Eight Year Old with Autism on Terror List: Detained at Airport.
Posted Jan 27 2010 12:00am
By Sabeeha Rehman
My 8 year old grandson Omar, who is on the autism spectrum, was pulled out at the airport and investigated as a terror suspect - his name being similar to that on the watch list. He was enroute to Disney World with his parents and siblings. He was held for an hour and it was only when his date of birth (2001) did not match that of the person's on the watch list, who we understand was in his twenties, and after several huddled meetings and phone calls, was he and his family allowed to board the plane. He was agitated while being held for an hour, and sat there stimming, but they had to go through their procedures, before they could rule him out as a terrorist. Had his father not been with him during the one hour detention - he too was detained and then cleared - I dread to think of the damage that would have done to Omar.
He is 8! He has autism!
I have brought this to the attention to a reporter at the New York Times, and want to raise this as an issue with our networks, before more children like Omar are subjected to this treatment.
Sabeeha Rehman is the grandmother of an 8 year-old child with autism, and President and co-founder of the New York Metro Chapter of the National Autism Association.