Four people, including one who police said was trying to use a fake ticket to enter the West Jefferson High School graduation, were arrested Saturday at the Alario Center near Westwego after a scuffle with police and center officials.

A local Muslim organization, however, contends the suspects were targeted because of their religious beliefs.

According to police reports, Maha Askar, 26, 220 Wall Blvd., Terrytown, refused to leave the building after Alario Center General Manager Greg Guthrie told police to remove her because she was using a forged ticket.

Askar, who was at the center with three cousins to see her brother graduate, “started screaming at the top of her lungs” and told the officer that she had waited an hour outside to attend the event, according to the police reports.

When she refused to leave, the officer tried to handcuff Askar for a second time, Mohammad Sarsour, 18, 150 Cameron Drive, Gretna, pushed the officer in his chest and told him to leave her alone, the police reports said.

The officer then used a nonlethal Taser X26 stun gun against Sarsour, a device that delivers electric volts to suspects, typically immobilizing them.

Askar was booked with “remaining after forbidden” and resisting an officer. Sarsour and Mohammad Judeh, 17, 5100 St. Bernard Ave., New Orleans, were booked with interfering with police and resisting an officer.

A fourth person also was arrested, but police would only say that the suspect is a juvenile.

All the suspects were quickly released on bail..


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