Dubai (AFP) – The United Arab Emirates summoned on Sunday a senior US diplomat to protest the “abusive treatment” of a UAE citizen as it advised citizens to avoid wearing national attire abroad.
The foreign ministry expressed “discontent” to US embassy deputy chief of mission Ethan Goldrich and demanded clarifications over the detention of an Emirati businessman suspected of being a jihadist.
The 41-year-old, visiting the United States for medical treatment, was wearing a white robe and Arab headdress Wednesday when he was arrested at a hotel in Cleveland, Ohio after an employee suspected he had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (IS) group, apparently in a phone call.
The foreign ministry said it expressed “discontent over the abusive treatment by the Ohio police of a UAE citizen” as well as the posting of a video showing his arrest, which contained “defamation of the UAE national.”
“The UAE cares for the safety of its citizens and, therefore, demands clarifications about this incident,” it said in a statement carried by WAM state news agency.
Goldrich “apologised” for the incident, pledging to get clarifications from authorities in the state of Ohio, WAM said.
A video of the incident, posted on Youtube, shows several policemen armed with rifles take down Ahmed al-Menhali, and then handcuff and search him.
“They were brutal with me. They pressed forcefully on my back. I had several injuries and bled from the forceful nature of their arrest,” Menhali said, quoted in The National daily.
The Emirati foreign ministry, in a statement posted on Twitter, urged citizens “not to wear the national dress during their travel, especially in public areas, to ensure their own safety”.
After confirming that Menhali posed no danger, the policemen let go of the Emirati man, who said he collapsed and needed treatment in hospital.
Menhali had been in the United States since April for treatment after a brain stroke suffered last year, said Emarat Al-Youm, another UAE daily.
Anti-Muslim incidents have spiked in the United States on the back of deadly IS attacks in the West that prompted presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump to call for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the country.