Sept 11th 2002: The day I was a Suspect Terrorist!

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!

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