Neighbors called in the FBI when Saudi student Talal Al Rouki was spotted walking across the street carrying a suspicious looking object.
Which turned out to be a pressure cooker containing khabsa he was taking to bring to a friend. (Saudi men are very good at cooking rice)
Talal said he was questioned by the FBI last Friday about the suspicious ”bullet-colored” pressure cooker.
“I was eating breakfast and I heard the [doorbell] ring at an unusual time, and when I opened the door… [there was an FBI team] and one of them asked me, ‘Are you Talal?’” Rouki told Okaz, according to a Huffington Post translation of the article. “In that moment I was nervous, though I am confident and I have nothing to hide, so I replied to them that they are in front of Talal [right now].”
“So they [questioned] me calmly at the door, after that they asked me for entrance into the house so I allowed them that and their questions revolved around my studies and the history [of my time] in the United States and the activities I plan to [pursue] after college,” he added.
Satisfied, the agents withdrew, but not before one of them told al Rouki to “be more careful moving around with such things.”
When contacted by The Huffington Post, FBI spokesman Christopher Allen said he is not familiar with the incident. A representative for the FBI’s Detroit office had no comment, and a representative for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection did not respond to a request for comment at the time of publication.
Another Arab man was detained at Detroit airport, also for carrying a suspect pressure cooker.
His nephew, Nasser Almarzooq, told The Associated Press that he had asked his uncle to bring him the pressure cooker so he could make lamb. The college student said two pressure cookers he bought in the U.S. were “not good at all,” and said the ones available in Saudi Arabia are higher quality.
“I’m Arabic,” said Almarzooq, who is studying mechanical engineering at the University of Toledo in Ohio, about 55 miles south of Detroit. “I always use pressure cookers to cook”.
A criminal complaint alleges that Al Khawahir arrived at the airport Saturday on a flight from Saudi Arabia via Amsterdam, and that he told agents he was visiting his nephew.
He originally said he brought the pressure cooker with him because pressure cookers aren’t sold in America, then later said his nephew had bought one but it “was cheap” and broke after one use, according to the complaint.
Agents said they also noticed a page was missing from Al Khawahir’s passport from Saudi Arabia. He told them he didn’t how it had been removed, and said the document had been locked in a box that only he, his wife and three children have access to in his home, according to the complaint.
Al Khawahir was read his Miranda rights, which he said he understood, and he invoked his right to remain silent, according to the complaint.
Gina Balaya, spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Detroit, said Al Khawahir made his initial court appearance Sunday, but his Monday detention hearing was delayed until Tuesday afternoon. A message seeking comment was left with his defense attorney.
Pressure cookers have been a source of tension in the wake of the Boston bombings, the bombs were made out of shrapnel filled pressure cookers they killed three people and injured 260.
Read more: Okaz
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