We Profiled the Saudi Marathon 'Suspect'
Amy Davidson: There's no excuse for the way this man was treated
By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff
Posted Apr 17, 2013 10:56 AM CDT
US flags hang from a barricade as Massachusetts National Guard members keep watch of Boylston Street near the Boston Marathon bomb site, April 16, 2013.   (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

(Newser) – When a badly injured 20-year-old Saudi Arabian student was seen running from the site of the Boston Marathon explosions, a bystander tackled him because he looked suspicious. He was questioned by police; his apartment was searched; his roommate was intimidatingly interrogated for five hours and hounded by reporters. Why? He was running; so were a lot of scared people. He smelled like explosives; maybe that's because a bomb had just torn into him. He said he thought there would be a second bomb; that's logical, since a second attack often targets first responders. He asked if anyone was dead; many other survivors wanted to know the same. And, of course, "he was from Saudi Arabia, which is around where the logic stops," writes Amy Davidson in the New Yorker.

"Was it just the way he looked, or did he, in the chaos, maybe call for God with a name that someone found strange?" Davidson wonders. One thing is certain: The media were quick to refer to him as a suspect and start tossing around theories about his involvement. It wasn't until yesterday afternoon that reports started referring to him as a witness who was, as one official put it, "at the wrong place at the wrong time." In the aftermath of the bombing, President Obama referred to Americans as selfless, compassionate, unafraid. "And yet, when there was so much to fear that we were so brave about, there was panic about a wounded man barely out of his teens who needed help," Davidson writes. The perpetrator could be anyone—an American, even—but even if it turns out to be a Saudi, "It still won’t mean that this Saudi man can be treated the way he was. ... It is at these moments that we need to be most careful, not least." Click for Davidson's full column.

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ppaca
Apr 21, 2013 1:26 AM CDT
And Michelle 0bama rushed to his bedside to commiserate with him as soon as she could get there. Even though he's being deported for his close ties to Al Qaeda and to prisoners being held at Gitmo, Michelle made it there to give him her and her husband's unending support.
keepsitreal
Apr 18, 2013 12:38 PM CDT
Well, I guess that just about wraps it up! Obviously we are no longer a nation governed by laws, we are now a nation governed by hurt feelings. Congratulations to all the crybabies who made it so...
Sphinx
Apr 18, 2013 1:35 AM CDT
I don't have a problem with suspicious people being questioned. I have a problem with law enforcement focusing so hard on stereotypical ideas of what color "suspicious" is, to the point where they could miss out on other threats. And I have a problem with the media sensationalizing unsubstantiated reports and perpetuating the narrative of Arab vs American without any proof.