BRITISH MUSLIM DENIED ENTRY TO U.S.
(ANAHEIM, CA, 7/1/07) – The Greater Los Angeles area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA) today asked for an explanation as to why a British Muslim citizen was barred from entering the United States and sent back to the UK less than 24 hours after his arrival.
According to his family, 57-year-old Rashid Ahmed Esakjee was detained after arriving at Los Angeles International Airport on Thursday evening. Family members reported to CAIR-LA that initially all five members of the family were escorted off the plane but later released, except for Esakjee.
The family was planning to visit their daughter Rashida Esakjee and her family on the occasion of the birth of a new baby boy. Esakjee has previously traveled several times to the U.S. without any problems, family members said. He has lived in the U.K. for 40 years and owns a business there.
“My father is a hardworking man and a respectable member of the community,” said Rashida Esakjee. “He just came to see his grandchildren, but unfortunately, was deprived of that opportunity. We want to know why my father, a law-abiding citizen, was treated this way.”
Esakjee was sent back to the U.K. Friday afternoon and arrived there safely. The British Embassy confirmed with CAIR-LA that no action on its part had led to Esakjee’s detention or denial of entry to the United States.
CAIR-LA is investigating the incident.
“We call on the government agencies involved to explain why Mr. Esakjee was barred from entering the United States without any explanation,” said CAIR-LA Civil Rights Coordinator Affad Shaikh. “These types of incidents may be perceived as discriminatory and have the potential to further damage our nation’s image in Europe and the Muslim world.”
Shaikh also said British citizens are regularly granted visa waivers for entry into the United States. Esakjee’s family has additionally contacted Congresswoman Lois Capps’ office to assist with the investigation of this incident.
SEE: Visa Waiver Program (VWP)
SEE: U.S. Losing out on International Tourism (AP)
SEE: German Man denied entry to U.S. (Bakersfield Californian)
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security recently apologized to a Muslim traveler who was strip-searched at a Florida jail after being detained in April.
SEE ALSO: Muslim Gets Apology for April Strip Search (St. Petersburg Times)
CAIR, America’s largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 33 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.
CONTACT: CAIR-LA Civil Rights Coordinator Affad Shaikh, 714-305-3730, E-Mail: email@example.com; CAIR-LA Communications Coordinator Munira Syeda, 714-851-4851, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.