Driving While Muslim

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I was returning a U-haul truck as my wife and daughter
followed behind. I pulled into a gas station and began to
fill the truck. My wife pulled in behind me, stopped, and
waited for me to finish. My wife wears the full Islamic covering
including the face veil and I have an Islamic beard.
My 2-year-old daughter crawled out of her car seat and sat
in my wife’s lap, waiting for me to finish. My wife then
noticed a police vehicle circling around her. He then
pulled up beside her, so she rolled down her window and
told him that our daughter has a car seat but was just sitting
up front until I finished. She assumed he was just
going to tell her to make sure to put our daughter in the
car seat before she pulled away. Instead he asked her if I
was her husband. She said yes. At that point I saw him
speaking with her so I went over and asked the officer if I
could help him. He asked my name. He then told me he
needed to speak with me. He pulled me to the side and
began asking me if I was ever questioned by the FBI or was
on a terrorist watch list. I said no, I had never spoken with
the FBI. I told him that I had issues in the airports with
having to get cleared with DHS (Department of Homeland
Security) before boarding. He then told me that when he
ran the plates on my vehicle, his computer screen
returned a message that he should detain me as I may be a
member of a terrorist organization and that he had to call
me in. I laughed when he told me this. He asked me why I
thought this message came up and I told him I have no
He then said, “You are Muslim, right?” I told him yes.
My wife then got out of the car and asked the officer why I
was being questioned. He repeated the message on his
computer screen and offered to let us see it if we wished.
Then she said that she is tired of being harassed all
because we are Muslim and because of the clothing she
chooses to wear.
The police officer got defensive and said it had nothing
to do with her, that it was only me. So I asked him why he
ran our plates to begin with and he said because he just
randomly runs plates. He said he called the situation in
and he had to hold me until he received a response on his
radio. He walked away and spoke into his radio and then
2 more police cars came and 2 other officers got out. They
pulled the first officer to the side and spoke with him privately.
Then all three officers came over and the first officer
told me I could go. I asked for all of their cards and they
did not have any but rather the first officer gave me his
information. One of the other officers said that if I had a
complaint he was the Sergeant and I could complain to
him. I explained that I did not have a complaint with
them, only needed information to try to understand why
this was happening and that I found it unacceptable to be
harassed in such a manner without cause.
The first officer then asked me if I was moving and I
said yes. He then asked me where. At this point I told him
I would not answer any more questions and he confirmed
that I did not have to answer his questions. I then asked
them if this would happen again and they said probably. I
then asked what I could do to stop this and he said I might
want to start with calling a federal agency. I asked him
which one and he said he did not know.
My wife and I then got back into our vehicles and
drove off.

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