Aight….back to some serious stuff. Sept 11th 2001, My Sept 11 2002 & hell yeah lets throw in terrorism….why not ;)

Sept 11th 2001

I was in the Boston US on Sept 11th 2001! Was @ work early in the morning when my co-worker (I was an intern at the time) came into my office and said “New York is under attack…with jets and all”. Based on this I thought there were actual fighter jets attacking New York.

I tried logging into CNN.com but couldn’t get access (traffic must’ve been crazy) so we all headed down to the cafeteria TV. Like everyone else (in the world), I couldn’t quite believe what just happened…..everything seemed so surreal and scary.

Not sure if there would be further attacks that day (and since planes departed from Boston), my friend and I decided to “flee” Boston and played minigolf in the middle of nowhere, a couple hours away from Boston.

Again like the rest of the world, I spent the rest of the days glued to CNN. Being a Muslim myself, it was “easier” for me to comprehend the actions of the terrorist i.e. JIHAD. Since it was the talk of everyone around me…I found myself explaining over & over about Islam, Jihad and how relatively easy it is convincing someone to “die for God in the promise of eternal paradise”. Of course I don’t agree with terrorism but I understand why the terrorist did it and why their threat will never yield.

BUT….. most Americans don’t get it! Simply coz most of them live in ignorance about the rest of the world and don’t comprehend that people that grow up in a world of war don’t see the world the “American way”. I don’t blame them as that’s how they live their lives..in an American world…just like kids that live their lives in war thorn regions in the middle east…it makes them who they are and shapes the

Sept 11th 2002!!!!

The day I was to leave the US, after 5 yrs in college, and start a new chapter in my life here in Malaysia. Figured it has to be the safest time to fly as security would be at its peak! Was it!? Of course it was. Being a Muslim and “fitting their profile” I expected to be singled out for “extra” security checks etc but 1. I understood why and 2. Didn’t have anything to hide! but that’s when my troubles started….

Well I made it through all the security checks (Scanners, x-ray etc) and right before we boarded the plane, an elderly security lady went through my carry on luggage. Ok lah…do what you gotta do. Then as she went through my toiletry bag, she pulled out a 4? blade meat-knife. I was in shock but remembered putting it in there a FEW YEARS ago in one of the compartments. I immediately apologies but since she didn’t seems to make a big fuss about it…I thought “maybe it’s not such a big deal after all”. THEN she called on her supervisor and shortly after, the FBI, Boston Police, AirPort Police joined us….asked me loads of questions, went through all my gear (where I also discovered my Quran & sejadah)….I was now thinking what they must be thinking:

1. He is a Muslim (Kevin Zahri bin Abdul Ghaffar) 2. He is a student on a 1-way ticket to Malaysia 3. It is Sept 11th 2002 4. He has a Quran & 4in Blade (that could do some serious damage)

Although I knew I had no intentions…how would they know so I expected the worst! They told me to forget about leaving Boston tonight and brought me to a room to further interrogate me (this I expected). I answered all their questions honestly and sincerely apologized. As I laughed at myself, they told that it’s not a joke! I just laughed coz I never thought I would be the “problem”…I was more worried about other people! The agent, later came back to telling me that I wasn’t on their terrorist list (I’m probably on it now hahahahahah) and told me that they will issue me a ticket for the next day.

Now after all the goodbyes earlier, I had to call my buddy Paul again to pick me up at the airport. Quite funny but scary as well. We joked about the fact that we’ll see my security-breach on CNN..something like “Security Breach @ Logan Airport: 25 yr old Malaysian caught bringing in knife on board flight to London“….hahahahahah but that never happened…..

The Day After: Sept 12th 2002

Before making my way to the airport for the second time….I made sure to check my luggage 3-4 times..hahhhha..just to make sure lah. But unlike the day before where I was sad to leave the US…today I was annoyed and just wanted to get the hell out of there. Anyhow, I expected security to be all about me based on what happened the day before….and sure enough….everything was “specially” arranged for me. I had a special check-in counter where the personal in charge told me that I’ll have an escort until they hand me over to the airline personal. Well…I didn’t expect any less.

At the carry-on security check, I bumped into one of the security guards that were there the night before. He was about my age and asked to see my boarding pass…..he said that I have a special code printed on it…..it means that I am a “very-very suspicious passenger”…hahahahahah oh well.

Before boarding, they obviously went through my entire luggage and then handed me over to the head-steward…I was the last person to board the plane. All the people were looking at me….thinking….”who the f*** is that….is he a…?? There and then I felt like one but if I was in their shoes I would have the same thoughts going through my mind.

