Watch CBSN Live

U.S. apologizes for Arab man's "unfortunate incident" in Ohio

Hate Crimes Against Muslims Probed
Hate Crimes Against Muslims Probed 01:43

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- The American ambassador to the United Arab Emirates expressed regret Monday over the handcuffing of an Emirati man wearing traditional garments in Ohio over terrorism fears.

Ambassador Barbara Leaf said in a Facebook post on Monday that Emirati national Ahmed al-Menhali endured an "unfortunate incident" when police detained and searched him at gunpoint last week after a hotel clerk raised suspicions he could have links to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

WOIO: Video: Avon police have guns drawn when hotel calls 911 in ISIS scare

He was wearing a traditional white kandura, or ankle-length robe, and headscarf at the hotel.

Officials in the Cleveland suburb of Avon have apologized to the man. The Emirates responded to the incident by summoning U.S. Deputy Chief of Mission Ethan Goldrich and warning its citizens to avoid wearing traditional garments when traveling abroad.

On Satuday, the United Arab Emirates Ministry of Foreign Affairs warned Emiratis that, for their own safety, they should avoid wearing traditional garments when traveling abroad. A separate ministry statement urged women to abide by bans on face veils in parts of Europe.

Menhali was in Ohio to seek medical treatment in nearby Cleveland after suffering a stroke.

"She went off and texted her sister and said I pledged my allegiance to ISIS," Menhali told Al Jazeera of his encounter with the hotel clerk. The sister and her father then called 911, according to the news network.

Menhali told the network he believed he may have suffered another stroke during the subsequent arrest.

Cleveland's WOIO posted police camera video footage of that arrest, which involved several officers with rifles aggressively taking down a visibly distraught man.

Police and city officials in Avon, Ohio, apologize to Ahmed al Menhali. CAIR

"There were some false accusations made against you," Mayor Brian Jensen said. "And those are regrettable. I hope... the person that made those can maybe learn from those."


View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue