In 2002/2003, due to a stipulation in the Patriot ACT, many Muslims in America were required to register with the US government, myself included. A large amount were arrested/detained, many were deported. Due to the big fiasco in the last couple of weeks regarding Jews in Ukraine, I figured it would be a good opportunity to inform others about what our own government did a short while back. I have written an entire piece on the topic with the link provided below.

I’ve previously done an IamA on becoming a citizen and it has a few tidbits about this situation, but I will be going more in depth about the topic since it’s much more relevant now. I do suggest to read my article/blog on the topic as it’ll give you some background. Unfortunately I won’t be able to complete the 2nd part of the piece till next week, so I will update here with the link once that is complete.

UPDATE 6:53pm ET: Thanks everyone for joining in and asking questions. I hope I've done a good job informing you and that it's lit a flame that can help us improve our policies in the future!

UPDATE May 1 9:48am ET: A few users pointed out that I did not specify that I was an illegal immigrant at the time of the arrest in the description/title itself. I posted all articles from myself and other sources that did contain this information and was available for everyone to read. I tried to do my due diligence prior to posting to ensure I was covering every piece, but I can understand that a reader may take it as an implication that I (and 85K other people) were citizens and in hindsight I should've been more descriptive about the situation within the original post itself. I received my green card in 2006, and am now a citizen. I also do feel that the Patriot ACT endangers the rights of Americans, even if you believe that the stipulation of singling out an entire race of immigrants was fair and just. My purpose was to get this information out there. Thank you for time!

UPDATE June 11 1:35pm ET: Attaching links to Part 2 of the blog regarding the topic as well as my recap regarding the AMA and the responses. Thanks.

Comments: 167 • Responses: 34  • Date: 

playboy24522111 karma

I don't mean to sound rude when i say this - you were an illegal immigrant when you were arrested. You haven't mentioned this in the description of your AMA. There was a legal basis to arrest you, it almost sounds like this wasn't the case based on what you have written. Granted singling out the muslim visa violators gets into the gray area of law enforcement, but there definitely was a valid reason other than your claim that you were arrested simply for being muslim.

I've always wanted to ask this question, you were already breaking the law of the land by staying illegally and exploited a provision in the system to become a citizen. On what basis do you expect 'fair' treatment? When you (maybe your parents) have decided to disregard the law, why is there a different expectation the other way around? You claim you are as american as any citizen of this country, but surely you (/your parents) were aware of the risks(and consequences) when you came into the country and decided to stay on as illegals. Do you realize how much of a hassle people like you create for people who want to enter the country through legal means?

sadiqsamani-10 karma

I got a couple of posts similar to this that I didn't reference that I was an illegal immigrant at the time directly in the description, though I did document it in the article I posted. So I understand how it can be perceived wrongly and I apologize for that.

As for knowing I was illegal, I was 7 when I came to this country. I was raised just like every other American kid in the sense that I went to an American school, ate McDonalds, watched Saturday morning cartoons, played baseball with my friends, etc. I'm probably more American than most. When I grew older I didn't even realize it was an issue until the Patriot ACT was passed and I was told that this was the process that would occur. Anything done past that point was to save my own livelihood. Could I just go back to Pakistan and fit right in? So it's very difficult for me to believe that "I" did something illegal, when I was unaware of the entire situation, even though the law defines it as such.

The next issue is, should the government single out a single race when there are over 12 million illegals in this country (that we know of)? And why are there this many illegals? Maybe it's part of the history and fabric of the US? Maybe this country has run on illegals that provide low wage labor? Maybe this issue is much more complex than lawful or unlawful and just or unjust? Sure one person can be considered being here illegally, but would a cattle call such as this be more than just a gray area, and a bit more abhorrent accordingly to our ideals? Maybe we catch what we define as a terrorist in the field and take them to gitmo, surely it must be okay to water board or are we just creating a false equivalency?

