When Amar Ibrahim placed a “can-like object” on the rear wheel of the No. 66 bus at the Brigham Circle stop recently, he presumably didn’t intend to frighten passengers or provoke a response from the police bomb squad, still less to get arrested on charges of interfering with public transportation, disorderly conduct, and littering. The mysterious object, after all, was only a chocolate milk bottle.
Ibrahim’s defenders argue that the authorities overreacted, spooked more by his outfit — the 27-year-old immigrant from Eritrea was dressed in a long white thobe, a common men’s garment in the Middle East — than by anything objectively dangerous in his behavior. “Just because you dress in Muslim clothes does not make you a terrorist,” Ibrahim’s brother-in-law, Ahmed Ibrahim, told reporters.