American Pupil Misidentified as Sri Lanka Suspect Faces Backlash

An American college pupil discovered herself caught up in a terror investigation on the opposite facet of the world this week after Sri Lankan authorities mistakenly posted her image with a listing of potential suspects within the Easter Sunday assaults that killed greater than 250 folks.

The coed, Amara Majeed, who attends Brown College in Rhode Island, posted on Fb on Thursday that her photograph was included in an alert issued by Sri Lanka’s Legal Investigation Division. The general public discover urged folks to report any particulars in regards to the potential suspects to authorities. It featured Ms. Majeed’s photograph alongside the title Fathima Qadiya, who officers say is needed in reference to the assaults.

“I’ve this morning been FALSELY recognized by the Sri Lankan authorities as one of many ISIS Easter attackers in Sri Lanka,” Ms. Majeed wrote within the Fb put up. “What a factor to get up to! That is clearly utterly false and albeit, contemplating that Muslim communities are already vastly bothered with problems with surveillance, I don’t want extra false accusations and scrutiny.”

Ms. Majeed, a outstanding United States-based Muslim activist, is the daughter of Sri Lankan immigrants. Her activism has been lauded by media organizations all over the world. Ms. Majeed has been an outspoken advocate for the American Muslim neighborhood, and in 2014 wrote a e book titled “The Foreigners,” to quash stereotypes about Islam.

Whereas nonetheless in highschool, she launched the Hijab Challenge, which inspired ladies to put on a hijab for a day and write about their experiences to fight discrimination. In 2016, she wrote an open letter to Donald Trump Jr. after he in contrast refugees to Skittles.

Ms. Majeed was alerted to the presence of her photograph within the police communication by family residing in Sri Lanka. Officers later retracted her picture from the suspect listing, saying it was a mistake, however supplied no apology or rationalization for the state of affairs. The Legal Investigation Division mentioned it was nonetheless searching for Ms. Qadiya however that the photograph was not of her.

At a information convention on Friday at an workplace of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Ms. Majeed mentioned she had woken up a day earlier in her dorm room “to 35 missed calls, all frantically informing me that I had been falsely recognized as one of many terrorists.”

The error, she mentioned, “had compromised my household’s peace of thoughts and endangered our prolonged household’s lives.” And whereas she added that her household appreciated the authorities’ correction, “we’re involved that the correction is not going to obtain almost as a lot traction because the error.”

Since posting in regards to the incident on Fb, Ms. Majeed has drawn each assist and vitriol from Sri Lankans. Her put up has been seen 1000’s of instances and has drawn tons of of feedback. Some have hurled anti-Muslim slurs at her, claiming that she is aligned with Islamic State extremists, regardless of the police admission that her photograph was incorrectly related to the suspect listing.

The Muslim neighborhood has confronted a backlash in Sri Lanka after the Islamic State claimed accountability for the assaults. Studies of mob assaults and violence towards Muslims — a minority group within the nation — have emerged within the wake of the Easter assaults.

Ms. Majeed’s Fb put up included a plea for Sri Lankan authorities to be extra diligent earlier than posting details about suspects.

“Please cease implicating and associating me with these horrific assaults,” she wrote. “And subsequent time, be extra diligent about releasing such info that has the potential to deeply violate somebody’s household and neighborhood.”

The misidentification of Ms. Majeed as a possible suspect was simply considered one of a sequence of errors made by authorities in current days. First, they ignored warnings that an assault was coming. Then, on Thursday, the loss of life toll was revised down by greater than 100, after authorities mentioned an earlier determine of greater than 350 victims was inaccurate.

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