Muslim Couple Speaks Out; Escorted From Mall

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FORT SMITH (KFSM) --  Fort Smith Police were called to Central Mall by mall security to escort a couple from the premises on Saturday (Dec. 19).

That couple was Alan and Daphne Crawford, who were dressed in a thobe and a hijab.

According to the police report, officers were called because people  were concerned about the couple's action.

"I had two unknown subjects come up to me and advise me that a male subject wearing a thobe was video recording everyone in the mall and he was video-taping the entrances of several stores," stated officer Anthony Cox in the police report.

According to the report, mall security told Crawford he was not allowed to record video in the mall according to mall policy.

People who were in the mall took pictures as Crawford, his wife and son were escorted from the property. Those pictures, along with several other posts about the incident, were shared on Facebook more than 2,000 times. The posts are worded with phrases like "terrorist threat on the mall" and "Muslims have been scoping the layout of the mall." Police have not confirmed any threats and the Crawfords are speaking out about what people are saying about them. Alan Crawford said a Fort Smith police officer approached him and asked for his drivers license.

"He informed me that he needed me to lift up my thobe in order to obtain my ID. What crime I committed, I don't know," he said. "I wasn't aware that police officers show up five at a time to enforce mall law. If you want me to leave, I will leave happily."

Crawford said he was at the mall to hand out cards for a local charity and to shop with his wife. He said he did not see a sign posted on the mall entrance about recording video not being allowed.

"We purchased about $200 worth of Sperry shoes, which I'd be happy to show everybody. There's nothing better than Sperrys. These things last about two to three years a piece and some beautiful Armani glasses from Lens Crafters. And these are the crimes we committed at the mall this weekend," Crawford said.

When asked if he ever recorded video inside of the mall Crawford said he only recorded audio.

"I audio recorded the police officer and held my camera in the manner that would lead him to believe that I did video tape while he screamed at me and told me that 'I can confiscate your phone'. You can't confiscate my phone for mall law. I violated mall law, OK? Which wasn't even clearly posted," he said.

Crawford said he has a message for people who have posted about he and his wife on Facebook and others in the community that have seen them out.

"Co-exist. Spread love not hate. This is what this world is about. Whether you are Christian, Jewish, Atheist. I don't care. Spread love not hate. I don't care what religion you are. Killing someone for your religion is wrong. Completely wrong," he said.

Alan and Daphne Crawford are also the couple in a flyer that has been circulating on Facebook. The flyer has a picture of the couple in their head dress, and asks people to call police if they are seen out. It's a flyer that Crawford said has caused his family a lot of grief. The flyer was circulating around town during the time that Master Sgt. Josh Wheeler's memorial service was held in Muldrow.

"It broke my heart. It absolutely destroyed me. I was in the infantry. The infantry is a brotherhood. The infantry is a bond that is unbreakable. Death before dishonor. We'll never lose each other. We will never leave each other," Crawford said. "That's how our country rolls. I couldn't even go to my own brothers funeral. If i had I would have been treated like a terrorist. This shouldn't be happening in America."

Crawford said after the flyer and allegations on Facebook, he plans to move his family away from the area. The Crawfords also said they have had people plant small bombs in their yard.

"It's sad really. Anyone can come up to us and ask us anything they want to ask us. We stopped and spoke with a couple in the mall and they ended up sticking up with us later  on Facebook saying that they had met us and we were a Muslim family trying to do holiday shopping. It's kind of scary," said Daphne Crawford.


    • silentthriver

      He wasn’t able to attend the funeral due to the flyers that were being handed out around town with him and his wife in traditional head dress, asking people to call police if they are seen. If he had attended the funeral, others in attendance that had seen the flyer would have immediately have thought they were terrorists wanted by the police. It was not due to what he might or might not wear to the funeral. If you read the article, it clearly spells this out.

  • barbjaarsma

    Actually – Mad Max – the mall’s “policy” violates the first amendment. In such cases, Federal law trumps local stupidity. I hope they sue, because they will win.

