NYPD Interrogates Arab Students About Their Pressure Cookers
Ayoub Alawadhi and Mohammad Alotaibi, who are originally from Kuwait, were vacationing in New York City when they were questioned by police for hours on Saturday.
The Kuwaitis were investigated by the NYPD after two pressure cookers were spotted in the trunk of their car at an expensive hotel.
However, the men insisted they were going to use the pressure cookers for rice, chicken and meat.
Alawadhi claimed the questioning didn't make any sense to him until police told him about the Boston Marathon bombing.
“They said, ‘You haven’t heard about Boston?’ And I said, ‘No.’ And they told me about Boston,” Alawadhi told the New York Post. “The police questioned us for three hours. It was a little scary.”
Alawadhi and Alotaibi currently attend Boise State University in Idaho where they are studying mechanical engineering.
Apparently, when they arrived at the InterContinental Hotel, a hotel employee saw the pressure cookers and called the authorities.
More than a dozen NYPD counter-terrorism and intelligence officers quickly descended on the hotel to question the foreign students.
Alawadhi and Alotaibi had recently finished some summer classes at Michigan university and bought the pressure cookers at an Arab grocery store in Dearborn, Michigan, because they couldn't find any in Boise, Idaho. They then drove to New York City for a vacation.
“I am leaving New York because of this,” Alawadhi added. “We were supposed to stay until Tuesday, but we are leaving Sunday because of this.”
The Gothamist notes that the NYPD dissolved its controversial Demographics Unit after complaints by several Islamic groups that Muslims were being unfairly profiled.
"Our administration has promised the people of New York a police force that keeps our city safe, but that is also respectful and fair," New York City Mayor de Blasio said.
However, The New York Times later reported that the NYPD "has not backed away from other counter-terrorism initiatives that it created in the years after the Sept. 11 attacks. Indeed, in the first quarter of this year, according to police officials, the team conducted 220 interviews."