A British Muslim family was barred by the Department of Homeland Security from traveling to the United States to visit Disneyland, The Guardian reports. The family of 11 was reportedly headed to the resort from Gatwick Airport, but was refused to board “even though they had been granted travel authorization online” ahead of the Dec. 15 flight.
It's unclear why the relatives were blocked from entering the United States, and whether any of the travelers were on federal “no-fly” lists. Other Muslims from Britain have also reported that their travel authorizations were revoked without explanation. The matter has sparked fury among U.K. activists and politicians, and follows U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump's call to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the United States following the Dec. 2 attack in San Bernardino, Calif., which was carried out by Muslim attackers.
Aides to Prime Minister David Cameron reportedly said he will examine the situation.
Mohammad Tariq Mahmood, one of the relatives turned away from the flight, said the reason they were barred is “obvious.”
“It's because of the attacks on America — they think every Muslim poses a threat,” Mahmood told The Guardian.
In a subsequent interview with ITV News, Mahmood said the family had been planning the trip for months.
“The kids are excited, and all of a sudden some person just comes and says ‘you’re not allowed to board the plane,’ with no explanation given,” he said. “It's devastating. We were alienated, the way we were just taken out of the room.”
Nobody in the family had been arrested, connected to a terror organization or traveled to Syria, he told ITV News.
Stella Creasy, a British politician, denigrated the matter in a column.
“Online and offline discussions reverberate with the growing fear that UK Muslims are being ‘trumped’ — that widespread condemnation of Donald Trump's call for no Muslim to be allowed into America contrasts with what is going on in practice,” she wrote. “Faced with such claims, our concern should be to offer more than a critique of American Republican primary political positioning. Because this isn't happening in the US. It's happening on British soil, at our airports and involving our citizens and challenging their sense of place in our society too.”
After the column was published, Creasy was contacted online by other Muslims who claimed that they were barred from traveling to the United States.
A well-known imam, Ajmal Masroor, also stated that his visa authorization was revoked earlier this month, before he boarded a Virgin Atlantic flight.
“USA has the right to issue and revoke visa — I fully understand that,” Masroor wrote. “However not forwarding any reasons infuriates ordinary people. It does not win the hearts and minds of people, it turns them off. I am amazed how irrational these processes are but does USA care about what you and I think? I don't think so! It is the emperor and it does what it damn wills.”
He later wrote that he was invited to a meeting with the U.S. Embassy to clear up the matter — and hoped to set up a website that focuses on the issue.
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