I think we all have some good questions, and it's great that they are brought to light. I am happy that I was able to share my experiences and learn from everyone else's.

thecowsaysmoo12344 karma

Your proof of arrest document states that you were arrested for immigration violations, not for being a muslim. Did the US government make muslim visa violators a higher priority than nonmuslim visa violators immediately after 9/11? Yes, at least according to your linked articles. But you should make it clear that you were accused (guilty?) of some visa/immigration violation, so there was in fact a legal reason to arrest you.

sadiqsamani-9 karma

I never stated that I was arrested for being a Muslim, I said that the government registered/interrogated/jailed Muslims due to a stipulation in the Patriot act. The call was for people from 12+ predominantly Muslim countries to register. 85K+ showed up willfully. It was about Muslims, not about Mexicans, or East Asians, etc.

I outlined my entire story in the article I posted, please have a read. I got married the week prior and was technically not illegally in the country anymore, but I was arrested on terms of an overstay because I didn't have my gc interview due to the fact that I got married a week prior.

Regardless, this is a heinous line the US crossed, and most Americans were unaware of this cattle call.

SgianDubh29 karma

[deleted]

sadiqsamani-13 karma

I apologize if that's what you got out of my post, but I never said I was a citizen at the time. In fact I posted a full article detailing the accounts. Nor did I say that all 85K went to jail, though I can see how the title could've been worded better.

Also, I am an American citizen now, karma means nothing, and even if it did you can obtain it from anywhere in the world. We're on the internet.

ThatSteeve9 karma

Horrible experiences. Sorry you had to go through that.

How did your opinion of America change from everything you went through under the Patriot Act?

sadiqsamani-8 karma

Well, you hear Americans ask the question, "why do they hate us?" and this type of behavior is why.

That really wasn't the end of the challenges I faced, it was only the beginning. I had a visit from the FBI a couple of years after to "check on me". I would get random checks at the airport all the time. Whenever I came back from vacation in an international city (Mexicon, Jamaica, etc.) I was checked and held for hours. Once, I came back from Montego Bay, they held me and checked all my bags and went through my notebooks. Private stuff. I'm a stand up comic so I write some deep material, and had to tell the officer to read it in context. I was checked 4 different times that day. I ended up missing my connecting flight, and had to wait another 6+ hours for the next flight. The happiness I had from vacation turned into hate.

I learned that even with all the wealth and opportunity we have in this country, we are at constant war and are really just imperials. Eventually I read more, understood more and used any aggression the system was creating inside of me to inform and educate others. After getting my citizenship, things got much easier and I'm a very happy person, even though I know we, as a country, have a lot of challenges we must face.

pyrochyde6 karma

I am confused.. Americans ask why does who hate us? Terrorists? Or who?

sadiqsamani-8 karma

Correct. "Terrorists".

David Cross' take.

Edit: seems like only the first couple of minutes is his bit. I would disregard the rest which is just background laughter.

ThatSteeve-9 karma

A serious tip: mention standup later in replies man! I stopped reading, went to your twitter, clicked through to your site, saw you had vids up, bookmarked for later. Stand up trumps serious AMA for me it seems. Does that make me a bad or shallow person?

It made me inwardly wince when I read that they went through your notebooks AND that you are a comedian. The chances of a puny brain official reading notes, scribbled half thoughts, etc non contextually & literally is a scary scary thing.

I cannot imagine the rage & violation I would feel having the FBI show up 'just to check on me' especially for something as ridiculous as the colour of my skin.

No I am not saying skin colour is ridiculous. Unless it's like some kind of fire engine red with sparkles & tangerine stripes. That would be ridiculous. But cool.

Very impressive that you've managed to take such negative experiences & channel them into a desire to educate/inform others. Instant respect earned!

Understand if you cannot or do not want to answer: Are you proud to be an American now? Are you proud of America?

Thanks for sharing your stories.

Edit: to those DMing me: the serious tip was a victim of a text only medium or my bad judgement. I'll go with text only. I wasn't calling him out. I was intending to joke that I distracted myself from the AMA. Tis all.

sadiqsamani-1 karma

Ah, I guess I didn't want to be shameless by marketing myself. I tried to keep most promotion of myself out of it and tried to stay on par with the topic. Hopefully in a couple years when I get some TV credits, I'll come back and do a proper comedy AMA.

