Press Releases

German Muslim Denied Entry to U.S., Detained in Las Vegas

In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful


CAIR calls for explanation of detention, probe into treatment of detainee

(ANAHEIM, CA, 12/30/06) – The Southern California chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA) today asked for an explanation as to why a German Muslim was barred from entering the United States and is now being detained in Nevada.

According to his family, 62-year-old Majed Shehadeh is being held after arriving at Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport on Thursday. Family members say Shehadeh was interrogated for a total of more than 12 hours by officials with Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the FBI. He was also allegedly placed in a cold cell with some 25 other people and a single toilet, and prevented from taking prescribed heart medication for 20 hours.

Shehadeh, whose wife and three children are U.S. citizens, had planned to visit his daughter in Bakersfield, Calif., to celebrate her passing of the California Bar and her wedding anniversary. The family has reportedly been barred from seeing Shehadeh, and were only able to communicate with him late Friday morning. CBP officials report that he will be sent out of the country on Sunday.

“We call on the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI to explain why Mr. Shehadeh was barred from entering the United States and ask that his treatment in detention be reviewed to determine if proper procedures are being followed,” said CAIR-LA Executive Director Hussam Ayloush. “These types of incidents have the potential to further damage our nation’s image in Europe and the Muslim world.”

Ayloush said German citizens are routinely granted visa wavers for entry into the United States. Shehadeh’s wife says she and her husband have traveled to the United States almost once a year for the past 30 years.

SEE: Visa Waiver Program (VWP)

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security recently apologized to a Muslim traveler strip-searched at a Florida jail after being detained in April.

SEE: Muslim Gets Apology for April Strip Search (St. Petersburg Times)

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.

– END –

CONTACT: CAIR-LA Civil Rights Coordinator Affad Shaikh, 714-305-3730, E-Mail:; CAIR-LA Executive Director Hussam Ayloush, 714-814-4444


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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