American-Yemeni feels shaken up Coming home to Yemen [Archives:2003/09/Front Page]

February 3 2003

A man caught in a post-Sept. 11 terror sweep – but quickly cleared of fraud charges – said he’s lost his job, never received an apology from the government and now plans to return to his native Yemen.
On Saturday, Mohamed Nasser Alajji, 31, will head to the airport in Detroit, where an FBI agent will give him his passport so he can leave on a Royal Jordanian flight to Yemen, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
“I don’t feel safe anymore,” Alajji told The Detroit News in an interview published Wednesday. “I think all Muslims are under suspicion. These accusations are totally false.”
Though Alajji has had a green card allowing him to live in United States legally since 1995 – and had applied for U.S. citizenship in October – he said he’s had enough.
“I don’t plan to come back to the United States until the laws change,” he said.
State police and federal agents arrested Alajji on Dec. 19 at a truck stop near Springfield, about 120 miles west of Detroit, charging him with providing false information to obtain a Social Security card.
New York police had gotten a call two days earlier from a man identifying himself as Alajji’s ex-brother-in-law, and alleging Alajji was a terrorist plotting a “bin Laden al-Qaida” terror attack.
On Dec. 27, U.S. Magistrate Judge Steven Pepe ruled the government failed to build a sufficient case, terrorism or otherwise, against Alajji. Pepe said he had to look past the pressures of the post-Sept. 11 environment when making his decision.
“Some of the darkest chapters in this country’s history have happened when we’ve let our fears blind us,” Pepe said. “This is a serious complaint, and it would be quite easy for me to let it go forward and let this government investigation continue.”
One of Alajji’s lawyers, Nabih Ayad, said the terrorist accusation stemmed from a bitter divorce and custody battle between Alajji and his ex-wife. The former in-law recanted his allegation the week Alajji was released.
Ayad also called the dismissal of charges a victory for Arab Americans, who he said have been unfairly targeted since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
But the head of the U.S. Attorney’s anti-terrorism task force in Detroit said he and his colleagues do not owe Alajji an apology. “That’s a ridiculous question. We do our duty,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Cares said.