I think the skin color you're referring to would be considered exotic! Raaawr.

That's a hard questions to answer. Cheesy and cliche as it may sound I am a one world type of person.

RaPiiD385 karma

I'm so sorry you went through this, I'm in the UK and I fear we're going down this route as well everyone I know is insanely bigoted against Muslims.

How can we eliminate the stigma surrounding Muslims and their arbitrary link to terrorism?

sadiqsamani-8 karma

Yeah, I've been reading about everything going down in UK. I actually had someone from Scotland tweet at my unused Twitter account about crap a couple of weeks back. Wrote about it. I'm visiting London next week so I'll get to do my own observations.

I think Muslims need to get up and shout that they do not align with these people. I'm not talking about just western Muslims, I'm talking worldwide. Unfortunately, the reality is that most Muslims live in countries that are very conservative, and they don't treat women well, etc. E.g. Afghanistan/Pakistan.

Another thing is to go outside of the community and make friends with others. I know many of my friends only hang out with Muslims and I think how do others get exposed to you and vice versa?

Unfortunately, it's such a intricate situation, and it has to be addressed in many ways and no one way will cure this.

King_elessar1 karma

I agree with you and you are right , they need to integrate better but it is'nt that easy . I ll give you an example where I work we have a few Muslims ranging from devout to what I call the neo western Muslims . After work we like to go out grab some beers shoot the shit , men and women both , however the Muslim women have made it clear that they wouldn't like to accompany us to a bar. Okay let's go out and eat , we are restricted to places that only offer halal, so for the sake 4 out of a 20 person team we have to Goto restaurants that serve halal , the food is delicious don't get me wrong but they usually don't serve liquor and it isn't an atmosphere where you can just chill. Every time we order pizza at work it's either veggie or cheese because someone complained to HR that we were not accommodating them because we used to order half pepperoni and half cheese pizza , they apparently smell like pepperoni. You want to invite people over for a barbecue in the summer , let me make some corn for them , or buy some halal chicken just for them . You get the jist , their way of life is incompatible with the western way of life. Have you ever tried dating Muslim women , it's close to impossible .

sadiqsamani-3 karma

I totally understand your dilemma. Though in my particular denomination you didn't have to strictly have halal, you just couldn't eat pork. So we would order one with ground beef for the two Muslims in the office. However, as I questioned more I saw others eating pork and I was like, "they don't seem to care they are going to hell and nothing is happening to them. They are enjoying it!" It's like I could beef, or chicken or even alligator, but I couldn't eat pork. That's like my parents telling me I couldn't use elevators. I could climb up stairs, take the escalator, even climb up the side of a building, but be in an elevator and I go to hell. Meanwhile everyone is taking the elevator up and I have to climb 20 flights of stairs. My point is, bacon is fucking delicious!

Also, I decided never to date Muslim women because one, I'm an atheist, and two they very conservative. So I got myself a white girl. They are cray craaaay!

ho_ho_ho101-14 karma

you mooslims need to stop being terrorists then.

Everyone of ya are always terroristing all over the place.

im so sick of it

here in 'murica, we dont support that mooslim mess.

i think...im not sure.

sadiqsamani2 karma

I'm pretty positive Mooslims only graze in California.

maybeiambatman5 karma

How do you feel about the prejudice held against American Muslims in USA right now, if any?

sadiqsamani-8 karma

I feel the biggest problem is how uninformed and under educated we are, not just with Muslims in America, but every topic that doesn't include celebrities and scandals. When that occurs, any problem a country faces can be blamed on a scapegoat that is anything other than the demographic majority.

FlyingPanties694 karma

Probably completely unrelated, but what was your occupation when you were detained/what do you do now?

Also: while 85k is a lot of people do you think you were chosen for any particular reason? Or were you just caught up in a big sweep fairly indiscriminately?

Thanks so much for doing this AMA!

sadiqsamani-9 karma

I was a Web Developer. I've been working with computers since I was 11 and the internet has been one of the best educational tools I've had. Currently I'm a partner in a software company, and that's what pays the bills. I do stand up on a part/full time scale and have performed in 30+ cities throughout the US. I have been saving and am planning on quitting my day job (while still being a shareholder) and focusing on stand up full time in 2015. Hopefully that wasn't too long of an answer to that question!