Well the head steward escorted me to first class, sat me down and asked me about what happened bla bla bla and if or not I was treated fairly. After a lil small talk, he told me that for my “convenience” (yeah right)….they would give me a whole row in economy class all to myself. I’m not stupid lah and knew it so that they can keep an eye on me and so that people won’t fear me but I wasn’t going to make demands lah.

On my way from first class to my seat, all eyes were on me…..famous of a different kind I tell u!
Shortly after sitting down….some big buy in suit sat on the other side of my row…must be an air-Marshall…..but again, no surprise there lah.

Every hour or so, a steward would drop by to see if I was ok! Throughout the flight (Boston-London), I just sat there….not wanting to even go to the bathroom as I don’t want the people to suddenly fear that I may start “my operation”…hahahhaha paranoia!

Well, we arrived in London..safe and sound of course lah…and then transferred over to Malaysian Airlines….to fly to KL. I figured that I may have to go through some form of additional security there as well..thinking that the airlines communicate with each other lah.

As I got to the gate….the Malaysian staff asked me if I have any sharp objects in my carry on….not wanted to hide anything..I told him “No but I have some razor blades (that Boston airport said was ok)”….THEN this idiot start screaming…..“no no no…you have to surrender them at the other end of the gate”. Bodoh I tell you….at least the Americans were very professional back in Boston and here you Malaysian are yelling at me for asking you a question! Sedih I tell you but I just wanted to get home!

All in all…it was quite an experience…..was I mistreated? Maybe by the Malaysian…but definitely not in Boston. They acted and handled me as they should have, firm but professionally! If roles were reversed I would’ve done just the same!

My View on Terrorism

Will it end, ever? Hmmmm I don’t think so. The war between religions has been going on for centuries or since the beginning of time. So why should it end now!? Will it get worse? I hope not but somehow think that it won’t get any better.

I sure do hope that we won’t have nations of religions battling it out (although we sort of had that with Lebanon and Israel…sort of) but the battle of Islamic terrorism and the Western World will never cease to exist!

Would I ever become a terrorist or fight? Hmmmm probably not but imagine this….you wake up someday….and your whole family is wiped out simply cause you got caught up in the middle of war and an American Cruise Missile hit your house! How would that make you feel? Is that reason for you to join the War! Let’s just say….it’ll put a whole new meaning to my life!

World Peace? God Willing!

Kevin Zahri

I am a US certified personal trainer and nutritionist with over 12 years experience. Over the years, I have published over 10 books, written for Men's Health, other fitness and lifestyle magazines, hosted TV shows and appeared on various TV shows, programs and magazines. I am also an avid corporate wellness speaker and web entrepreneur.

More about me here or follow me on Facebook or Twitter.

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  • Xis

    Keva very interesting entry. Thanks for sharing your real experience on this. I remember I was supposed to fly to Newark on Dec 20, 2001 to spend my holidays there. Plus I was invited by my good friend to join their christmas cum birthday party. All had been arranged for me prior to that Sept 11 thing. But after Sept 11, I heard they had tightened their security. I heard many Asians, especially muslims and those who have “bin” in their name got interrogated like a criminal. That really scared me and because of that, I cancelled my trip. At least, I don’t have to undergo such an interrogation.Anyway, I remember when leaving USA back in 1999, I brought back with my a toy rifle. My cousin’s son asked me to buy that. So, I kept it in my hand-carry luggage. And guess what happened. At the check-point, the security officer asked me to open my luggage. And just imagine around me, there were a few more officers. They were shocked to find a rifle in my luggage, but then relieved to know it was just a toy. But they didn’t let me bring along that toy. Instead, they passed it to the flight officer to keep. When I arrived in KL, they called me and gave back my rifle. Since that case, I don’t think I would buy any gun or rifle for my nephews.Gosh, I don’t know how it would turn out to be if I brought it back after 9-11 incident. I bet it would be a real hell for me then. I might have been caught and become headlines in every news..

  • Xis

    Kev
    a very interesting entry. Thanks for sharing your real experience on this.

    I remember I was supposed to fly to Newark on Dec 20, 2001 to spend my holidays there. Plus I was invited by my good friend to join their christmas cum birthday party. All had been arranged for me prior to that Sept 11 thing. But after Sept 11, I heard they had tightened their security. I heard many Asians, especially muslims and those who have “bin” in their name got interrogated like a criminal. That really scared me and because of that, I cancelled my trip. At least, I don’t have to undergo such an interrogation.

