According to recent surveys by Time Magazine, Newsweek and the University”s Institute of Social Research, more than 60 percent of Americans are willing to give up some personal freedoms and civil liberties in order to ensure personal and national safety.

Paul Wong
A United Airlines ticket agent helps a customer at Detroit Metropolitan Airport, where security has been tight since hijackers crashed United and American Airlines jetliners into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon Sept. 11.<br><br>BRETT MOUNTAIN/Dail

One of the likely results is that Americans persons are more likely to be detained at airports, borders and other high-security areas.

When University paleontology graduate student Iyad Zalmout went to Detroit Metropolitan Airport early in the morning of Oct. 2 to catch a Delta Airlines flight to Cincinnati, he left his house early in anticipation of a longer wait.

Zalmout, who is Jordanian and came to the United States three years ago, said he had no problems with airport security that morning.

“Everything was OK my shoes were metal-free just in case I got in trouble when I checked in,” he said.

As Zalmout was waiting for the plane to take off, the pilot approached him and asked him to get off the plane for questioning. Zalmout was escorted off the aircraft.

“People started looking at me. I was embarrassed,” he said. “I (wouldn”t mind) being questioned, but not inside the airplane That was embarrassing to have to stand up in front of all these passengers and go out of the airplane.”

Zalmout”s name was not on the Watch List, a document that “contains the names of individuals who may be able to provide us with some information regarding the terrorists attacks,” said Dawn Clenney, FBI special agent in Detroit.

The list was distributed to security agencies after the Sept. 11 attacks but is not accessible to the public, she said.

Clenney said the Watch List might have been the reason some Muslims and Arab Americans have been complaining about harassment in public places, though she stressed that the Watch List is not intended to point blame at any person, group or ethnicity for the attacks.

“As far as the FBI, we do not tolerate racial profiling,” Clenney said. “Just because someone”s name appears on the Watch List does not mean that they are suspected of terrorism.”

Clenney said that detaining people at the airport is a standard practice and that Zalmout should not feel singled out.

“I don”t know the totality of the circumstances surrounding the situation, but he or she is not the only person at the airport to be detained,” she said, adding that the number of people questioned fluctuates with every flight. “It just depends. Some flights there might not be anyone, some flights it could be a number of individuals.”

Once off the aircraft, the pilot told Zalmout that he had been chosen for questioning because of suspicious behavior and proceeded to ask him questions such as his name, where he was from, what nationality he was and where he was going.

Clenney said that had Zalmout”s name been on the Watch List, security personnel, and not airline employees, would have approached him.

“My understanding is the law enforcement officials would be the ones to speak with the person and ask them the questions and determine if their name is on the Watch List,” she said.

Although Zalmout said he doesn”t mind being questioned under ordinary circumstances and for good reason, he said he doesn”t think there was a lawful reason for the questioning.

“I think that he did that because I”m a Mediterranean-looking guy and it”s early, maybe six in the morning,” Zalmout said. “I don”t mind waiting three hours for the airplane and being questioned just before getting on the airplane, just to show the passengers that you are doing your job … This is not the right way to do your job.”

Since Sept. 12, the FBI, Michigan National Guard, Drug Enforcement Administration, Customs Service, the Federal Aviation Administration and Border Patrol have been present at Detroit Metro.

In addition, parking is not allowed within 300 feet of the airport. Only ticketed passengers are allowed beyond security checkpoints. Pocket knives are not allowed in carry-on luggage. Passengers are randomly screened at checkpoints with hand wands.

“I know that the airport has a lot of different security improvements in place,” said Mary Mazur, a spokeswoman for the Wayne County Commission and the airport.

Clenney said she hopes citizens who are stopped for questioning because of the Watch List or the heightened security understand that they are not being stopped without reason.

“We know and we understand that it can be an inconvenience but it is just a measure of security. The officials at the airport are not trying to force or intimidate someone,” she said.

She added that if anyone feels that they have been unfairly harassed or questioned, they can contact the FBI, as a number of Muslims and Arab Americans already have.

“We take those complaints very seriously. This is certainly not the time for Arab Americans to be harassed, or intimidated by other people simply because they are Arab Americans,” she said. “The Arab Americans in our community here are good people and law abiding citizens, and they are just so upset and outraged by the events that occurred on September 11.”

Zalmout said that he hopes the unfair treatment he feels he received is somehow corrected before he has to fly again.

“This is a free country, and all people are equal, but I don”t think so now,” he said.

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