The United Arab Emirates warned citizens against wearing traditional garb abroad on Saturday after an Emirati man wearing a robe and headdress was falsely accused of “pledging allegiance to ISIS” and briefly detained in Ohio, Al Jazeera reports.
41-year-old Ahmed al-Menhali says he was in the Cleveland area for medical care when he entered an Avon, Ohio, hotel on Wednesday looking for a room. According to WEWS-TV, the hotel clerk’s sister then called 911 to report a man “in full head dress with multiple disposable phones pledging his allegiance to ISIS.”
A video later released by police shows officers arriving at the scene with guns drawn and ordering al-Menhali to the ground. After handcuffing al-Menhali and speaking with the hotel clerk, officers found that he “did not, in fact, make any statements related to ISIS,” WEWS-TV reports.
After the incident, Avon’s mayor and police chief personally apologized to al-Menhali and the UAE’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs tweeted a warning urging “citizens traveling outside the state to not to wear uniforms when traveling, especially in public places in order to preserve their safety.”
ننوه مواطني الدولة المسافرين خارج الدولة إلى عدم لَبْس الزِّي الرسمي أثناء سفرهم وخاصة في الأماكن العامة وذلك حفاظاً على سلامتهم #تواجدي— تواجدي (@Twajudi) July 2, 2016
“There was nothing to give you cause to think [I’m] a ‘terrorist’,” al-Menhali told Al Jazeera. “They told the police that I was pledging allegiance to ISIS, but [said] nothing about weapons. The police responded as if there were weapons.”