I think that it was reactionary. The Patriot ACT was signed into law a few months after 9/11 and it was a knee jerk. So yeah, it was really just a sweep, without any planning whatsoever.

t3hcurs33 karma

Isn't America supposed to be a melting pot? Seems like it started that way and then after awhile they just started throwing people into the fire under the melting pot. Going forward, what advice do you have for Muslims immigrating to The United States of America, would you even still recommend it?

sadiqsamani-9 karma

Mmmmmm I guess it's supposed to be a melting pot now, but I don't believe historically it was a melting pot. Though immigrants do the grunt work in the current economy.

You have to weigh the pros and cons of coming here. If you're from Pakistan and you have an opportunity to come here, I would say do it. It's not easy here, but it's better than there. I also think that I'm very Americanized. You can't tell what ethnicity I am, so I can't speak to challenges someone would face coming here FOB.

The_Davinci_Chode2 karma

[deleted]

sadiqsamani-2 karma

Hahaha. That hasn't happened in a couple of years. I miss Chicago!

five_hammers_hamming2 karma

due to a stipulation in the Patriot ACT, many Muslims in America were required to register with the US government

  1. Holy shit we're literallyfiguratively the Nazis.

  2. Would someone please cite where in the act that is required, and/or explain how that comes about? It's just so weird I really want to look at it directly. There's just a whole lot of haystack to look through for the needle.

sadiqsamani-5 karma

I had found the excerpt on Wiki a couple of weeks back than I lost the link to it. It's literally like looking through a haystack for the needle. I found this LA times post to, but couldn't find it again when I was researching yesterday. I hope someone else can post this as well. It's really difficult finding anything on this topic. It's as if it never happened, which is sad to me.

I do have a George Carlin clip about WAR comparing us to the Nazis though. Hope you enjoy it.

Laughing_so_hard2 karma

I have a few questions

How did they treat you We're you given access to food, shower, etc.? Basically we're you treated like a human?

What questions did they ask you while being interrogated? We're you ever physically touched? (I understand if you can't answer)

How has your daily life changed?

sadiqsamani-7 karma

In an American jail they treat you better than most living in America, minus the whole being confined of course. I was treated well, but even with that it can be psychologically damaging.

Edit: pressed submit before answer the rest of your questions.

Very basic. When did you first come to the states? Where do you live? Really it was a quick process in terms of interrogation. Probably took no longer than a couple of minutes.

I've made a 180 degree turn of who I was before. I don't think most were affected in the same way I was however. I think my outlook is much different as to what the world is as compared to before.

leroyjenkins692 karma

I saw below that you now consider yourself an atheist. Do you still feel like being "Muslim" is a part of your identity? And do you resent that identity in any way, considering how it has affected you life?

As an atheist that was raised by a Christian family, I feel like Christianity will always be a part of my identity, despite the resentment I feel towards Christianity and religion in general. I am wondering what your feelings are about the same.

sadiqsamani4 karma

I do believe that Islam (or Ismailism) is a part of my cultural background just like being Pakistani is. I don't resent it, but I was also in a much more "liberal" denomination. Plus I have a plethora of jokes I can do in my routine that is different than most mainstream comedians. So there's that.

I do feel, however, that we should let religion go by the way of history. Questions and rational thought all the way.

BroDoYouEvenRead1 karma

I live in an area where the Muslim population is growing rapidly, which I see as a good sign. However, my question for you is do you feel the plight of Muslim Americans is improving or getting worse?

sadiqsamani-3 karma

I think it has gotten better because some of the stigma created due to 9/11 has been removed. Though it took two failed wars and ongoing drone strikes for it to happen. It obviously isn't the best and I believe the War on Terror is only going to get worst as Muslims in other countries that are getting droned are going to try and fight back, which will make it tougher for Western Muslims.

