‘Complete profiling’: parents call for action for young children on security watch list
A two-year-old boy has joined the ranks of six-year-old Syed Adam Ahmed on a flight security watch list, according to his parents.
Adam’s story of travel troubles was first told by Global News last week, and has picked up tons of media coverage.
Since then, parents have been contacting his family with stories of children much younger experiencing similar experiences.
Khudija Vawda-Ali’s son, Naseer Muhammed Ali, will turn three on Saturday, but he was only 10-weeks-old when he was first stopped by airport officials during a trip to Jamaica.
“They patted him down,” she told Global News in a phone interview.
“They didn’t open his diaper, but they checked all around it to make sure we didn’t conceal anything in there, which was pretty scary and pretty strange at the same time.”
Vawda-Ali has two older children, but never experienced anything similar until Naseer was born.
“Me and his father are both born in Canada – Canadian citizens – so it just seems ridiculous.”
She said she will be trying “to fight this to see if we can get [their] kids off this list.”
She didn’t speak up before now because she said she thought her son was an anomaly.
“We just assumed that maybe it was a one-off,” Vawda-Ali explained. “Or you know there isn’t anything we can do about it. But now hearing that there so many other families having the same problem something needs to be done.
“It’s really just not fair; it’s complete profiling just by name. And we have to go through all of this inconvenience for nothing.”
Adam’s mother Khadija Cajee said around 10 people (including Vawda-Ali) have contacted her because their children are in similar situations.
“On the one hand it’s nice to know you’re not the only one going through this,” Cajee said in a phone interview on Monday, “but on the other hand it’s kind of upsetting and annoying because you realize there are all these innocent children who are being put on this list.
“And it makes me wonder how legitimate this list is.”
Cajee is already in contact with Jane Philpott, MP for Markham-Stouffville, who has requested more information to send to Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, who told Global News over the weekend he was planning to investigate Adam’s case.
On Thursday the public safety minister also said that his department is also “exploring” possible amendments to the regulations that would “help differentiate individuals who have similar or the same names as individuals listed under the Passenger Protect Program.”
In addition, Goodale indicated the no-fly regime – officially known as the Passenger Protect Program – would be examined during broad public consultations on Canada’s overall security framework.
“Our government pledged during the election to review issues relating to so-called ‘no fly’ lists … and to introduce new legislation that strengthens accountability with respect to national security and better balances collective security with rights and freedoms. That work is on-going, and will include a public consultation process,” read a statement issued to Global News.
Cajee plans to send the Federal Government a list of all parents who experienced this problem to show that it is widespread. Any other parents who have experienced similar issues can contact Cajee on Twitter.
With files from Kevin Nielson and Steve Morales.
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