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Wed 6 Jul 2016 09:33 AM

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UAE envoy expresses 'deep dismay' over US mistreatment of Emirati

UAE Ambassador to the United States says arrest of Ahmed Al Menhali in Ohio should never have happened

UAE envoy expresses 'deep dismay' over US mistreatment of Emirati
Both the mayor and Avon Police Chief apologised to Al Menhali late on Saturday.

The UAE Ambassador to the United States has expressed "deep dismay and concern" to a senior US official over the mistreatment of Emirati Ahmed Al Menhali in Avon, Ohio last week.

Following a meeting with Susan Ziadeh, US Department of State Deputy Assistant Secretary for Arabian Peninsula Affairs, Yousef Al Otaiba, said the regrettable situation should have never happened, news agency WAM reported.

Police in Avon, Ohio, last week pinned to the ground and handcuffed the Emirati businessman wearing traditional robes after receiving false reports he was pledging allegiance to ISIL militants while speaking on his cellphone in a hotel lobby.

In a statement, the UAE Ambassador to the US said: "On behalf of the UAE, I conveyed deep dismay and concern to the US Government over the mistreatment of Ahmed Al Menhali, a UAE national. Last week, local police in Avon, Ohio acted inappropriately and with excessive force that was totally unwarranted.

"The regrettable situation should have never happened, and I spoke directly to Mayor Jensen of Avon on Saturday to receive his personal apology."

Al Otaiba added: "In the context of the greater violence across the world over the last week, the incident in Avon may seem unimportant in comparison. But tolerance and understanding should never be a victim of bias and bigotry anywhere, particularly between Emiratis and Americans.

"The UAE and US are the closest of allies – joined together by our common interests and shared values. In the fight against extremism, UAE soldiers fought alongside US forces against the Taliban for more than 12 years. We flew with the US Air Force in the very first mission against ISIS in Syria. And today, UAE special forces are on the ground in Yemen leading in the campaign against Al Qaeda."

Both the mayor and Avon Police Chief apologised to Al Menhali late on Saturday in a meeting in nearby Cleveland.

Al Menhali, who the mayor said was staying temporarily in the area for medical treatment, wore a traditional white robe at the meeting.

Al Otaiba added in his statement: "In the UAE, we are also strong believers and advocates of religious diversity and tolerance, guided by the true tenets of Islam: respect, inclusion and peace. In this spirit, we welcome hundreds of thousands of Americans to live and work in the UAE.

"The hundreds of thousands of Emiratis who live in or visit the US each year for business, medical care, education or tourism should also expect to be treated the same, and not singled out because of their beliefs, attire or language."