John Mason has an article in today's Register-Star remembering Ansar Mahmood, the Pakistani pizza deliverer who was arrested on suspicion of terrorism for taking pictures of the view from Hudson's water treatment plant a month after September 11, 2001, and deported in July 2004 for "harboring illegal aliens": "Ansar Mahmood still holds county in his heart."
The article notes that a chapter is devoted to Mahmood's story in a recent book by UCLA Fulbright scholar Irum Shiekh, Detained Without Cause: Muslims' Stories of Detention and Deportation in America After 9/11. Mason quotes from the book: "Helping a childhood friend–a moral responsibility in Pakistani culture–was manufactured into a crime after the U.S. Congress adopted the 1996 immigration act, and law enforcement officers decided to enforce it strictly after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Ansar’s narrative shows that the United States’ current immigration laws can transform an honest young man with aspirations into a terrorist or a criminal.”
The story of Ansar Mahmood is also the historic centerpiece, as the demolition of the General Worth Hotel was for The Spirit of the Place, of a new book by Samuel Shem, set in fictionalized Hudson in 2003. The publication of that book is eagerly awaited.