Police in the US state of Ohio are investigating after footage emerged of the brutal arrest of an Arab man at gunpoint after the force received an incorrect report he had pledged allegiance to Isis in a hotel lobby. The victim, 41-year-old Emirati Ahmad al-Menhali, collapsed during his arrest and was hospitalised after reportedly suffering a stroke.
The incident took place in Avon, 20 miles west of Cleveland. Avon Police Department (PD) received an emergency call from the sister of a female clerk at the Fairfield Inn and Suites, who said a man in Middle Eastern headgear was in the lobby speaking Arabic on a mobile phone. Al-Menhali, who was in the country on medical grounds after suffering a stroke, had just been informed there were no rooms available because the Republican National Convention was in town.
Through a friend Al-Menhali told al-Jazeera from hospital: "She went off and texted her sister and said I pledged my allegiance to Isis."
Footage of the incident released by Avon PD shows al-Menhali standing outside the hotel, before officers, armed with rifles, confront him and wrestle him to the ground, telling him to "relax".
Al-Menhali seems more bemused than afraid, but after being searched he collapses. Interviewed by a TV channel in hospital later, he showed his bloodied headdress and pointed out the garment was similar to that worn by Jesus.
Julia Shearson, executive director of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), told The Independent: "The fact that the police referred to his clothing in their report as a criminal indicator is very concerning.
"Police need more diversity training. This is shocking to have happened in Avon, one of the most affluent and suburban neighbourhoods outside of Cleveland."
Following the incident, the United Arab Emirates has warned its citizens to avoid wearing traditional Arab dress abroad. In a tweet the UAE foreign office ministry advised citizens "not to wear the national dress during their travel, especially in public areas, to ensure their own safety". It also advised women to follow local laws banning wearing face veils.
Muslim groups say there has been a spike in anti-Muslim attacks in the US since Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump began making inflammatory comments. Most recently, on 30 June, Trump suggesting replacing hijab-wearing women working in airport security with veterans of the US armed forces.
He has previously called for all Muslims to be banned from entering the US.