After months of saving for a family trip to Disneyland, a family of 11 British Muslims was told by UK border officials that they wouldn’t be allowed to board a plane to the United States.
“A man from UK Border Force came and said, ‘I’m sorry you can’t board this flight. We received a call from Washington, D.C. that we can’t allow this family to board the flight’,” Mohammad Zahid Mahmood told the BBC.
Mahmoud was traveling with his brother and nine of their children, and spent 9,000 GBP ($13,384.80) on plane tickets that were not refunded. They were also prevented from traveling despite having applied for and been granted travel authorization weeks before their scheduled departure. The family was also forced to return all their purchases from the duty-free store before being escorted out of the airport.
Stella Creasy, a Labour Party Member of Parliament, wrote to Prime Minister David Cameron asking him to further investigate why British Muslims are being rejected from traveling to the United States.
“Creasy said she is concerned that a growing number of British Muslims are saying they have had similar experiences of being barred from the US without being told the reasons for the exclusion,” the Guardian reported.
British citizens are granted authorization to enter the U.S. under the Visa Waiver Program, but America has seemingly made it harder for British Muslims to travel stateside. Noted British Imam Ajmal Mansour was also recently turned away from a flight to New York.
“I am baffled, annoyed and angry,” he wrote in a Facebook post. “USA has the right to issue and revoke visa — I fully understand that. 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!”