Stamp caught in 'war on terror'

DAN TOTH -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 10:19 AM ET

Rahim Abdullah wishes he was considered a security risk solely along opposition offensive lines. That, the Calgary Stampeders defensive lineman insists, would be warranted after spending the last five seasons terrorizing quarterbacks throughout the CFL.

Yet tomorrow's five-year anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre and Pentagon only serves to remind Abdullah he is now considered a security risk for other reasons.

His name.

And his religion.

"I get random searched every time I fly," Abdullah said this week.

The Jacksonville Beach, Fla., native is Muslim and so is his brother, teammate Khalid Abdullah.

His father and mother both converted and Rahim was the first child in his family who was born into that faith.

And Abdullah believes his name -- which he says means 'merciful server of God' -- now makes him a target of security checks whenever he flies in the U.S.

"If I fly five times, I get searched five times,"Abdullah said.

"Go into the special line, take off your shoes, all kinds of stuff. And it's all because of my name.

"Always in America, when I'm back home and I'm flying, I always get searched. All the time.

"The first time I went to Toronto (from the U.S.), after 9/11, they gave me a real hard time. Basically, a full body and cavity search. Not quite but something like that. I had to get naked, had to strip down. They went through my bags, it was crazy."

Abdullah, who's in his second year with the Stamps after breaking into the CFL with the Edmonton Eskimos, returns to Jacksonville Beach during the off-season.

Time in his home country has made him skeptical of the U.S.-led 'war on terror' initiated by president George Bush following the 9/11 attacks.

"America says it has a war against terror, right? It's a lie," said Abdullah.

"It's not a war against terror, it's a war against Islam. If it was a war against terror, not only would al- Qaida be a target for America, the Ku Klux Klan would be a target because the Ku Klux Klan is the oldest and biggest terrorist organization there is and they operate freely. They have fundraisers, they have rallies, all sorts of things. It's a hypocrisy going on."

Abdullah is also angry at al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, who masterminded the 9/11 attacks, for perverting the teachings of Islam and making many non-Muslims wary of the faith.

"Those people who did 9/11 -- Bin Laden or whoever it was -- they weren't Muslims. They were just terrorists," Abdullah said.

Abdullah said attitudes are much different in our country than in the U.S.

"I haven't run into that problem here in Canada," Abdullah said.

"People in Canada are more diverse, you have everyone here. In America, if you're not black, you're white. If you're not white, you're black. That's the way they look at it.

"It's crazy, just because of a person's name."


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