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A Muslim Woman Says She Was Forced to Show Her Bloodied Pad to Airport Security Officials

When she explained she was on her period and was wearing a pad - she was asked to prove it.

Raka Mukherjee | News18.com@RakaMukherjeee

Updated:August 24, 2018, 4:43 PM IST
A Muslim Woman Says She Was Forced to Show Her Bloodied Pad to Airport Security Officials
When she explained she was on her period and was wearing a pad - she was asked to prove it.

"Once, they brought the explosives unit — several armed men — because of sticker residue on the back of my computer. Another time, they brought a team of dogs to search me," Zainab Merchant wrote in an opinion piece on Washington Post.

27-year-old Zainab Merchant is a graduate student of Harvard, the CEO of ZR Studios, a multimedia site about current affairs, politics, and culture, the mother of three children - and on a federal watch list for reasons undisclosed.

Being a Muslim U.S Citizen, Zainab has been subjected to a lot of intrusive searches - the latest being one where she was forced by TSA to show them a bloodied pad.

In her opinion piece, she shares how she has been subjected to such intrusive searches multiple times. She has been 'randomly' selected out of the security check, taken to private rooms, and frisked.

In her latest flying endeavor, she was prepared to be checked thoroughly. What she didn't expect was for the TSA officer to announce to the other agents at the security checkpoint that she felt the need to take “a deeper look” after publicly patting down Merchant’s groin area.

Merchant initially resisted, telling the TSA officers that she was on her period, and hence, wearing a pad. She also insisted on additional screening to be done in public, fearing the situation would escalate in the absence of other witnesses. However, the TSA officials refused and said that if she didn't comply, they would call for more security. Forced into a public screening, she was made to pull down her pants and underwear, to reveal her bloodied menstrual pad.

After this harrowing experience, when she asked for the officer's names and badge numbers, they simply covered them and walked off, she revealed to Huffpost.

"Am I being stopped because I am Muslim, or because my family once traveled to Iran to visit a holy shrine?" she asks in her piece, also mentioning how she has reached out to Homeland Security to figure out why she was on a federal watchlist - but she has not received answers.

ACLU, has filed a complaint


Zainab is one of the many women who are subjected to such searches, as TSA does not offer explanations for its humiliating ordeal of intrusive searching, simply stigmatizing experiences.

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