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الاثنين، 20 مايو 2013

A Saudi, a pressure cooker and the FBI…

A Saudi, a pressure cooker and the FBI…

Ali Khan Mahmudabad

May 17, 2013

What do you get when you put a Saudi student, the FBI and a 'bullet coloured’ pressure cooker together? Kabsah! Talal al-Rouqi, an Arab student in Michigan had cooked his favourite rice and meat dish, Kabsah (also know as Mandi) and was walking over to share it with his other Arab friend when a neighbor spotted him strolling in public with a 'bullet coloured’ pressure cooker. Naturally, worried about the swarthy looking young man’s intentions, especially given the Tsarnaev brother’s use of the pressure cooker as a bomb container, the conscious citizen decided to report the incident to the FBI. Armed agents surrounded the Al-Rouqi’s apartment, asked to enter the premises and then quizzed him on his sojourn of two days earlier. Al-Rouqi explained that he was merely cooking dinner and sharing it with a friend. I am sure if he had not been so nervous, as he admitted to the Saudi newspaper 'Ukaz, he would have offered to cook a pot so that they could take it, though obviously the public parading of the pressure cooker would risk upsetting passers-by. When leaving al-Rouqi’s apartment the FBI officer present turned to him and said 'you need to be more careful moving around with such things, Sir.’ Of course, calling him Sir makes it alright. Next they will be telling Arabs to be careful when appearing in public, just in case someone gets upset.
In another incident a Saudi man who was being held for irregularities to do with his passport was also quizzed and detained for bringing two pressure cookers from Saudi Arabia for his nephew. The nephew had complained the ones in America are cheap, break easily and generally don’t do a good job. He helpfully also added that in case he did want to create an improvised device he would not try and import an authentic Saudi pressure cooker rather than use the cheap western ones which are widely available. Obviously, the threat from an 'Ay-Rab’ pressure cooker is much greater than one sold in the U.S. of A. Incidentally, the international transport of pressure cookers is becoming quite a serious issue. An Indian friend in Cambridge wanted to bring a pressure cooker from India to cook daal but was wisely advised against it by his friends. Having read the news of the Saudi student he seems very relieved. In an unexpected twist, the import of pressure cookers to America from abroad by visiting aliens, in the rest of the world also known as tourists, might actually be a very real need because in the aftermath of the Boston bombings, Williams-Sonoma, a home furnishing chain, temporarily pulled pressure cooker stocks from their shops.
Now that carrying everyday items is a sign of being a potential suspect, especially if one has too much melanin (even though the Tsarnaev brothers looked more Caucasian than anything else), I have some advice for brown people and in particular Muslims in America. Please be more careful about using your cycles in public because they have steel ball bearings. If you want to hang a painting on your wall please do not go out and buy nails but rather ask someone else to buy them for you. In general avoid hardware stores because Muslims only ever go there to shop for improvised explosive devices. Your trip to fix the barbecue might result in the whole area being shut down. Never ever carry a bag or rucksack in public unless it is made of completely transparent material. Please carry pocket watches or a sun-dial as the digital watches most people wear could be construed to be timers. Most importantly, only use plastic boxes to carry food to friend’s houses. And before I forget, a quick disclaimer: I typed all this on a samurai-sword coloured computer. I know, I know! I will get a white one soon.
While pressure cookers are causing such angst, in America it is still be possible for people to go out and buy pistols, guns, sniper rifles and even automatic weapons over the counter. The day the war on pressure cookers was being conducted in Michigan, an average of 8 children and 75 adults would have died because of gun related crimes. Zero American citizens died that day because of terrorism. We are told about the war on terror everyday but then where is the war on guns? The war on poverty? The war on diseases? The war on road accidents? The war on obeisity? The war on smoking? The answer probably lies in the fact that all these problems need care, investment and money to be spent on them but do not provide a way of making money.


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