Miru Kim is an artist and photographer who lives in New York City. She was stopped yesterday for wearing a shirt with Arabic on it by two police officers who don't have enough to do with themselves. Kim posted about it on Instagram with a very unhappy looking selfie.
Her caption reads:
I just got stopped by two police officers in downtown Manhattan just because I was wearing this shirt from an anti-Iraq war group called Granny Peace Brigade from 2006. They took all my info, address, apt. number, cellphone, right in front of my building. Are they serious, NYPD? Are they gonna call me a potential terrorist because I am wearing a shirt with Arabic on it? When did NYC become so xenophobic?
The Granny Peace Brigade is literally a group of grandmothers who protest for peace, and they did share this shirt during one of their actions. About ten years ago. Wow, the Iraq War has been a part of our lives a long time! It's interesting that the officers were so intimidated by Arabic lettering, especially when the translation is right below it. Ironically, it means "we will not be silent." Maybe they thought the translation was a red herring, and the Arabic line actually said, "If you can read this, let's build a bomb together." It doesn't though!
Kim's frustration is understandable, especially when the cops' behavior was so illogical. Are they going to call her later and ask, "Are you suuuuuuure your t-shirt isn't a threat?" Somewhere in New York right now are two police officers trying to stop all translated language postings under suspicion of terrorism. Probably more than two, actually, since the Pope is in town and there's a lot of Italian signage to help him find his way around.