Since 9/11 I’ve always heard stories of Muslims all over the world being discriminated by the U.S government just because of their Muslim names. Back in 2011 even a friend of mine was denied entry visa to U.S because of his name. However I never though I would ever have to face the same dilemma myself.
The first sign that something was wrong came in last July when I tried to send the my student visa payments to Malaysia via Telegraphic Transfer from Bank of Maldives. This transaction was rejected by the bank and a letter was issued asking me to prove my identity. The transaction was finally approved when I provided copies of my National Identity card and Passport. The same thing happened recently when my sponsor tried to send me my monthly stipends.
Apparently what has been happening is that when people try to send me money via BML to overseas, it gets routed through a U.S bank since it has to be converted to U.S dollars first. Normally this shouldn’t be a problem but unfortunately my name is listed somewhere on a U.S government list (possibly the 314(a) list) of people that require extra verification for financial transactions. Why this is so, I don’t have the faintest idea.
My speculation is that the U.S government haven’t blacklisted me specifically (they shouldn’t have a reason to), but it’s my name that’s been blacklisted. Quite possibly someone somewhere that’s been labelled a “terrorist” by the U.S government shares the same name with me. Now I wouldn’t know the number of people in the world who’s name is “Arushad Ahmed” but it definetely must be a lot. So in my opinion this is a very inefficient way of trying to catch a criminal. It even goes against the universal principle of Presumption of Innocence since in this case the person is being presumed guilty until his innocence is proven.
If you are a high profile terrorist being pursued by the most powerful nation in the world will you be doing your financial transactions in your own name? Or would you even be using a bank in the first place? Even if a terrorist decides to use the banking system, their name shouldn’t be the primary means of identifying them. In this day and age there must be much more smarter ways of preventing money laundering and funding of criminal activities than punishing unrelated innocent people just by association with their names.
Americans can’t seem to understand why the rest of the world is always pissed with them. What they don’t realize is that it is because of these intrusive actions by their government which is affecting the daily lives of people like us who have nothing to do with the U.S.A whatsoever. As Edward Snowden has revealed about the NSA, the U.S government is not only violating the rights of the rest of the world, but also of their own citizens. Therefore I call upon common U.S citizens to do something about these atrocities being committed by your government.