Culture

‘Welcome to America’: Australia’s First Female Muslim Parliamentarian ‘Interrogated’ at LAX

Faruqi told ABC Australia she was traveling to the U.S. to learn about drug law reform, and also to visit family.

Australia’s first female, Muslim lawmaker was dragged in for interrogation at Los Angeles International Airport, according to Australian news reports.

Mehreen Faruqi is a member of the Australian parliament, representing New South Wales, ABC Australia reports. She posted to Twitter on Thursday that she flew into LAX and was promptly fingerprinted. Airport security then asked her how she and her travel companions “got” Australian passports.

 

“Welcome to America,” she wrote wryly.

Faruqi immigrated to Australia from Pakistan in 1992 and joined the Greens Party in 2004. She became a member of parliament in 2013.

Faruqi told ABC Australia she was traveling to the U.S. to learn about drug law reform, and also to visit family.

“Being asked how ‘we got’ Australian passports and then about my Pakistani history clearly points towards racial profiling,” she said in a statement to the news agency.

“It is quite ridiculous, nerve wracking and scary to be treated so suspiciously for no reason and sent off to be interrogated,” she continued. “There is no excuse for treating people this way. I’ve come to the US to find out more about drugs policy reform and to meet family. To be treated with such hostility at Los Angeles airport is the last thing you expect.”

Before departing to the United States, the MP, who holds a PhD in environmental engineering, took to her Facebook page to explain her reasons for visiting.

“In the coming days, I’ll be embarking on a self-funded fact-finding trip to the United States, in part to meet with leading drug law reform experts, advocates and campaigners,” she wrote. “There is a real mood for change in Australia now, and it’s imperative we look at where reform efforts are happening around the world to determine the best way forward at home.”

Bethania Palma Markus is a Los Angeles-based freelance journalist.

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