Press Releases

2nd S. African Muslim Scholar Denied Entry to U.S.

In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful



(WASHINGTON, D.C., 10/21/06) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) reported today that a second South African Muslim scholar has been denied entry to the United States.

Moulana Fazlur Rahman Azmi was refused entry when he landed in San Francisco on Friday. Azmi was invited to give lectures and to take part in the religious activities marking the end of Ramadan at the Islamic Society of East Bay in Fremont, Calif.

Members of the mosque say they waited more than nine hours to pick up Azmi, a diabetic who had been fasting even during his trip from London to San Francisco. They have not been allowed to talk to or provide food for the 60-year-old scholar and were not told why he had been denied entry. (Azmi had previously entered the United States without any problem in April of this year.)

In September, another South African Muslim scholar was similarly denied entry at a Virginia airport. At that time, CAIR expressed concerns that there is a pattern of targeting Muslim scholars traveling to the United States.

SEE: Imam From South Africa Denied Entry at Dulles (Washington Post)

At that time, CAIR sent letters to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of State about the issue of visiting scholars, but has not received a reply from either agency.

“The way visiting Islamic leaders are treated by American authorities can send either a positive or negative message to Muslims worldwide,” said CAIR Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper. “So far, the message in this case has been negative.”

Immigration officials at San Francisco International Airport told CAIR that Azmi spent Friday night in detention and will shortly be put on a plane leaving the country.

CAIR, America’s largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 32 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

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CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail:


Council on American-Islamic Relations
453 New Jersey Avenue, S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20003
Tel: 202-488-8787, 202-744-7726
Fax: 202-488-0833


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