By The Progressive on June 25, 2007
June 25, 2007 By Matthew Rothschild

Zakariya Muhammad Reed was coming back from Canada on June 17 when he was detained again for a couple of hours. This marks the fifth time in the last seven months that he has encountered difficulty.

On May 9, I reported on his troubles at www.progressive.org, “Muslim American Grilled at Border over Religion, Letter to the Editor”.

This time, Reed was asked about that article. On a previous occasion, he was grilled about a letter to the editor he'd written to the Toledo Blade. In that letter, he criticized U.S. support for Israeli policies, as well as Bush's Iraq War.

Expecting to be hassled by now, Reed decided to cross over from Windsor, Ontario, by way of the Detroit-Windsor tunnel. “The detention area is bigger,” he tells me, “so if I’m going to be there for several hours, I’d rather be in the bigger place.”

Sure enough, when he got to the booth, he was not allowed to go through.

“There’s something coming up on your license plate,” the guard said, according to Reed. “It’s a no read.”

The guard took his ID and scanned it.

“Three other guys come out and surround the car and escort me to the detention center,” Reed says. “After I got into main reception area, I talked to an immigration officer. And a guy comes around and says, ‘You’re the firefighter? From Ohio?’ ”

Still, they took him back into a detention area.

“I was put up against the wall and thoroughly frisked, any more thoroughly and I would have asked for flowers,” Reed says.

They asked him some of the usual questions, like where was he in Canada and how long had he been there, he says.

“Then an agent came in asked me about the article on progressive.org,” Reed says. “He was shaking his head like it was ridiculous to speak with progressive.org.”

Reed says only one aspect seemed to interest him: the anecdote about the agent who took out his ammo clip in front of him.

“Where exactly was it that the officer took his ammo out?”

“This happened right here,” Reed responded.

“Well, you know we have everything here on videotape.”

“So go look at the videotape,” Reed says he answered.

“Well, this is very serious,” the agent said, according to Reed. “You need to file a complaint when stuff like this happens.”

“I have a complaint over this entire process. The problem is we’re being stopped all the time.”

“Mr. Reid, I understand how mad you are.”

“No, you cannot fathom how angry I am. You are doing wrong. The system is wrong.”

After a while, they fingerprinted Reed, tossed him back his passport and told him he could go, Reed recalls.

Reed says he was struck by the fact that the agent was not interested in other aspects of his many ordeals as described in the original progressive.org story, only the bit about the ammo clip.

“This is all they’re worried about? What about everything else?”

Reed added, “They had no problem with the ‘zip-tie’ comment.”

He was referring to a remark he said he heard from one of the agents at a previous detention: “We should treat them like we do in the desert. We should put a bag over their heads and zip tie their hands together.”

Ron Smith, spokesperson for Customs and Border Protection in Detroit, says he does not have information on why Reed was stopped the fifth time.

Reed says his overwhelming feeling right now is not surprise or even anger—“just disgust. I’m so ashamed that this is happening in this country.”

Add new comment

By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.

More

But instead of isolating the Saudi regime from the global mainstream, President Obama paid a visit there earlier...

The Gogebic Taconite company got what it wanted by throwing money around, with Walker's help.

Ruth Conniff discusses the funding controversy surrounding WI Gov. Scott Walker on The Ed Show.

By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

Public School Shakedown

Progressive Media Project

Newsletter

Get Breaking News and Alerts!