High Kicking to Freedom: American Dancer Told to Dance in Airport by Israeli Security

The arrival of the famous Alvin Ailey dance troupe in Jerusalem has resulted in a growing controversy over the treatment of a black dancer with a Muslim name. Abdur-Rahim Jackson was told twice to dance before security personnel before he was eventually released. When he successfully danced for his freedom, one security agent reportedly suggested that he might want to change his name.

He told security that he was a professional dancer –which led to demands that he prove it. When he was asked to dance, Jackson seemed to take it with remarkable understanding:
“I stood up. I asked what type of dance?” He said, “Just do anything.’ I just moved around.” That would not be have been my answer and I probably would still be sitting in the holding cell.

A little while later another officer told him to dance again. It appears that terrorists cannot dance.

I suppose that he should consider himself lucky that he did not claim to be a taxidermist or proctologist.

For the full story, click here and here.

10 thoughts on “High Kicking to Freedom: American Dancer Told to Dance in Airport by Israeli Security”

  1. I imagine one of the first things a terrorist would do before going thru their security would be CHANGE HIS NAME.

  2. Dancer was not told to dance, he was asked to dance. The guy has an Islamic name, unlike other religions, Islam very greatly emphasizes political ideology, and according to its imperialistic political, they are at war with non-Muslims, particularly Jews, therefore an Islamic name rightly is one of hundreds of possible things that might prompt respectful questioning, questioning that is very routine for El Al.

    That guy got off easy. Back when I was a law student of Turley’s, after doing my summer clerking stint, I flew out to Israel to take a few classes for the remainder of the summer, but I hadn’t prepared adequately and couldn’t exchange currency in time, so the New York branch of the firm I’d worked for sent someone to the airport to give me some shekels. El Al asked me who I was, what I was going to do, names of my professors (I didn’t know), how I’d get to the university (didn’t know), name of person that gave me the shekels (didn’t know), then asked me law questions! I’d lived mostly out of the U.S. and was a bit unprepared for the trip. I was held for *hours* with questions, then seated between 2 soldiers. No biggie, common sense good security.

  3. Is that what they were screaming at the rnc? “Bring it Back!, Bring it Back!” And I thought they meant bush, or maybe mccain and cheney had been reanimated. Glad to have that cleared up. All better now!

  4. “Yes, it’s high time for a torture round table.”


    We had one – the rack and the wheel!

  5. Yes, it’s high time for a torture round table. It’s a way to draw people together–kind of like a business trust building seminar. Lets get China, Russia, Egypt, Israel, Iran, North Korea and the US to exchange ideas. I’m seeing it! Lots of good stuff.

  6. MASskeptic,

    I think this is both a symptom and a problem. I believe as you do, that many things are far worse, but this is still wrong. Saying this is wrong isn’t dimishing the true horror of the much worse things that you mention.

    In fact, bush just said today that we need to go “interrogate”, (which I believe is French for torture), people on the ground in Pakistan. That is offensive, stupid, destructive, horrible and it will blow up in our face. Another fine idea brought to you by cheney/bush and friends.

  7. Everything I’ve seen suggests that he was asked to dance in a holding area, it’s not like they paraded him out in front of a whole terminal full of people.

    What’s wrong about this is that they singled him out because of his name. Actions like that remove someones identity and replace it with a label that dehumanizes them.

    Yes that is sad, but lets be honest here. Asking him to demonstrate his skill was the least invasive, fastest way to resolve their suspicion.

    This is not a story about strip or cavity searches. He was not detained for more than a few hours. If we’re going to be horrified or offended lets worry about those teenagers being executed by Israeli police or terrorists saying that destroying Israel is the will of Allah.

    This is a symptom, not the problem.

  8. All that’s missing is shooting bullets at his feet. Do these guards do nothing but watch westerns in their spare time? Is this a Gitmo innovation?
    Alvin Ailey is a great dance troupe. I’m certain these security guards will be well portrayed in a future piece! I can’t wait to see it!

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