Officially Innocent | Teen Ink

Officially Innocent

May 11, 2015
By S.K.Afzal BRONZE, Burlington, Massachusetts
S.K.Afzal BRONZE, Burlington, Massachusetts
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Carpe Diem."

Officially Innocent

My name is Abbas Ali and I'm a 30 year old man. I have been on the no-fly list for the past 5 years.

"Terrorist go back to your home country
I bet he hides gun under that Kufi of his
Oh my god I'm too young to die
Please don't let him board with us
I will not tolerate this injustice to the American folk
I will not ride the same plane as a jihadist
Ew he smells like camel poop
Omg look at the mailce in his eyes
I bet he kills children for fun
He must be a terrorist, did u see the way he talked
Did u see the way he said thank you? It was SO rude
Did you see how he was smiling? He prolly has a "plan" in mind
Omg look at the size of his suitcase
He must have guns in there
Look at that searching look! I bet he's  plotting his next plan.
Did you see those biceps?! He must have that from working at jihadi camp
Did you see how angry he was at the phone-he was about to break it!
I bet he has anger issues..
Like hulk mommy?
Yes dear, just like hulk.
He went to the bathroom
He probably planted a bomb
We are all gunna die
I hate people like him
Look at him praying in the corner. I bet he's praying to his  Lord to kill us
He so ugly and filthy looking, he's teeth are yellow..
I bet he has 10 wives and beats all of them.
Mommy mommy is that Osama bin laden? Hush son he might hear you
He's on his phone! He MUST be contacting his other gang members
Look at his nose! It's broken! He must have killed someone and faked a broken nose to be a victim
These dang jihadists should all die. They don't deserve to live
I agree.
Scum of the earth.


They don't know that is my land too. I am an American Citizen and on this land is where I shall die. I have PROUDLY saluted the flag and will continue to do so.

I had gone to Pakistan to get married 5 years ago. And when I came back the officials had informed me I could never fly again. That I had some deep dark terrorist affiliations. The night vision goggles I bought off eBay when I was 21- were not for me they argued, it was for a cult that I belonged to.

I came to the airport today to see if maybe this time I could get myself removed from the no fly list. I had spoken to some officials over the past 3 years and made the argument that I was not in fact part of a cult. After they would see my signed papers and documents of innocence, I prayed they would let me through.

As I walked through the revolving doors and the blast of AC hit my face, I remembered when I had gotten my nose broken. I had just landed from my Pakistan, newly married, and used the restroom, and was heading towards my bags. I was smiling and saying alhamdulillah (thanks god). A security officer tackled me to the ground and I smashed my nose on the ground. The pain was unbearable. However, I didn't hear the smash of the glass of my phone. And with a start, I realized I left it in the bathroom! It had my wife's phone number and all our pictures!!! I said, "Please let me get my phone, please!!!" The guard thought I was speaking in code. He threw me outside with my bleeding nose as another guard brought my bags. I stood there stunned as onlookers smiled sweetly and secretly, with a glint of smugness in their eyes. Their eyes spelling out that I deserved this...

I had no way of contacting my wife until i bought a new phone a week later. All the pictures we had take were gone...I had missed her sweet, innocent voice, they way she should shyly laugh and look away when I stared at her, memorizing each little beauty and perfection in her. It was a known fact that she was one of the most beautiful and humble girls of the neighborhood. She had light skin, big, green, doe eyes and a small cute nose. I would get lost in her eyes until her melodic voice lulled me back to earth.  I thought  how lucky I was to have married her.

So here I was 5 years later, missing her yet again. They say the heart grows fonder in absence... I believed that. Even though we stayed in contact, emailing 2-3 times a week and skyping once a week, it was still not the same as actually hearing the echo of her twinkle-like laugh echoing against my skin. Ripples of pure bliss...

I still had a smile on my face remembering the time she slapped me affectionately at the beach when I threw her in the water. Her gown had gotten drenched. She pouted and wouldn't look at me until I gathered her in my arms and kissed her forehead. She had blushed and giggled, looking at me shyly through her lashes. I was still grinning when the ticketmaster handed me my ticket. She gripped on it a little too long. I smiled and politely said, "Thank you ma'am." Her gaze had softened at the corners.

As I stood clutching the one big suitcase I had, i fidgeted slightly wondering if Aaliya would like all the gifts I bought her. I hadn't had too much time to spend with her, but I realized that she loved pretty things, as every girl did. My thoughts wandered to the diamond encrusted heart, on a delicate silver chain I had recently bought her. I took it out and imagined the delicate chain on her neck. I couldn't wait to see the look on her face when I gave it to her. I sighed wistfully...

I had moved to America when I was 19. I had gotten a scholarship and was accepted in Ouveré University. My mother had been exceptionally proud and happy. I had kept my promise to her and studied hard to become a neurosurgeon. I put my suitcase in the lobby and sat in the waiting area. Checking the time on phone, I hoped my meeting with the agent was not late. I sighed with relief, I had half an hour.

I Looked through my phone and opened Jumpy Goose. Uff! This game was mentally exhausting. I died at 67 and sighed exasperated and closed my phone. I looked at the clock and decided to go get ready for the afternoon prayer. I went to the bathroom and looked at my reflection in the mirror, my usual brown calm eyes were dark with worry, the only thing that betrayed me. Every since coming back from Pakistan, I had invested myself I'm working out, it kept me from being a lovesick puppy.

I stroked my small beard and smiled. I was proud of my beard. It was the sunnah*. The prophets all had one and it was of good action to have one as well. I combed my long dark hair with my fingers and wondered what Aaliya would think of my new hair. I had worn a hat for the past 6-7 months during our skype sessions- so she wouldn't see my hair grow. I knew she loved long hair. A deep dark voice inside me said, 'IF' she would see me. I pushed away these nasty thoughts and put my hope in God.

I left after performing wudu* and prayed in a clean corner. I checked my watch and saw the time for the final meeting was finally here. I grabbed my briefcase, tightened my tie and made my way to social services department. I prayed to the Lord of all the worlds that He would unite me and my beautiful wife. I took a deep breath, closed my eyes, and knocked on the door.

You cannot change how people think of you by just telling them, you have to show them. I would prove to them that I? ... I was officially innocent.


Sunnah* the prophets traditions
Wudu* abolition that Muslims do to cleanse themselves before prayer

The author's comments:

There is a lot of racial profiling and racism that is done against Muslims-only the for the fact that they hold a different set of beliefs. This piece creates a parallel contrast between what people perceive the main character is doing, what they say about him, and what he REALLY is doing. I hope people will take away the fact that we should not cook what the media has force fed us and we should keep an open mind. We should accept people for who they truly are... Beautiful and innocent souls.

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