ADC Demands Action over Forced Removal of Palestinian Futbol Fan in Houston, TX

American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee

ADC Demands Action over Forced Removal of Palestinian Futbol Fan in Houston, TX

Washington, D.C. | | June 5, 2014 — Today the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) raised immediate concern with the BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, Texas, the Mayor of Houston, the Houston City Council and the Houston Police Department over the forced removal of Ms. Buthayna Hammad from her seat by BBVA Compass Stadium Security on June 1,solely because she was carrying the national flag of Palestine. 

This disturbing incident occurred during a futbol match between Honduras and Israel. Ms. Hammad was removed from her seat and escorted to a concession area, where she was detained for over 15 minutes by BBVA Compass Stadium Security. Ms. Hammad was surrounded by security and Houston Police Officers. 

When she pressed the officers as to why she was removed she was told that the flag was “a racial slur,” and it was “anti-sematic.” It is alleged that Mr. Nathan Buchanan, Security Manager at the stadium made the comment. Ms. Hammad merely brought the Palestinian flag to represent her own heritage as a proud Palestinian-American, which is by no means a crime.

In a letter sent this afternoon, ADC expressed that, the BBVA Compass Stadium Security and the Houston Police Department’s action was a major and inexplicable infringement on Ms. Hammad’s civil liberties. The characterization of the flag as a “racial slur” is deeply offensive to Palestinians. Mr. Buchanan’s statement marginalizes millions of Palestinian who share a history and culture. The notion that the flag of Palestine is a “racial slur” is discriminatory and has no place in our society. 

The actions taken by the security personnel are troubling to nationalistic futbol fans worldwide. Wearing various nationalistic flags is a common practice among futbol fans and restricting this tradition is an obstruction of freedom of speech and sports fandom in general. 

ADC demands an explanation as to how the flag of Palestine is a ‘racial slur’, and demands an immediate clarification to the stadium policy from both the BBVA Stadium security and Houston Police Department. Ms. Hammad is cooperating with ADC and exploring all options available to her. The letter submitted by ADC, and copy of an article outlining the events can be found here

Please contact the ADC Legal Department at 202-244-2990 for more information and/or contact information regarding the above mentioned cases. Thank you again for your time and support.

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