Citizenship interview after 7 years!

Editor's Desk


Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah. After 7 years and a lot of follow-ups, finally on the 29th February, 2012, I was called for my citizenship interview.

After the interview I had to give fingerprints for the third time!  The interview went for over two hours, mostly focused about my religious practices and [questions exploring] whether I had any affiliation with any terrorist organizations; supported, assisted or donated any money to them, or any of the people I ever knew were indicted in terrorism.  Also, I was asked: what kind of work did I do? So, when I  told that my husband was a translator, who translated books from Arabic to English and I edited his translations, the focus was once again on the type of material we worked on; whether it was of extremist religious views etc! By the way, my husband is a reverted Caucasian American Muslim, and we are married for the last 30 years with seven grown up American children.

It will not be out of place to mention that before my interview, I happened to come across two women who had finished their interviews and were waiting for oath-taking.  On my questioning – a natural concern --the women assured me that their interview was very easy and quick, and right away they were asked to decide if they wanted to take the oath the same day.

I guess I was the only one who was sent home without a clear answer, to wait for more time. It will not be as long as 7 years the interviewing officer promised me. In either case (grant or denial) I will be informed within a couple of months.

Looking at my case process and the length of the interview time, the question arises: why was I given different treatment than those who were either non-Muslims or secular Muslims?  Is it because I am a practicing Muslim , or because I cover myself according to the Islamic ruling? The FBI has been doing my background check for the last 7 years, wasn’t that long enough?  What was it that the officer was trying to extract from me after all the investigation done over the last 7 years?

Beltsville, Maryland