In New Mexico, Praying Muslims Detained at Shopping Mall

June 2, 2004

Source: Albuquerque Tribune

On June 2, 2004 the Albuquerque Tribune reported, "Last month in Albuquerque, two men of Middle Eastern origins were observed in prayer on a lawn outside a large shopping mall. It was sundown, and devout Muslims engage in prayer five times a day, so Muslims at prayer was hardly surprising. They had planned some shopping, but before it was over, Albuquerque police had detained no less than eight people for two hours, one of whom spent that time handcuffed on the mall floor. Eventually they were released, convinced they were victims of racial profiling. Police Chief Gil Gallegos denies it, but said, 'Doing anything less would have been a disservice since 9-11.' Police chiefs have to say something in situations like this. Still, it's hard to imagine a group of fair-skinned evangelicals of one or another denomination in handcuffs after being caught praying outside a mall. There may have been some stares, but hardly detention and handcuffs. It's another measure of how dicey things are today."