    Anyway, I remember when leaving USA back in 1999, I brought back with my a toy rifle. My cousin’s son asked me to buy that. So, I kept it in my hand-carry luggage. And guess what happened. At the check-point, the security officer asked me to open my luggage. And just imagine around me, there were a few more officers. They were shocked to find a rifle in my luggage, but then relieved to know it was just a toy. But they didn’t let me bring along that toy. Instead, they passed it to the flight officer to keep. When I arrived in KL, they called me and gave back my rifle. Since that case, I don’t think I would buy any gun or rifle for my nephews.

    Gosh, I don’t know how it would turn out to be if I brought it back after 9-11 incident. I bet it would be a real hell for me then. I might have been caught and become headlines in every news..

  • Kevin Zahri

    yeah traveling to the US is def not what it used to be…but I don’t blame them as well.

  • Kevin Zahri

    yeah traveling to the US is def not what it used to be…but I don’t blame them as well.

  • Xis

    Kevsince that 911, have you been to the States? I wanted to, but then I’m quite worried with the way they might treat me upon arrival. Who knows I might be sending back home straight. But then, to think of it, why should I worry too much.. am not a terrorist though.. right?

  • Xis

    Kev
    since that 911, have you been to the States? I wanted to, but then I’m quite worried with the way they might treat me upon arrival. Who knows I might be sending back home straight. But then, to think of it, why should I worry too much.. am not a terrorist though.. right?

  • Kevin Zahri

    haven’t been there since…probably someday….the flight is damn long

  • Kevin Zahri

    haven’t been there since…probably someday….the flight is damn long

  • Xis

    Kevyup.. that’s true.. one day flight. I wish there’s a shortcut to get there. Anyway is that the same knife you had in your bag? If yes.. geez.. if you come to my house now, I’d be more than suspicious.. who knows you might use it to kill me.. LOL!!

  • Xis

    Kev
    yup.. that’s true.. one day flight. I wish there’s a shortcut to get there. Anyway is that the same knife you had in your bag? If yes.. geez.. if you come to my house now, I’d be more than suspicious.. who knows you might use it to kill me.. LOL!!

  • shay

    xis,i’ve been to states two times (2005 and 2006) after 911. the security is not really that stringent compared to security checking in 2001. if your entry point is LA or NY, probably it will be more stricter than other entry points – they go through all your luggages and do thorough checking.my entry point was chicago and everything went smoothly.they dont even bother looking at my luggage.maybe because i am a lady and doesn’t look like a terrorist :)no offense kevin.you doesn’t look like a terrorist at all.but how a small knife can lead to a disaster eh? not your lucky day i think…but who cares right? you survived and handled the situation well…malaysia is the best place to stay!

  • shay

    xis,
    i’ve been to states two times (2005 and 2006) after 911. the security is not really that stringent compared to security checking in 2001. if your entry point is LA or NY, probably it will be more stricter than other entry points – they go through all your luggages and do thorough checking.
    my entry point was chicago and everything went smoothly.they dont even bother looking at my luggage.
    maybe because i am a lady and doesn’t look like a terrorist :)

    no offense kevin.you doesn’t look like a terrorist at all.but how a small knife can lead to a disaster eh? not your lucky day i think…but who cares right? you survived and handled the situation well…malaysia is the best place to stay!

  • Syafique

    A story well told, Kev. My brother is in the US and I doubt I will visit him any time soon. I’m sure they would do a thorough check on me if I wanted to apply for US Visa.

  • Syafique

    A story well told, Kev.

    My brother is in the US and I doubt I will visit him any time soon. I’m sure they would do a thorough check on me if I wanted to apply for US Visa.

  • Xis

    Shaywell.. if I fly to the states, NY would be my entry point. Geez.. I can’t imagine myself being interrogated. My US visa is still valid till 2010. I might as well go back there before it expires. Coz I believe applying for US visa would be tougher by then..

  • Xis

    Shay
    well.. if I fly to the states, NY would be my entry point. Geez.. I can’t imagine myself being interrogated.

    My US visa is still valid till 2010. I might as well go back there before it expires. Coz I believe applying for US visa would be tougher by then..

  • HafeeZ RashiD

    my bro kevin,dh lama rsnya i didnt commented anything rite here. aduss.. ur story masa nk returned from states really terrible la. huh. btw i am going to NY dis coming Nov 2 pursue my studies. hope evrything will b fine. pray 4 me dude.

  • HafeeZ RashiD

    my bro kevin,
    dh lama rsnya i didnt commented anything rite here. aduss.. ur story masa nk returned from states really terrible la. huh.
    btw i am going to NY dis coming Nov 2 pursue my studies. hope evrything will b fine. pray 4 me dude.

