‘I Have to Scan Your Hands for Chemicals’

#ShitTSASays chronicles the U.S. Transportation Security Administration’s ludicrous mistreatment and profiling of Muslims while flying. Send your story to editorial@muslim-girl-2021-production.mystagingwebsite.com.

TSA said to me:

“You’re wearing a headscarf so I just have to scan your hands for chemicals.”

That same day when I was waiting in line, a TSA agent made no conversation with anyone besides me and was asking where I was headed. I was in Milwaukee for a conference — and I said, “New York.”
So he asked, “Why?”
I answered, “Because I live there.” And then he started asking for how long I lived in New York, what I was doing in New York, etc. — until it was time to go through the scanner.
Mind you, this was two days after the Paris attacks. It was 5 A.M. and I was the only visibly Muslim person there.

Written by Sarah Aly