1. Connect with the Powerful
Connect with your Lord. Gather extra energy as you follow the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him's, advice while traveling. Recite the Duas (supplications) of travel and ask that He makes your trip easy for you and protects you from all kinds of harm. These prayers will also help you focus on the purpose of your travel and how to make the best use of it.
2. You're (sic) American passport is not enough
A number of Muslim US citizens have had the legitimacy of their American passports questioned. Even if you are a citizen, keep several forms of photo identification with you.
Recently, at least four citizens were detained at different US borders, and at least one was arrested. In one case, US border officials asked for ID other than a passport, although this American Muslim regularly travels outside the country. They asked for his driver's license, which he didn't have, although his passport should have been enough to allow him reentry into the US. After several hours, the officials agreed to call his boss to verify his employment and identity. After this was done, he was let go without any apology or explanation. In another case, three Muslim friends, all US citizens, were detained for more than 10 hours while their backgrounds were checked by US border officials through all agencies. When they were finally free to go, they were offered neither an apology nor an explanation.
4, Make sure all photo IDs carry your most recent photo
One Muslim doctor who is a US citizen recently returned from Umra sporting a beard, which he did not have on his passport photo. For US immigration officials this was a problem. He had to almost volunteer to shave his beard so they could see him without it. Thankfully, he cleared immigration without having to do that.
5. Leave your phone book and diary at home
Don't keep your personal phone book or diary with you while traveling. Keep only the numbers you will need while you travel. Also, avoid carrying your collection of business cards.
Recently, a Canadian born Muslim of Scottish/Irish background had his entire journal and phone book photocopied by US immigration officials after he was refused entry to the US. He had previously traveled many times across the border with no problems. When the brother protested this violation of his privacy, the immigration officer said: "you have no rights here."
While you are not doing anything wrong by carrying these personal items with you, in this time of heightened fear and paranoia, it is important not to jeopardize the lives of other innocent people who could be harassed for being included in somebody's phone book.
7. Items you should not carry
...If you are traveling in your personal car, avoid packing anything that might arouse suspicion (i.e. sharp objects, etc.) if you are stopped by local police for any reason. It might actually be a good idea to follow the guidelines for air travelers in this regard.
8. Don't pack anything you wouldn't want the public to see
You could have your luggage searched, due to the heightened security measures. That's why you need to not only pack light, but also avoid packing any personal items you would not want a stranger to see. Even books, photos, and magazines which discuss Palestine and Afghanistan are a cause of concern if seen by someone who is suspicious of you for no reason.
10. Avoid wearing a buckle
If you do wear one, then be ready to unbuckle. When I first encountered this request, I could not understand the command of the immigrant security officer. After repeating it a third time, he unbuckled himself to tell me what he wanted me to do. I was scared to death thinking he wanted me to drop my pants.
One Muslim woman ended up having to show her belly while struggling to unbuckle. Born and raised in America, this excellent author has promised herself to travel by train only after this incident. Her father being a top insurance executive in the US and donating $50 million dollars to a university, as well as her not observing Hijab, did not protect her from being profiled.
If you encounter this situation, please note that the security officer is asking you to turn your buckle around so he can see what is behind it. I want to dress in a way that doesn't require a buckle. Any suggestions?
12. Don’t allow your t-shirt to speak for you
Slogans and phrases about Islam on the t-shirts of some young Muslims have been used to harass them while traveling. So unless being stopped and questioned is your idea of fun, avoid wearing such t- shirts while traveling.
14. Keep all identification cards updated and consistent
"Karim Abdul Jabbar" can be written as "Karim Jabbar" or "Abdul Jabbar Karim" by mistake or for the purpose of abbreviation. Many offices routinely make mistakes in writing non-English names. Please make sure that all of your IDs have the correct spelling of your name and are consistent with each other. Small spelling mistakes in the past were tolerated by agents with common sense while traveling. Now, there are more people checking things without common sense or courtesy. So make sure that everything is in order before you travel.
Also, make sure that all of your IDs have the same name. Avoid carrying or keeping IDs with aliases or your nickname.
21. Don’t confront while being profiled
Don't be offended if you are singled out. Remain calm and allow yourself to be subject to more scrutiny than other passengers, especially if you look obviously Muslim because of a Hijab, beard, the color of you skin, etc. Questioning why you are being singled out publicly may not be a good idea. It will only make people more suspicious of you, since they may think you have something to hide. Even worse, it may give the impression you are trying to break the law or resist arrest...
22. File your complaintRight on, bro'. Getting hassled by some "bigoted" airport security wonk is teeny taters compared to ending jahiliya, returning from Mount Sinai bearing stone tablets enscribed with the Ten Commandments and/or getting crucified by the Romans.
If you notice officials have definitely discriminated against you, then note down all of the information on the spot with names, times, the location, and if there were any witnesses. From there, lodge a complaint against the airlines with the Department of Transportation's Aviation Consumer Protection Division...
24. Do NOT try to be funny if you fit the profile
Jokes about bombs are taken seriously even if you do not fit the profile. However, if you fit the profile, and you're trying to lighten up the atmosphere, the airport, bus or train station are the wrong places to be funny. In fact, wisecracks about any topics are a wrong idea. If you are stopped in your car for speeding or some other traffic infringement, do not joke with the officer about any topics either. Just wait patiently until comedians eventually start making jokes about profiling in America.
25. Stay calm and do not start looking in your purse
This is of course easier said than done. But if you are stopped by an officer while driving do not do anything until the officer approaches you. Then, do what he or she is asking you to. Do not reach out to your glove compartment, purse, pocket, the backseat, or for your cell phone. Remember that in 1999, a brother by the name of Ahmed Diallo was shot 41 times by New York police who were searching for a criminal in his apartment building. Br. Ahmed was in the building at the time, and when the police stopped him, he was reaching into his pocket to show his identification cards to them when he was killed. A nervous officer who is profiling you may assume that you are trying to reach for a weapon. So please allow an officer to approach your car and tell you what to do before you make any sudden movements.
26. Avoid being too courteous
Being too courteous while being Muslim may actually get you kicked off a flight. That is exactly what happened to some young Muslims who were traveling from Chicago to New York to catch a flight for their trip to Makkah. During a stopover in Philadelphia, a group of women boarded and wanted to sit together. These nice Muslim kids offered to switch their seats with them, but when they got up to do this, the pilot who profiled them because of their religion (they had white, brown and black skin colors) kicked them off the plane. Other passengers tried to explain to the pilot that they were trying to be courteous. Apparently, the pilot was afraid of what these Muslims were planning to do. The nice young people had to drive to New York to catch their flight to Makkah...
27. Travel in a group
If possible, travel with at least two other people for not only safety and companionship, but also so that you have witnesses who can testify on your behalf if you are subjected to discrimination or other problems. This is also a recommendation of our Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him.
32. Dedicate yourself to change the world
How long will the world live in this fear (sic). We and our neighbors are both fearful of the unknown. Dedicate yourself to any cause which may help humanity and the world to reach a higher level. With each evidence, with each experience of discrimination, you should only grow in your resolve to change the world for the better. You haven't faced anything compared to what the Prophet Muhammad, Moses and Jesus went through.