  • malbatt

    Uikk… mana post psl marka hang? awat dibuang?Interesting story. Can’t imagine myself being in ur place.BTW, what is Islam and jihad in ur own words… (not more than 2000 words). heheWhat did u tell them? I mean, what they actually wanted to know?

  • malbatt

    Uikk… mana post psl marka hang? awat dibuang?

    Interesting story. Can’t imagine myself being in ur place.

    BTW, what is Islam and jihad in ur own words… (not more than 2000 words). hehe
    What did u tell them? I mean, what they actually wanted to know?

  • ikanbilis

    great. guess what? i’m going next January for an exchange. and i don’t think i’m going to have any carry-on lugagge with me. i’d just wear a decent attire and bring a novel on my hand. having “Muhammad” and “Bin” was suppose to noble but, urgh. damn american security!

  • ikanbilis

    great. guess what? i’m going next January for an exchange. and i don’t think i’m going to have any carry-on lugagge with me. i’d just wear a decent attire and bring a novel on my hand. having “Muhammad” and “Bin” was suppose to noble but, urgh. damn american security!

  • em

    I’ve been living in the States for 8 years now, pre and post 9/11 and so far, I’ve not had any trouble flying in and out of the country. Neither does my mom when she flies to Msia once a year. But my dad does have some concern about Malaysians not liking Americans (which I don’t think he will ever have any problem with that). It’s true that they will do a very thorough background check on anyone who applies for visa after 9/11 and not all will get it. It took me 3 years to get my green card! It was a pain in the neck but this is where I call home now so I wanted to feel safe. But again, you just never know.By the way, selamat berkenalan Kevin!

  • em

    I’ve been living in the States for 8 years now, pre and post 9/11 and so far, I’ve not had any trouble flying in and out of the country. Neither does my mom when she flies to Msia once a year. But my dad does have some concern about Malaysians not liking Americans (which I don’t think he will ever have any problem with that). It’s true that they will do a very thorough background check on anyone who applies for visa after 9/11 and not all will get it. It took me 3 years to get my green card! It was a pain in the neck but this is where I call home now so I wanted to feel safe. But again, you just never know.

    By the way, selamat berkenalan Kevin!

  • Xis

    KevJust dropped by to wish you Happy Ramadhan… may you be blessed always. Take care.

  • Xis

    Kev
    Just dropped by to wish you Happy Ramadhan… may you be blessed always. Take care.

  • Kevin Zahri

    Well people don’t like how America has tightened its security on foreigners, especially “you know who”….but can you blame them? I don’t but I still don’t like it lah ;)Yeah…Selamat Berpuasa to all!

  • Kevin Zahri

    Well people don’t like how America has tightened its security on foreigners, especially “you know who”….but can you blame them? I don’t but I still don’t like it lah ;)

    Yeah…Selamat Berpuasa to all!

  • Lene

    I was laughing like crazy when I read this post. It’s just so funny! Well I went to America some time end of Spring 2005. I didn’t have any problem with my visa application interview, point of entry immigration process or during security checks. Unfortunately a few of my Malay male interns’ visa application got rejected. The same bunch of guys also went through a 24-hour interrogation session at DEN immigration office and missed their flight.Looking forward to go back to America. Miss that place.

  • Lene

    I was laughing like crazy when I read this post. It’s just so funny!

    Well I went to America some time end of Spring 2005. I didn’t have any problem with my visa application interview, point of entry immigration process or during security checks.

    Unfortunately a few of my Malay male interns’ visa application got rejected. The same bunch of guys also went through a 24-hour interrogation session at DEN immigration office and missed their flight.

    Looking forward to go back to America. Miss that place.

  • Roronoa Zoro

    interesting story. But I think everyone who bears ‘bin’/’binti’ in their name is a suspect. world peace? yeah right!happy ramadhan!

  • Roronoa Zoro

    interesting story. But I think everyone who bears ‘bin’/’binti’ in their name is a suspect.

    world peace? yeah right!

    happy ramadhan!

  • az

    Hey Kev,

    Interesting story!
    And yeah, I do agree with roronoa zoro,I was detained in Sydney airport just because my surname is Mohd!
    Nuff said :P

  • az

    Hey Kev,Interesting story!And yeah, I do agree with roronoa zoro,I was detained in Sydney airport just because my surname is Mohd!Nuff said :P

  • taz

    My wife’s relative was working in NY when the attack happened. We had a hell of a time trying to contact him while watching CNN. He told us he was lucky cos he was still in Brooklyn at the time. A few days later by dad was detained for 2 hours in HK airport. All because the flight was full of Pakistanis and for having ‘bin’ as a name..And also for having syringes (he’s a diabetic) in his hand luggage. All ‘reasons’ to be detained.