    • L. (@Grid_Gypsy)

      No, shopping malls are private property and aren’t subject to the 1st amendment unless the state in which the property is located gives it’s residents broader rights. For reference, see the 1980 Supreme Court’s Pruneyard v. Robins.

    • Scott Deiterman

      A private party is not subject to the 1st amendment, as a private party is not a state action. The bill of rights was a list of things the government would not infringe. However, a private company, like a mall or walmart, can limit what you do while on store property.

  • Beth Hotvedt

    Why didn’t mall security approach them quietly, tell they they were not to take videos in the mall, and let them leave unobtrusively? Sounds to me like the mall security and the police were the ones who caused the scene, not the couple. You know the couple would not have been treated like that if they were wearing regular “American” looking clothing. Having made these statements, I do have to admit that I might have been nervous about the couple filming video, as I have seldom, if ever, seen anyone filming videos in the mall.

    • Suzie Quintano

      Honestly, I worked in retail for years and we always had tourists or newly immigrated people taking pictures and video to send home. It was never for ill purposes. Our store never made a big deal, but if we thought other people were concerned, we quietly asked them to stop.

    • DK Brothers

      You’re right Susan George Brown! There has been this group of folks acting strange around my job of late. They claim to be followers of the gardener jesus. I think they are lying.

    • James Ames

      You mean you predication ISLAM STATE OF AMERICA ? I think too late to say something.We did not say something in 2009.Today is 2015.Did you know Obama told FBI not to touch jihad militas camps in Ohio? IS is growing on us soil.Give or take 1 in 6 will join IS with help “take of advange” of Gun law,Sharia law,Martial law,FEMA death camps,Collar collapse,etc etc etc
      I think Obama is our last presdient.
      I hope your predication dont come true.

  • jstnotherday

    Ok, if you’re video taping yourselves or an event that’s one thing, but simply video-taping entrances…. yeah, that’s suspicious… and give me a break, these people were being deliberately provocative, just like the kid that took ‘a clock’ to school and made sure it appeared suspicious. This was quite obviously a ploy, just as was the other.

  • iwaswrite

    This is just like the clock incident. They are taking “innocent events” and blowing them (no pun intended) out of proportion. Then they sue, win millions, and I’m convinced that money is being sent back “home.” He doesn’t have to be one to sympathize with them, and he clearly went to the mall with his wife, dressed “in cultural attire” to cause a scene. The fact that he made it “look” like he was taping, was trying to create a melee or outrage, which he will use to say he is being persecuted. I’m so tired of this. I used to be very welcoming and accepting of others, but I think if the world is under attack, we ALL need to come together to isolate just WHO the terrorists are AND where they get their $$.

  • lynnea1

    They cant be so naive as to think they wouldnt stand out filming in a place that could be a soft target. They took that religion upon themselves knowing full well there could be ramifications. Dont act incredulous and snarky to the police over something virtually is common knowledge that you dont do in malls, retail stores, etc. Point your “outrage” instead toward the extremists who you claim have hijacked your religion for their dastardly deeds! Start standing against them, not the people who were doing their job in an effort to keep others safe!

  • Buck Dear

    Now he’ll be invited to the White House and you liberal idiots commenting in favor of these idiots are the problem, have been the problem and will continue to be the problem……40 years of liberal apologists, excusing terrorists, have created a world-wide-monster, now out-of-the-box, and uncontrollable. Now, Israel, Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Libya, Lebanon, the Levant, North Africa, Nigeria, Africa, Asia, Philippines, Australia, UK, Russia, Sweden, Belgium, Germany, France, Paris, the USA, New York, California, are all suffering the terror and murder created by apologists who thought “oh, it’s only Israel’s problem let’s not condemn them but praise them as ‘freedom fighters'”.

