CEREDO, West Virginia - A Pakistani woman whose
daughter's carry-on luggage caused an airport to shut down for 9 1/2 hours says
it was her ethnic background, not a few bottles of suspicious liquids, that set
off security officials.
Initial laboratory testing by the FBI turned up no evidence of explosive
materials in the bottles carried at Tri-State Airport in West Virginia by Rima
Qayyum, a 28-year-old Pakistani woman dressed in the traditional Islamic
No charges were filed against the woman, who was never detained and was
cooperative when interviewed by the FBI.
Qayyum's mother, Mian Qayyum of Jackson, Michigan, told The Associated Press
that her daughter is four months pregnant, lives in Barboursville and is
"It was not only a false alarm, it was racial discrimination because there
was nothing," Mian Qayyum said. "They should clear her name and apologize on
The FBI did not return messages Thursday night seeking comment on the
A screener noticed a bottle in Rima Qayyum's carry-on bag as she was going
through security before her 9:15 a.m. flight Thursday to Charlotte, North
Carolina, airport authority president Jim Booton said.
The terminal was evacuated at 11:25 a.m. after two bottles of liquid in the
bag initially tested positive for explosives residue twice, and a canine team
also got a positive hit. Chemical tests of the bottles' contents later turned up
no explosives, said Capt. Jack Chambers, head of the State Police Special
The woman had purchased a one-way ticket to Detroit by way of Charlotte on
Wednesday. The flight eventually left for Charlotte without her.
Rima Qayyum planned to return to the airport Friday to take another flight,
her mother said.
"She just had water to drink because she is pregnant and she had a face wash
that had a drop of bleach on it," Mian Qayyum said.
The FBI plans to perform additional tests on the bottles Friday, Killeen
U.S. authorities banned the carrying of liquids onto flights last week after
British officials made arrests in an alleged plot to blow up U.S.-bound planes
using explosives disguised as drinks and other common products.
The TSA screening looks for a range of explosives residue, some of which can
be found on common household items, said TSA spokesman Darrin Kayser.
"Anytime a prohibited item is brought to a checkpoint, then you are going to
be immediately more interested in that bag," Kayser said.
Two airlines - Comair and US Airways Express serve the airport. Commercial
airline service was suspended, and about 100 passengers and airport employees
were ordered to leave the terminal, Booton said.
After the evacuation, many passengers decided to stay and wait it out.
"We bought them pizza, soft drinks ... tried to make them comfortable as
could be in this situation," said Larry Salyers, the airport's manager. "We had
them in the parking lot, under trees, in conference rooms, the