  • taz

    My wife’s relative was working in NY when the attack happened. We had a hell of a time trying to contact him while watching CNN. He told us he was lucky cos he was still in Brooklyn at the time.

    A few days later by dad was detained for 2 hours in HK airport. All because the flight was full of Pakistanis and for having ‘bin’ as a name..

    And also for having syringes (he’s a diabetic) in his hand luggage. All ‘reasons’ to be detained.

  • akmarb

    same thing happened to my bro when he went to france for a conference early this year. the airport officials detained him right after they saw him. i admit that my bro looks like one of the afghan. a day before he departed, he shaved his beard, moustache (botak licin muka dia.. hahaha.. we all laughed because he looked so ‘wierd’ without the hairs). he sent me sms whilst in detention. we were so terkejut and definitely risau at the same time. but alhamdullilah, one of the high ranking army officer who joined for the conference cleared the situation. the 11/9 really gives big impact to muslims. herm… by the way kan.. if you want know who is the actual culprit, u should read “the untold stories about terrorism” by Salim Farouq. darn! you would be suprised man (fuh! really got carried away here.. hehe) ok lah.. may Allah bless us. aminn..

  • akmarb

    same thing happened to my bro when he went to france for a conference early this year. the airport officials detained him right after they saw him. i admit that my bro looks like one of the afghan. a day before he departed, he shaved his beard, moustache (botak licin muka dia.. hahaha.. we all laughed because he looked so ‘wierd’ without the hairs). he sent me sms whilst in detention. we were so terkejut and definitely risau at the same time. but alhamdullilah, one of the high ranking army officer who joined for the conference cleared the situation. the 11/9 really gives big impact to muslims. herm… by the way kan.. if you want know who is the actual culprit, u should read “the untold stories about terrorism” by Salim Farouq. darn! you would be suprised man (fuh! really got carried away here.. hehe) ok lah.. may Allah bless us. aminn..

  • mamamiya

    hi..i having problem with my weight..underweight bmi 17.5, w=47.5, h=162..any suggestion to increase my weight..i just signup with celebrity fitness..rase malu sgt2 org pandang je i..org kurus masuk gym

  • mamamiya

    hi..i having problem with my weight..underweight bmi 17.5, w=47.5, h=162..any suggestion to increase my weight..i just signup with celebrity fitness..rase malu sgt2 org pandang je i..org kurus masuk gym

  • mamamiya

    sorry..wrong posting

  • mamamiya

    sorry..wrong posting

  • mamamiya, no problem…utk weight gain,you need 3 things
    1) eat more than you like. 5-6 times per day
    2) latihan weight training untuk merangsang tumbesaran otot
    3) supplement like whey protein and creatine untuk mempercepatkan proses.

  • mamamiya, no problem…utk weight gain,you need 3 things
    1) eat more than you like. 5-6 times per day
    2) latihan weight training untuk merangsang tumbesaran otot
    3) supplement like whey protein and creatine untuk mempercepatkan proses.

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  • anonymous

    No, you’re wrong. Muslim is not a terrorist. You do not understand the real meaning of Jihad. Jihad is not terrorism. Jihad and terrorism are completely different. About the war. the one who attacked Gaza and Palestine is Israel. The one who killed children and people in Gaza is Israel. So, why must Muslim, who’re willing to die in order to protect their religion, country and family are labeled as terrorists and why the one who, without hesitating killed so many children and people are not labeled as terrorist? You’re Muslim. But, what you do in your life? Are you protecting your brothers and sisters in Gaza (who have been labeled as terrorist by the Israel laknatullah) by telling and agreeing with Israel that they are terrorists? Please understand the meaning of terrorist and the meaning of Jihad before you come out with your own conclusion. Terrorist is not jihad and Jihad is not terrorist. Muslim do not killed people without any reason like what Israel do. Muslim do not kill people just because they’re not a Muslim. That’s not Jihad. Please do not be confused by the propaganda of Israel laknatullah. Peace be upon to you.

    “O you who have believed, when you meet those who disbelieve advancing [for battle], do not turn to them your backs [in flight]. And whoever turns his back
    to them on such a day, unless swerving [as a strategy] for
    war or joining [another] company, has certainly returned with
    anger [upon him] from Allah , and his refuge is Hell – and
    wretched is the destination.” [Al-Anfal 8:15-16]

    “Fight in the way of Allah those who fight you but do not transgress. Indeed. Allah does not like transgressors.” [Al-Baqarah 2:190]