BroDoYouEvenRead5 karma

That's a good point. I read I Am Malala about a Pakistani girl who got shot for promoting education for women and she brought that up. Apparently, our war in Afghanistan spilled over into Pakistan more than we like to talk about. She said the general attitude towards extremists and America was generally negative and positive respectively. However, when an American drone accidentally killed a dozen or so boys in a school they thought was a training center public opinion changed drastically while the extremists found it a little easier to recruit. I hope the Pakistani army continues to keep them at bay but like you said the War on Terror isn't exactly having the desired effect in all parts of the world.

sadiqsamani-3 karma

It's actually spread to other countries as well. This happens every time we meddle in other countries. 9/11 was a result of our meddling in Afghanistan in the 90s due to Russian invasion. It's not just limited to the Middle East. Latin America has felt the effects as well, but not as radically.

seriouslylikewhat1 karma

[deleted]

sadiqsamani2 karma

They laugh. In my family and community I'm a genius. Toot toot! I didn't turn atheist overnight and personally don't really care for the term because if there wasn't theism, there wouldn't be atheism.

I slowly transitioned. I stopped paying tithe (12.5% of your income) and got out of debt, then I stopped going to my mosque that often, then stopped all together, then started hanging out with white people, then exploring life, etc. I was always rebellious, even as a child.

I gave asked rational questions to my parents every time they asked why I don't go, etc. Eventually they just gave up and let me be. I'm successful, intelligent, happy, have a good life and even pay a part of my income to support them. What else can they ask for.

Marylandman1011 karma

Just curious, what are your personal politics?

sadiqsamani-9 karma

Are you asking whether I'm Republican or Democrat? Neither. For my first vote in 2012, I voted for myself. White kids are told that they can grow up to be President. Why not me?

  • I know some may say that I am throwing away a vote, but that's assuming that I'm not actually voting my conscience.
  • Some may say that I can't lawfully run. Laws are made up and are meant to change, even if it's far fetched.
  • I do actually dream of being the President one day.

Marylandman1017 karma

"White kids are told that they can grow up to be President."---we have a black President.

sadiqsamani-9 karma

I understand there is a (half) black President (who was raised in a white family), but do you actually believe that in non-white communities our families tell us we can be President some day? That all matters of race has dissipated? We're still trying to keep ourselves out of an unjust prison system.

Also, I was being facetious due to my ambitious views, with a hint of truth :-D.

SujfatS1 karma

[deleted]

sadiqsamani-2 karma

Same reasons, for a better life. I was 6 and my parents went to the US embassy to get a visa. They were denied. A couple of months later I apparently told my parents to try again and though everyone was skeptical, because I told them to go, they got approved.

heisenberg8021 karma

Do you have great resentment against the US Government now? Did you sue for falsely accusing?

sadiqsamani1 karma

I felt resentment in the past, but it's been a while now and I can't let emotions get in the way of life. I eventually decided to use words to communicate change by educating and informing others, even though it's an uphill battle. Hence why I do stand up comedy. I use laughter as a mechanism to discuss deep subjects.

I did not sue, nor do I think most would, out of fear.

arpkit1 karma

So sorry to hear about that :/
Did your belief in your faith waver at all during your incarceration? Or did you find yourself holding on to it even more?

sadiqsamani8 karma

I had already stopped going to my mosque that often. I used to go everyday, and so do most in my community. I ended up questioning a lot about life in general, and now I consider myself an atheist. Which I believe is the most freeing thing in the world.

I'll be posting something on my site regarding my loss of religion in May I believe. If you're interested.

daxpierson0 karma

How was the interrogation in terms of their attitude? Have they injured you?

sadiqsamani1 karma

We were criminals in their eyes. When I was in the jail cell, one of the girls said something to the effect of "you deserve this". I don't remember the exact words. I don't think every officer was like that, they were doing their job, but you could feel the aggressiveness.

