Monday, August 20, 2007

Seven-year-old boy held as terror suspect

Javaid Iqbal shares the name of someone on a government terror suspect watchlist. Recently, while on holiday to the United States with his family, Iqbal was detained for several hours at airports in the U.S. and in Britain while he was cleared for travel.

Javaid Iqbal is seven-years-old.

The ordeal began in Manchester when Naushaba Nadeem, a doctor, and her children Sana and Fareeha, both nine, Javaid and five-year-old Iftikhar, tried to board a flight to Orlando.

Dr Nadeem, 35, said: "When we arrived at the front counter to check in at Manchester Airport, staff said there was a security block on Javaid's name.

"I understand and agree security checks are important but he is only seven and a half years old.

"We had to stand at the desk for three hours while they checked everything out. Eventually, everything was fine and we were given our boarding passes."


Dr Nadeem said: "It happened again at Orlando Airport and then Javaid's name was blocked again at Philadelphia Airport.

Javid's ordeal began when he and his mother Naushaba Nadeem, tried to board a flight to Orlando, Florida via Philadelphia

"This time they had cancelled our tickets by the time they gave Javaid security clearance. I was all on my own, I don't know anyone in Philadelphia."

Javaid said: "All this was about my name. They said that it had a block on it. We felt scared and didn't know what was going on."

His father Nadeem Iqbal, 48, a consultant anaesthetist, said: "My son is psychologically traumatised by this experience and said he doesn't want to fly to America again.

"The problem seems to be isolated to the US because this did not happen when we visited Tenerife. We don't want to have to experience anything like this again."

Javaid's parents, who moved to Blackburn from Saudi Arabia in 2002, are now considering changing their son's name.
Javaid's dad has a common sense suggestion for authorities: cross check names with dates of birth in order to more quickly eliminate seven-year-old boys as terror suspects.