Emirati man mistaken as ISIS militant in Ohio reveals details of ordeal
The man was mistaken for an ISIS suspect by a hotel employee who contacted the police
Emirati Ahmed al-Menhali has spoken to Al Arabiya about his arrest in Ohio for being mistaken for a member of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) because he wore his country’s national attire of a white robe and headdress.
The man was mistaken for an ISIS suspect by a hotel employee who contacted the police, who wrestled Menhali to the ground. The incident happened at the Marriott-managed Fairfield Inn & Suites in the city of Avon.
Police handcuffed him, injuring his back and hands. Menhali then collapsed and almost fainted, according to a video released by Cleveland police and published by Al Arabiya on its YouTube channel.
Menhali was taken to hospital and stayed there for three days, during which time the police realized he was a businessman who had been in Cleveland since April to run medical tests because of a stroke.
They apologized to him on Saturday at an official session attended by representatives of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).
Menhali, 41, is from Abu Dhabi and has three children, aged seven, 12 and 14. He said his wife and brother were accompanying him in the United States for his treatment.
Menhali added that police searched his belongings, threw his phones on the ground, and were unhappy when they did not find anything.
“The policemen who humiliated and insulted me arrived at [the hotel] without explosives experts or counter-terrorism forces because they knew I’m not a terrorist,” he said.
“What they did is proof of the mobilization of American society against Muslims. I’ve suffered from state terrorism.” Menhali said the Emirati embassy helped him a lot and assigned him lawyers.
His friend Ahmed Ali al-Maamouri, who has been living in Cleveland for nine years, told Al Arabiya that the doctors at the hospital to which Menhali was transferred warned him of the possibility of another stroke because of what happened to him, and gave him new medicines to help with his high blood pressure.
Maamouri said Menhali was a humanitarian who was kind to everyone, and was active in Abu Dhabi in the field of science.
This article is also available in Arabic.
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