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VOL 23 NO 56 REGD NO DA 1589 | Dhaka, Wednesday, January 6 2016
Posted : 06 Jan, 2016 16:06:54 AA-A+
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Parents call for action for young children on security watch list
Parents call for action for young children on security watch list

A six-year-old Canadian boy has been deemed a security risk. The boy and his father were flagged when attempting to cross to the US for the Winter Classic in Boston.


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 said 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 said over the weekend he was planning to investigate Adam’s case.


“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 the media.


Cajee plans to send the Federal Government a list of all parents who experienced this problem to show that it is widespread, according to media reports. -abdullah
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