Many Arab-Americans say they expected to weather more interest and inquiry as America pursued a war on terrorism.

But they did not expect to be singled out at the border, detained, questioned and sometimes handcuffed, then never told why they had been deemed a threat.

A gathering next Sunday will focus on a hot topic in the Arab-American and Muslim communities of Northeast Ohio: what they say are secret “watch lists” and selective scrutiny at the Canadian border.

“I don’t think the public realizes what’s happening,” said Julia Shearson, the executive director of the local office of CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

She was stopped at the Canadian border as she was returning from a holiday weekend with her 4-year-old daughter, removed from her car and detained for several hours. Now she is fighting in court to learn how her name came to be on a government list of people to beware.

“A lot of innocent people are caught up in this, and we don’t know why,” Shearson said.

She expects some of them to speak up at a panel discussion sponsored by CAIR and other Muslim and Arab-American groups. It begins at 5:30 p.m. in the community hall of AACCESS-Ohio, 11555 Lorain Ave.


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