuation of the Tri-State Airport for more than nine hours last week and caused one US Airways flight to be cancelled.Now, FBI spokesman Jeff Killeen is stating that the pair of once-suspicious plastic bottles in Rima QAYYUM’S luggage contained “soap and water,” an apparent necessity for what amounts to about 2 hours of flight time. Killeen added that there will be no further investigation into the incident. Apparently, Ms. QAYYUM, a former Cabell County substitute teacher, had not heard the news during the previous weeks that liquids were banned from flights due to the plot to blow-up numerous aircraft in flight.

Whenever Possible, Blame Racial Discrimination & Religious Intolerance

In the wake of the airport incident, Qayyum’s parents who live in Jackson, Michigan, accused U.S. authorities for discriminating against their daughter who is 4 months pregnant. QAYYUM, dressed in traditional Islamic headdress, “was stopped because of her ethnic roots.” Added her mother, Mian QAYYUM, “It was not only a false alarm, it was racial discrimination because there was nothing. They should clear her name and apologize on national TV.”

Mohamad Jamal DAOUDI, the Imam of the Islamic Association of West Virginia in Charleston, stated that he is “inclined to agree with QAYYUM’S mother Mian based on what he had heard of the incident. Stated the Imam, “Time proved that they were all wrong with that profiling, they just overreacted. Unfortunately, we are living in a situation of fear and panic. So yes, we are hurt, we are crying for our civil liberties. This is done with the justification of making America safer, but we are American, too.” Daoudi stated that the people in his community understood having to take security procedures, he is not sure that they are being applied fairly – more suspicion is cast over Muslims.

“My question is would this be applied with the same intensity if that young lady’s name was American? Or if she was a white American?” Daoudi said. “People keep the first impression, that she was a potential threat, a suspect,” Daoudi said. “She’s just an innocent young lady who happened to be caught at the wrong time in the wrong way.”