  • Robert Grainger

    Claim stupidity, pull out the offense card, pull out the profiling card and voila, another Muslim law suit…law says no video recording….so what do these very obviously dressed in Muslim garb do…video tape…me thinks no accident,

  • Tommy Brauer

    NO!! Don’t you dare move from that town.. otherwise it just gives others the power over your choice of religion and how you live your lives. God would be ashamed if you leave.

  • tassitee

    Nobody should videotape strangers without their permission, especially kids. This was a violation of the privacy of other shoppers. The Islamic couple should apologize.

  • Tim Fromla

    MY GOSH THEY ARE WHITE! Imagine if they were dark skinned folks? Imagine that, even your white neighbors may be terrorists!!!!! You want them to have access to firearms too?

  • Jamie Laurence

    Seems a little ridiculous. He never answered the question about “are you planning an attack on central mall.” Often question avoidance is a sign that something is being hidden.

    Now, I can understand people filming in the mall to see their kids having fun, or if someone is fighting and they want video evidence or something of the sort, but filming people going into and out of a store for no given reason? There is something highly suspect. Of course he plays the religion card and claims discrimination, just as any terrorist would do.

  • Éirinn Colleen

    I highly doubt any of the mall visitors complaining about the couple actually knew enough to call the garment a “thobe.” That would indicate some intelligence and a modicum of understanding of Muslims, and based on the ignorance displayed by the mall employees and the folks on this thread, I find that highly unlikely.

  • Rickey Gile

    Sue the mall, then sue the police. They had no reason at all to detain you and certainly could not confiscate any of your property. If the mall has a policy, it needs to be posted clearly in a obvious place. If you violated that policy, mall security should have simply advised you of this so you could stop. You have grounds for a lawsuit here.

  • Ron Ballard (@Ron4731)

    Logically, if your Muslim it would be a pretty dumb thing to be anywhere where a lot of people gather and be seen taking a series of pictures in any free world country that’s on the attack list of terrorists. Since terrorists have been so brazen in their attacks it would not be beyond the realm of possibility for the pair to have been taking “before and after” pictures prior to making an actual attack. What happened to these people is exactly should happen to any group of people that pose a hidden threat of death to others until such a threat no longer exists. Sorry if they feel persecuted, but when a particular part of a group goes around killing people it is obviously going to reflect back on the whole until they themselves put a stop to such intolerable behavior by those who also identify themselves as Muslim and followers of Islam.

  • Theresa Warren

    “We were a Muslim family trying to do holiday shopping,” that’s taqiyya, they don’t celebrate this holiday. I think they were purposefully trying to provoke alarm at minimum. The fact they lie or allow a misconception as to the holiday adds to my alarm, given we just had an attack centered on a Christian holiday party.

    • Shakira Graham

      Many of us are converts and have family that celebrate Christmas so we gifts for them. We don’t ignore our families during this holiday, we spend it with them and get a gift or two. Not sure how hard that is for people to understand.

  • Lyn Anne

    Tired of Muslims crying foul and using their “religion” as discrimination now. They violated mall policies so were escorted out. Plain and simple.

  • underdogisaac

    yeah, these two are are shiny examples of america. Do stupid stuff and complain about how people react. They can feign ignorance all they like, it’s just plain stupid to dress up in your muslim outfit, go to a mall, and start filming. Complain all you want, the courts will uphold this actions because the malls set the policy. “I thought this is america, land of the free” you might cry. Well we aint so free actually. I can’t run around yelling fire in a theater, and I also can’t go film in a mall without permission. Being ignorant of the fact that I can’t do those things does not mean I get to complain about the effects. You’re no different. In fact, if I were the police then I would have arrested both of them for inciting panic. I mean, seriously, with everything that is going on do you really think you’re in a position to be “wronged” when you are either the dumbest americans in the world or intentionally causing problems because you think that you deserve rights that nobody else has? Yeah, the mall is privately owned, if they don’t want you filming then they can tell you to leave. And if you wear your muslim garb while filming storefronts then you are a terrorist. You are intentionally trying to scare people, unless your IQ is equivalent to the number of cards in the average deck.

