Rana (not her real name) was born in the U.S. to Egyptian parents, making her a U.S. Citizen. She is Muslim, but her faith is not obvious as she chooses not to wear a hijab, the traditional head covering. She has many relatives in Egypt and grew up spending summer vacation with them. She continues to travel to Egypt regularly, but since 9/11, her experience has become nightmarish.
No matter where she is in the line at the airport security checkpoint, Rana is “randomly” selected by TSA and Homeland Security officers for closer scrutiny. She is questioned about her travel. Her bags are thoroughly searched. She is patted down multiple times. On several occasions, she has even been strip-searched. Rana is convinced she is targeted, not randomly selected, because of her middle and last names–names associated with Islam–and because of her regular travel to Cairo.
Rana is never at ease arriving into or departing from the U.S. Despite having a U.S. passport, she is treated as if the U.S. is not her home. Rana recently married and would like to introduce her husband to her extended Egyptian family. While Egypt is not listed in the Executive Order limiting travel from majority Muslim nations, Rana isn’t sure she wants to take the risk in these times of heightened suspicion and fear.
On this Sunday, feast on love of neighbor that refuses to presume malevolence or assign guilt and that instead delivers from fear.