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Abdullah Hassan (a pseudonym) is a Somali businessman who is very involved in the Muslim community. 

He opened a small restaurant in Boston after repeatedly failing to get a job as a computer engineer. The FBI has visited him several times both at his restaurant and his house. They showed him photographs and asked him about his Somali customers. He was then asked if he wanted to work with them. He replied, “Did I apply for your job? I don’t want your job. You came here. I answered your questions.”

He says that detectives would often park right outside both his restaurant and his house. He sometimes saw the same car and the same people parked in front of the Roxbury mosque, with a policeman sitting in a car behind them. He went to talk to the policeman who told him they were just testing the wireless in the neighborhood.  

Hassan has had other experiences that define post 9/11 life for some Boston-area Muslims. Citizen Bank closed both his personal and business accounts without any word of explanation. On the same day as he was notified of the closure, he got the news that Bank of America had agreed to a settlement involving the closure of his and several other accounts by Fleet Bank. Bank of America had taken over Fleet Bank a few years before.

His wife’s citizenship application appeared on indefinite hold. But 22 years after she first arrived in the United States and seven years after her citizenship application, she was finally granted a citizenship interview after an attorney made some enquiries. No explanation was ever given for the delay.

© 2021 ACLU of Massachusetts.