  • JFT (@MatchGame1978)

    Can someone at Channel 5 explain to us why nothing was mentioned in the article as to WHY they were videotaping the entrances of the mall? This is the most sugar-coated story I’ve ever read. Had this news organization been reporting the story of the attack on Pearl Harbor, you would have been seeing interviews of Japanese citizens who were offended and how America deserved this attack. Oh, and the by the way, Muslims don’t celebrate Christmas… how could they be “holiday” shopping? Pathetic journalism.

  • Ray Watters

    This was just an attention seeking event. The man states they ate bacon cheeseburgers, in an effort to show they are not serious muslims. Really? Then why wear all the muslim garb? They will probably try to sue the mall for discrimination.

  • Sam Allen

    Is this Arkansas we are talking about? People have really shown how evil and dumb they are. In this great country you have a great percentage of “Dumb and Dumber” type of people that are beginning to appear every where. The question you have to ask yourself is “are you as dumb as they come or even dumber?” People, please educate yourselves before making any judgment or opening your uneducated and ignorant mouth.

  • Patty Harris Doss

    At a very real time of angst in most countries, including ours, this Fort Smith, AR Muslim couple, dressed in their distinctive attire, made a very unique decision with seemingly no empathy toward all Americans, religion or no; also, without an explanation as to why they were video recording the entrances to the mall and the people in it. If indeed they are sincere in their “spread love, not hate” statement, then they should take heed as well and appreciate the sensitivity which surrounds the reality of the radical side of their chosen religion (yes, any religion, unfortunately)…BUT, right here and now the radical islam terror warnings/threats are very real and too close for comfort. Read the article below, please, we should ALL take heed…and by the way, to the sympathizers and politically correct, this isn’t islamophobia, it’s wisdom 101: (article in part)

    HOMELAND SECURITY ACTIVATES NEW TERROR LEVEL WARNING LEVEL (USA Today, Kevin Johnson, 5 days ago) WASHINGTON — Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson activated the National Terrorism Advisory System for the first time Wednesday, warning the public of “self-radicalized actors who could strike with little or no notice.” ..The Department of Homeland Security is “especially concerned that terrorist-inspired individuals and homegrown violent extremists may be encouraged or inspired to target public events or places,” the bulletin stated. “As we saw in the recent attacks in San Bernardino and Paris, terrorists will consider a diverse and wide selection of targets for attacks,” the DHS notice said. …In the bulletin issued Wednesday, the public was urged to report suspicious activity to authorities and offered guidance for how community leaders, co-workers and family members may recognize “signs of potential radicalization to violence.”
    With much of the country in the midst of holiday celebrations, the notice also said that “more stringent security should also be anticipated at public places and events.”
    “This may include a heavy police presence, additional restrictions and searches on bags and the use of screening technologies,” the bulletin stated.
    Johnson signaled the system change as recently as last week, saying that the recent attacks illustrated “a new phase in the global terrorist threat” that includes both terrorist-directed assaults and those inspired by organizations that involve single attackers or small groups who can often evade law enforcement detection…

  • Jerry Doubleday

    Since 9/11 There has been laws put in place regarding the video taping or photographing of Malls Bridges and many other installations. This couple should know this I doubt they were doing anything but making trouble. This guy is upset about his Muslim rights but he’ll gladly eat a Bacon cheeseburger and laugh about it. Whatta Joke. Walk around in your costumes all you want. But abide by the law.

  • Spike and Crown

    A logical question the reporter should had asked is why were they filming? That seems to be what everyone wants to know. A lot of things don’t add up. Why would he bring it up about a “bacon” cheeseburger and then laugh about it. If he is a devout Muslim, he wouldn’t be eating it. Seems to be making a mockery of the Muslim faith. I don’t buy his “Muslim” faith gimmick. I think they’re looking for attention or something to just complain about.

