The 6-Year-Old Boy Who Is Already On A No Fly List

by Eric

One of the challenges associated with no-fly lists is when they include people who are not doing anything that warrants suspicion.  In Markham, Ontario (Canada), a 6-year-old boy has reportedly been flagged as a travel risk since before he could even talk.  Syed Adam Ahmed’s family has kept him unaware of the security attention surrounding him, but they say they have repeatedly gotten in touch with airline staff and government officials to find out why their son has been targeted.


His parents, Sulemaan Ahmed and Khadija Cajee, first realized that there was something wrong shortly after he was born when they were traveling to Mexico on a family vacation. They couldn’t check in online for their flights and border guards took their passports away for further examination.  They had assumed at the time that it was related to one of them, and certainly not their toddler.  Vice News reported that a few months later, they were trying to fly to Halifax, Nova Scotia, and an Air Canada agent told them that their infant son had a “deemed high profile” label on his file, meaning that he was potentially on a Canadian or an American no-fly list and would require special screening.


Despite never having been banned from flying, the family says that they have to routinely arrive at airports early in order to clear the extra screening.  The family has made efforts to reach out to Canadian authorities to understand the situation, but have not heard back.  Recently, on their trip to the Boston area to watch the Winter Classic hockey game at Gillette Stadium, the Air Canada agent allowed Sulemaan to take a photo indicating that their son is a “High Profile” guest.

Have you had similar experiences with being on a no-fly list, or requiring extra screening on a consistent basis?  I know of several people who have the misfortune of sharing the same name as someone on a watch list and must go through extra screening when they fly.


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GUWonder January 5, 2016 - 9:58 am

The young child has not only one of the most common first names in the world, he also has one of the most common names in the world as his last name too. That is a recipe for problems, more so when the child’s name are common names amongst Muslims.

Just another sign that aviation blacklists should be legally regulated to only apply to people convicted in a fair and open criminal trial conducted under ordinary criminal court systems.

If you’re free enough to move about via a rental car, you should also be free to move about using tickets for air carriage.

Eric January 5, 2016 - 10:04 am

GUWonder –

One of the individual’s that I know who shares a name with someone on a no-fly list is Michael Johnson. Speaking of common names, right!

GUWonder January 5, 2016 - 10:22 am

One of the problem with the no-fly blacklists hitting passengers in the US and Canada is that some of the those targeted to be hit by these blacklists are targets without even associating the names with a birthdate or birth year. I’ve even seen situations where the blacklists’ sex designator is incorrect or otherwise being incorrectly applied to people of a different sex than that indicated by the names.

The implementation of no-fly blacklists in North Amercia has multiple fundamental flaws: people/names are blacklisted without open trial; people/names blacklisted even without sufficient public notification of all the blacklisting; persons/names added to blacklists with missing and/or incorrect biodata elements (which could even be the names being incorrect); the soundex-equivalent runs for hits between airline PNR/manifest info and government blacklists was designed to snag more people in the hopes of missing fewer blacklisted people due to partial mismatches; the runs for hits between airline PNR/manifest info and government blacklists interact in not always reliable ways.

The North American aviation blacklist idea — from concept to implementation — is flawed from the beginning.

blacksheep January 7, 2016 - 11:32 am

For nearly 10 years, I’ve been pulled out for screening by the idiots to our north. This because they claim I had a problem 15 years ago in the US. US authorities have no record of this, but have pulled my Global Entry because the idiots up north told them to. The joke is that I fly 200,000 each year and have no problem anywhere in the world except in Canuck land. I used to visit there a lot, but no more. I’ll spend my money elsewhere. By the way, the problem was finally resolved last year, but the bitter taste lingers.

Echris January 7, 2016 - 12:28 pm

Guess he won’t be able to buy a gun either. Lot of folks want to ban people on the no-fly list and this is exactly why that is a stupid idea. Be supportive of such a requirement until you are the one who is mistakenly put on the “bad” list.

Nathanielle Sean Crawford January 8, 2016 - 10:37 am

What did he do, get airsick before he could open up the bag? I cleaned planes once and the worst thing a kid his age ever did was pee in one of the seats. Even though I worked in the airport post 9/11, I didn’t quite consider that a matter to bother the Homeland Security officers over.

losingtrader June 16, 2016 - 1:52 pm

He looks radicalized to me. Just sayin’


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