“Alic, Aïda” – Too Close to “Al Qaeda” for US?

Almost two weeks ago, a Frenchwoman named Aïda Alic was barred from boarding a flight from Geneva to New York.

Why?

The U.S. didn’t offer an official explanation. But Alic believes she was blacklisted because her name, when mispronounced a certain way, can sound like Al Qaeda.

On her passport her surname Alic appears then her first name Aïda.

“Alic Aida, Al Qaeda. When friends make the play on words to try and pull my leg, I am used to it, but not this. Especially since my name is actually pronounced Alitch. It is of Yugoslav origin. And now here I am labelled as a risk.”

Do you believe her theory? If so, what do you think of the U.S. decision to prohibit her from entering the country based on her name alone?

Source: French mum named Alic Aïda barred from US (found via Voornamelijk)

5 Responses to “Alic, Aïda” – Too Close to “Al Qaeda” for US?

  1. Coming from Germany where lots of immigrants from all parts of former Yugoslavia live I can say:

    It is indeed true that Aïda Alic is a complete normal Yugoslavian name. The pronounciation she gives is true as well (in principle there should be an accent over the last letter c of her family name, but it is common practice to drop those accents in countries where accented c’s aren’t native).

    Blacklisting by the US immigration is a complete mystery and they don’t explain. I know a case where a man from Germany was banned because of another man with the same name. He got an explanation after 20 years of trying.

  2. Without knowing anything more about her, I guess I do believe the theory. I think it’s good that they are careful and look at people that are the highest risk. But this seems like they didn’t look and turn on their brain at the same time. You kind of need to do both.

  3. @elbowin – That poor guy. And, thanks for the extra info on the name!

    @Dellitt – Haha, yeah. Both would be good.

  4. Here is news about a Malaysian woman who managed to sue the Homeland Security to get off the no-fly list after nine years (in german)

    http://www.zeit.de/politik/ausland/2014-05/no-fly-list-rahinah-Ibrahim-datenschutz-ueberwachung

  5. Wow, what a story. Takes a lot of fortitude to fight something like that. Good for her.

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