They never hurt me or anyone that I know however. However, I am very empathetical towards those who are at Gitmo, because I question if they actually are guilty.

oakback8 karma

[deleted]

sadiqsamani1 karma

I'll have to put this in my watch list. Thanks!

happyhobocia0 karma

Soooooo... I've opened ALL the links, read everything, and read all the comments. I'm pretty much a hundred percent on OPs side. But I'm pretty outspoken, and people seem to think I'm unamerican and a traitor... but really I'm just super anti our government. So, thank you SO much for posting and sharing your story OP! We need more whistle blowers in this country... and I especially get what you mean about being raised here. You guys he's been here since he was 7... he can't just go fit right back in and go undetected in Pakistan. He has no idea how to follow their lifestyles And customs. Give me a break people. I'm so against borders though, its not even funny

This planet didn't start off with borders, so who decides. Forget that. Love is my religion, and love is the only way this world will ever make any progress. Until then we will continue to deteriorate in this hateful bigoted place.

sadiqsamani-9 karma

All you need is love! I agree! I also don't believe in borders. I was talking to my gf (who was born here) after reading some of the hateful feedback and I realized most people don't see the entire picture. Just immigrants here in general are a huge piece of how America works and most people Americans don't see that. We are all trying to earn a live and be a productive member of society.

I think we humans as a whole should be a lot more inclusive.

SirCarlo-1 karma

What previous event in history to you most closely relate to the inception and subsequent impact of the Patriot Act? The most obvious thing that comes to mind is the internment camps for Japanese in the US during WWII.

sadiqsamani-4 karma

In my blog piece that I wrote I noted "It was a modern day internment camp. They knew they couldn’t load us onto a bus and ship us off, so this was the next best thing. Let us rot and fold through the prison system."

I had a conversation with someone at Starbucks about this and it's all relative. The registration process was a modern day internment camp which was that days slavery which was that days Native massacre.

plosone-2 karma

[deleted]

sadiqsamani2 karma

Thanks for the love. My parents were actually born in Mumbai (mom) and Nagpur (dad).

SlackJawedYolk-3 karma

Clearly you were detained because you hate Freedom. Why do you hate our Freedom, anyway?

Edit: I'm sorry for what this country has become, sorry you went through that.

sadiqsamani-3 karma

Are we really free?

SisterRay-4 karma

Coke or Pepsi?

sadiqsamani0 karma

Coke! Thums up would be second. It's also a Coca Cola brand.

Though I used to drink 100oz+ of coke per day. BAD! When I was younger my dad tried to give me Pepsi in an unmarked glass and told me it was Coke to prove I didn't know the difference. I sipped it as few times and am like, "Is this flat or something? It doesn't taste right."

Logalicious-5 karma

I'm sorry these people are being extremely rude to you reddit is becoming broken. The united state govt' is the most corrupt in the world right now. But yes this is still Racism and unlawful. The patriot act is a criminal act.

And some of the people are accusing you of actually being a threat. Well these people don't see that the gov't must want to treat the entire american population as a threat with the NSA. Why need to spy on every single citizen?

Its all been propagandized to hell and americans are none the wiser. Its not called propaganda in the US anymore it's called Public Relations.

Q! How long did this last over the years? Like what was your first encounter with the Patriot Act and (so far) your last encounter with the Act?

sadiqsamani0 karma

Thanks for the post. I tried to specify as much as I could and laid out all the information I could about this topic. I just wanted people to know.

As for your question, from 2003-2010. I think as soon as I got my passport most of my fear disappeared. Even now, when I read some posts on here that says, "go back to Pakistan" I laugh. Previously, it would make me nervous.

In terms of the Patriot ACT, technically my last encounter would be when I click submit to this post as the data is probably being controlled by the NSA which was another Patriot ACT stipulation :-D. Though, in regards to the deportation proceedings, it died down as it got closer to 2011.

InterestingInterview-5 karma

Unfortunately many Americans don't know about the Abu Ghraibs, Guantanamo Bays, or the common interrogations/jailings that the government conducts. One of the prominent representations of this in the media though has been the film Zero Dark Thirty, have you seen the film, and what do you think of how it portrays imprisonment and interrogation of certain people?

sadiqsamani-1 karma

Unfortunately I have not watched the film so I cannot respond accurately. I will added it to my watch list, however.

Roofstone-6 karma

[deleted]

sadiqsamani-3 karma

I still love the US, and am doing this to improve our viewpoints. It's my home :-D. Though I would love to explore your neck of the woods. In due time!