A British imam has accused the U.S. State Department of enacting Donald Trump’s proposed ban on Muslims “before he has received a single vote,” the Guardian reports. The imam’s business visa was revoked by U.S. embassy staff at Heathrow without explanation as he tried to board a plane to New York.
Masroor said he was used to being profiled and receiving further questioning and bag searches when flying to the US. “Yet this time,” he said, “when I handed over my passport they took me aside.”
He said a man who said he was from the US embassy began to question him and asked him why he was travelling to the US. He described the official as “cold, calculated and very unhelpful”.
He was also asked about his itinerary and where he would be staying. “After some other frivolous questions, [the official] said: ‘I’m afraid your visa has been revoked’.”
Masroor added that when he asked further questions, the official said: “You must have done something wrong ,” before walking away. He claims to know of other British Muslims who have also been turned away.
Just a few days before, a British Muslim family was prevented from flying from Gatwick to Los Angeles, where they had planned to visit Disneyland. “In my mind, the refusal and revoking of my visa was calculated,” Masroor said. “For me it’s very callous.”
Today, Masroor addressed the incident on Facebook. “USA has every right to deny anyone access to its country but to single out Muslims and ban them from entering USA is simply unjust and counter productive,” he wrote. “This racism and Islamophobia merged into one terrible policy.”
“This ban would give Donald Trump and his maniacs a victory, if USA does not approve of the Trump policies then it must not bar innocent Muslims from entering USA,” he continued. “We are all victims of terrorism and terrorism doesn’t have a religion. If USA has zero Muslim tolerance then they are confirming that all Muslims are terrorist, such belief and attitude is deeply disturbing and not suitable for peaceful world.”
“USA is loosing friends and not winning hearts and minds of ordinary people by this unfair and disproportionate policy. Our response must be measured and intelligent in tackling threats. We cannot enact laws based on fear and tarnish the whole community.”
The U.S. embassy in London told the Guardian: “The embassy is aware of this matter. We are in contact with the individual and therefore have no further public comment at this time.”