  • irishmanknowsall

    Gee, Mr. Crawford, maybe you should have thought three times before converting to an alleged religion that is in total direct conflict of absolutely everything that America stands for. All Muslim beliefs, are totally incompatible with American melting pot beliefs. Before you film again on private property, ask first. Try and grasp the fact Americans are pretty nervous over any Middle Eastern knucklehead these days…..assimilate, or leave. Tolerance has limits.

  • Randy Lovely

    I thought this was a news story. Where is the police report? Where is an interview, or statement of refusal to give one, with mall management? Right, it’s actually just a one-sided hit piece to again make Americans feel that we are bad people. Another home-made alarm clock science project. I bet they get money and attention too, not that they were looking for it. smh

  • Vickie Sharpless Birch

    Unless I missed something in the article, my question is why? In this day & time why would anyone videotape a mall? I don’t care what religion you are or what you’re wearing. That’s strange behavior. I’m 55 & have never thought well, let me go videotape a bunch of strangers at the local mall. Of course people are going to be suspicious & rightfully so. Those that have commented that being escorted out was an overreaction, it’s only an overreaction because nothing terrible happened. I think they were just looking for their 15 minutes of fame & we’re giving it to them.

  • Lann A Meyers

    I don’t think it would have made any difference what race or religion they are,if that is the mall policy,that is the mall policy. Someone always has to make it about race and/or religion, which is half the problem in this country anymore

  • Corey Looper

    These people are no more Muslim than the man in the moon. They are gloryhounds looking for attention. I know nothing of Islam but in the interview a few things struck me as unusual. First, he spoke of eating bacon, which is forbiden, secondly, his wife’s face was not covered and finally when they walked away from the camera they were side by side. Makes you wonder of their motives. Perhaps they are a comedy team, remember Borak and the UFC match?

  • Kathy Blair Belk


  • John Shields

    ofter i take pictures in the mall, not because i am anyone out of the ordanary but because i have a terrible memory and i want to see something i want to research later on the internet or show something to someone to ask something about, people should be aloud to shop freely wearing what they want as long as it is not indecent such as nudity or whatever

  • Marc Williams

    Co-exist.. Your dreaming if you believe that, Burning our flag and chants of (Death to America) are all warm and cozy statements to unite us all..Sorry cant go with that co-exist stuff

  • cecilfrank

    Lets see a show of hands here…How many of you have members of law enforcement in your family?…How many of you were told over the past few weeks that they were watching activity…..well, I can’t say that…How many of you were warned by those family members to avoid large crowded areas such as malls and parades? I was. There’s more going on behind the scenes than the average person may know.

    • cecilfrank

      And how many of you witnessed the middle eastern man in Walmart, Rogers Ave, Saturday the 4th of December at 12:15 am trying to buy a basket full of 50+ AT&T go phones? And how he acted in the parking lot after he was told he could only buy 2. And what about the full propane tanks that were stolen from the cage outside Meadors Lumber one night? Did you read about that too?

      • cecilfrank

        I’m not saying these people are terrorist. BUT, I do think they did this for publicity. And they seem to be getting plenty. Its the ones that we don’t see we need to be concerned about.

  • Jim Stovall

    II visited the arboretum in New York City shortly after 9/11. Everywhere I travel I take pictures and get information on chapels, cathedrals and churches. So I took some pictures of a university chapel. It was a nice looking, stone building. However, the campus police came to me like Gestapo and was belligerent about my suspicious activity. I quit taking pictures. One must understand what NYC was going through in those terrible days.
    However, there is no way I would have known pictures were prohibited. Those kind of rules need to be posted a lot around the country. If not, then there will be a lot of incidents that invite suspicion.
    When I was a child the post office in our home town contained spittoons. Then a law denied people the right to spit in public buildings. No one told the custodian. So the spittoons were left out on the floor. The Post Master went ballistic when he saw some people spitting. Of course the spitters assumed the spittoons were there for a purpose. As you know, probably from a bad experience, “ignorance is no excuse for violating the law!” If the ignorance is accomplished by the law-maker is a lock-tight defense.

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