British imam banned from flying to New York over Facebook followers

Published: January 15, 2016
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Ajmal Masroor, Speaking on Sky News PHOTO via Telegraph

Ajmal Masroor, Speaking on Sky News PHOTO via Telegraph

A British imam has claimed he was banned from flying to New York in December because US authorities did not like one of his 4,500 Facebook followers.

“I’m still waiting for them to let me know why they banned me. They said they had a problem with someone who followed my Facebook page who they wanted to speak to,” Ajmal Masroor said.

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“As to who they were referring to, I don’t know, they didn’t explain themselves. What makes them think they can revoke my visa without reason?” he added.

On December 17, Masroor, who was due to lead prayers at a mosque in Queens, New York, was told by the US embassy officials at Heathrow Airport that his business visa would be revoked and he would not be allowed to travel.

The 44-year-old blames the ban on anti-Islamic hysteria caused by Donald Trump. The Republican presidential candidate has called for a complete ban on all Muslims travelling to the US.

“It’s part of this Trumpmania – he has no power and has not won a single vote but his policies are somehow still being enacted,” he said.

Speaking about his Facebook followers, he said, “It’s scandalous, thousands of people follow my Facebook page and I don’t know about 99.9 per cent of them – it is so ridiculous. I have no control over it, I could follow Barack Obama, it’s an open forum on social media.”

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The former Lib Dem parliamentary candidate, who has received death threats after speaking out against extremism in the past, has set up a website www.flyingwhilemuslim.org.uk so that Muslims who have had similar experiences while trying to travel to the US can share their experiences.

“I have been searched a lot in the past going to America and held in various places, we expect to get harassed to some extent, but it is only recently Muslims have been targeted to this level. The authorities need to explain why they have taken this action, I know of at least another 20 British Muslims who have been turned away,” he said.

“The website is for everyone who has had some experience or trouble with US immigration can log their complaints so we can tell the world,” he explained.

This article originally appeared on Telegraph.

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Reader Comments (6)

  • Travis
    Jan 15, 2016 - 8:14PM

    Getting a visa is a privilege, not a right. Move on.Recommend

  • Travis
    Jan 15, 2016 - 8:15PM

    BTW, the US consulate does not give out specifics on why they rejected the visa. This is just a made up thing.Recommend

  • genesis
    Jan 15, 2016 - 10:19PM

    It is will and wish of the host country to accept or reject any visitor. No reasons need to be assigned.Recommend

  • G. Din
    Jan 16, 2016 - 1:07AM

    You can be denied entry, even after you have arrived. You are lucky that you won’t even need to travel. Just the fact that you think you can demand a visa simply because you are a Muslim may disqualify you. Entry visas are a privilege and a favour, not a right or an entitlement.Recommend

  • Another Indian
    Jan 16, 2016 - 2:00AM

    You do not reserve a right to a visa. Try another country now. Recommend

  • Abdullah
    Jan 16, 2016 - 2:44AM

    It`s amazing what US does. What a ridicilous system. Islamophobia.Recommend

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