I am Jamal Osman (and I am not a terrorist)

If that mad genius Osama had only one objective in mind – how to drive a wedge between Muslims and the rest of the world – he has been successful way beyond his imaginations. As we have noted before: ideology has a bigger impact than events. There are a lot of damaged (poor) people in the world today  and they need to vent out their frustrations in the least harmful manner (this includes self-harm). It is beyond sad that the petro-dollars of the rich are used to rope these folks in as canon fodder in the service of ideology. The victims are (as always) the innocents who are caught in the cross-fire.

With the canons firing across so many (imaginary) Lines of Control around the globe, the angry, needy, young men (majority) are viewed as a product of their genes and/or defective culture, who should be wished away or excused (liberal bigotry), or crushed and destroyed by any means fair or foul (conservative bigotry).
….
If
there is one thing I’ve learned from such encounters, it is that
carrying a British passport doesn’t necessarily make you feel British. I
came to this country to seek sanctuary. I am a multi-award winning
journalist. I am an immigrant and a refugee – but I am still made to
feel like an asylum seeker.
I am a Muslim, an African and a
Somali. And should the security services be reading this: I am a British
citizen. Please treat me like one.

…………..



If you are British and think that every British citizen enjoys
the same rights, my story and those of thousands of others should
convince you otherwise.

I arrived in Britain in 1999 having fled
the civil war in my home country, Somalia. My asylum application was
approved a year later. During that time I was given accommodation and a
weekly food voucher worth £35. For this I will always be grateful.

As
soon as I was permitted to seek employment I started looking for a job.
I worked in a laundry, a warehouse and as a taxi driver – simply to
survive. Later I trained to become a journalist.

I joined Channel 4
News as a reporter, largely covering Africa – a role that required
frequent travelling. And that is when my nightmare at the hands of
Britain’s security services began. I have been detained, questioned and
harassed almost every time I have passed through Heathrow airport. In 10
years, only one of my colleagues has been stopped.

During the
past five years I have also been repeatedly approached by security
services trying to “recruit” me. The incentives they offer range from a
“handsome salary” or a “nice car” to a “big house”. I have even been
told that they “could help me marry four wives”. I have declined all
their offers. Their psychological tactics include telling me how easy it
is for them to take away my British passport and destroy my career –
and even my life.

I have received regular phone calls from people I
believe to be Special Branch, who invite me for a “chat over coffee”.
“No thanks, I don’t drink coffee,” I reply.

As someone who appears
on television regularly it is not unusual for strangers to greet you in
the street or even ask questions about a particular story you’ve done.
But the people who follow me on the street – the spies (I call them “the
Vauxhall guys”) – have a different approach. After introducing
themselves by their first names they declare their interest. Would I
like a chat and a coffee. It won’t take long. Their hunting ground is
London’s Victoria station, which I use regularly.

I go to the EU
and British passport holders’ queue when returning through Heathrow
airport; I observe with interest as fellow travellers file smoothly past
border control. Yet when I approach, trouble always follows. “Where are
you from?”, “How did you obtain a British passport?”, “Have you ever
been in trouble with immigration?” I answer all their questions
courteously and respectfully until the inevitable happens and the
official says: “Take a seat, I will be back.”

Returning from my
most recent trip, I took my regular seat near the control desk. Half an
hour later a grey-suited man sat next to me.”Hello, how are you?” he
asked. “Are you from Somalia? I hear from other Somalis that things are
improving now. That is what I would like to talk to you about.”

I
told him that I didn’t particularly want to talk about Somalia and that I
just wanted to go home. “Don’t try and be difficult,” he snapped at me.
“I’ll detain you if you don’t answer my questions.” And so it continued
for another 15 minutes, during which he continued with his threats and
with calling me an “idiot” and a “bad person”, claiming “you will die
angry and the world would be a better place without people like you”.
Finally he compared me to “the racist thugs we are fighting”.

If
there is one thing I’ve learned from such encounters, it is that
carrying a British passport doesn’t necessarily make you feel British. I
came to this country to seek sanctuary. I am a multi-award winning
journalist. I am an immigrant and a refugee – but I am still made to
feel like an asylum seeker.

I am a Muslim, an African and a
Somali. And should the security services be reading this: I am a British
citizen. Please treat me like one.

…..
Link: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/may/26/british-citizen-passport-control
…..

regards

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