The morning we woke up to fly to Palestine was a very nerve wracking one. My brain had already been filled with horror stories from airport security. People getting detained and sent on flights back home.
I was given lots of different advice, some recommended not wearing hijab, some recommended wearing a beanie. I was torn on what to do. Even when I arrived at the airport I was unsure on how to do it. I arrived in hijab but I kept thinking ‘should I go in the bathroom and take it off before the flight’. I was very nervous.
Luckily for me, my passport is in a different name. My name before becoming muslim. I knew that there was no way they would let me in the country if they connected ‘Aisha Rosalie’ to me so I wiped my phone of all social media.
I eventually decided to stick with the hijab. I came to the conclusion that if I stick by my morels and don’t get into the country, i’ll feel better about myself then not sticking by my morels and them letting me in.
When we arrived at Ben Gurion airport, Tel Aviv, we were both feeling very nervous. We went up to a small machine that took pictures of us that gave us a short term visa. We were excited. We thought this is it. Airport security is not that hard. Then we went to passport control.
As soon as we arrived at passport control we saw a large group of Muslims sitting in the corner of the room. Maybe around 20 of them. We looked at them knowing that we would soon be in that group. We tried to go through passport control and big surprise they didn't let us through. We ended up in the group of Muslims.
It wasn’t JUST muslims they were not letting through the border. There were a few russians, christan priests and south americans also. But they were put in a different corner. Not to be mixed with the muslims.
Sultan and I spoke to our fellow brothers and sisters in the group. Some of them had been there for 5 hours already. But they had all seemed to make friends and we joined in with the conversations rather quickly. They would be brought in to be questioned one by one, numerous times. Every Time someone came out of questioning he/she would tell us what they would ask and give some advice.
For example “they will check your whatsapp so wipe your chats of anything with the word ‘palestine’”. Which was amazing advice for me because I had over 100 chats containing that word!
We all chatted about lots of different things and had a chance to bond. That part was actually very nice. Sultan and I waited 4 hours before being called in for questioning. Sultan was called in first.
Our integrator was suffering from some serious bipolar disorder. He was smiling then shouting, smiling then shouting. It was very strange. Actually quite difficult not to laugh. He would tell a joke then if you laughed would shout “ARE YOU LAUGHING AT ME?!”.
He questioned sultan for a very long time. Asking him about his family history, telling him hes a bad muslim, hes a bad husband. Just trying to get a reaction. We then found out that one of the boys from our group was not going to be let in because they found a palestine group on his facebook.
Then they brought me in for questioning. Asked about my revert story. SO MANY QUESTIONS. Which alhamdulillah I am used to and I actually enjoy sharing it. So that was fun for me. Asking how I met sultan. About the things i used to do before becoming muslim. So many questions. But I am a bit of a chatterbox so I enjoyed myself.
Anyway after 5-6 hours of being detained at the airport they let us go. They never connected aisha rosalie to me alhamdulillah which is the reason why we got let in.
He handed us our passports back after shouting at sultan for one last time for talking to some muslims brothers. Then off we went to Palestine.
It was obvious racial profiling and an obvious attempt to deter Muslims from entering the country. But we stayed strong like all the other brothers and sisters in the group. All they can do is make you wait. They can’t beat you or send you to prison. So, they just make you wait.
For anyone planning to go to palestine. Wipe your phone of anything related to Palestine. From whatsapp chats to facebook groups. There is nothing else they can do but make you wait and check your phones.
Don’t be nervous. Their checks are not that advanced. They never connected Aisha Rosalie to me so… you have nothing to be nervous about. :)