There was very unfortunate incident last week when medical patient wearing traditional UAE clothing was thought to be an ISIS fighter by front desk clerk at Fairfield Inn and Suites by Marriott in Avon, Ohio.
The clerk had texted her sister and father that in turn had contacted the police claiming that the UAE man had pledged an alliance to ISIS. Soon the Emirate found himself restrained by the police and collapsed after being released.
Here’s an excerpt from Cleveland.com (access the piece here):
An Avon hotel clerk who falsely accused an Emirati man of pledging his allegiance to ISIS may face criminal charges, the police chief said.
Officers stormed the Fairfield Inn and Suites on Colorado Avenue Wednesday evening with assault rifles drawn and arrested Ahmed Almenhali of The United Arab Emirates. He was dressed in a head wrap and traditional Muslim attire.
Police then spoke to the hotel clerk, who told officers the man did not make any statements related to ISIS.
A woman identified herself as the clerk’s sister and told a dispatcher that the clerk told her to call police on a recording of the 911 call.
“There’s a male in a headdress with multiple disposable phones pledging his allegiance to ISIS, which is very panicky,” the woman said.
The woman said the clerk was texting her from the hotel about a “suspicious man.”
A man then called 911 and said he was the clerk’s father. The man told a dispatcher that the clerk sent him a text saying she was “terrified.”
And here’s an excerpt from New York Times (access the piece here):
Officers rushed Mr. Menhali outside the hotel with guns drawn, pinned him to the ground, handcuffed him, searched his clothes and wallet, and took off his shoes to check his feet. Police body-camera video of the encounter shows Mr. Menhali, who appeared to speak limited English, saying: “What is this?” “I’m tourist,” and “Not good,” while he was on the ground.
The Avon Police Department released audio and video of the episode to the news media, and the recordings were uploaded to YouTube.
About 10 minutes into the encounter, as the likelihood of any arrest appeared to dissipate and Mr. Menhali was allowed to stand up, he collapsed on the pavement. An ambulance took him to St. John’s Medical Center, the police said; local news reports said he had been treated for minor injuries and released.
And here’s statement from Marriott released today:
Marriott International is aware of the incident that occurred at the Fairfield Inn & Suites, in Avon, Ohio that resulted in a gentleman who entered the hotel being apprehended and briefly detained by local authorities. This was a terrible misunderstanding and we deeply regret what happened to Mr. Al Menhali. Diversity and inclusion is a core principle of Marriott’s operations and we remain committed to providing a welcoming environment. We have been in regular contact with the hotel since the incident and we will be following up to discuss diversity and inclusion training designed to help prevent this type of situation.
I guess that Marriott should make some cultural training available to its hotel employees in the US and worldwide.
If someone gets scared for person wearing traditional Arab clothing claiming that they are pledging an alliance to the ISIS (doubt that the clerk understood any Arabic), they really shouldn’t be working in a hotel.