CAIRO – Straying for six months outside his homeland, a US Air Force Muslim veteran was barred again from flight to visit ailing mother in Oklahoma, receiving no explanation from US officials on reasons of placing him on the government’s no-fly list.
“It is frustrating that after six months and no response from the Department of Homeland Security that they still will not allow me to fly back to my own country,” Saadiq Long said in a statement by the umbrella Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) obtained by OnIslam.net.
The dilemma of Saadiq, who served for a decade in the US army, started six months ago when he purchased a KLM ticket to Oklahoma, where he grew up to see his ailing mother.
But to his surprise, he was told by a KLM representative that he was not allowed on board because his name is placed on the US no-fly list.His visit was the first after the Muslim veteran spent a decade teaching English in three Arab countries; Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.
The Muslim veteran was never convicted or indicted in any crime.
Receiving no notice why his own government prohibited him from flying back home, Saadiq tried last Thursday to take another shot to visit his ailing mother, purchasing another ticket to travel to the US.
Yet, he was banned again from boarding his November 8 flight leaving Qatar to return to the United States.
Saadiq will now re-book his ticket to make yet another attempt to fly back to the United States before the Thanksgiving holiday.
Established in 2003 and administrated by the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Center, the “no-fly” list includes some 20,000 people deemed by the agency as known to have, or reasonably suspected of having, ties to terrorism.
About 500 of them are US citizens, according to an agency spokesman.
In May, fifteen American Muslims, including four military veterans, sued the federal government over being placed on a “no-fly” list for no apparent reason.
The Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-OK) attacked the US homeland security policies for denying Saadiq basic human rights.
“No US citizen should be denied the right to return to his or her own country,” said CAIR-OK Executive Director Adam Soltani.
“Saadiq Long is an American-born, US Air force veteran and there is no excuse for denying him the right to visit his terminally ill mother,” he added.
Saadiq is not the first Muslim to face troubles over being placed on the no-fly list for no apparent reason.
Earlier this year, an American Muslim family was kicked off a JetBlue flight because their 18-month child was flagged as no-fly.
In 2009, nine members of a Muslim family were removed from a domestic AirTran Airways flight to Orlando, Florida, after they chatted about their seats in the plane.
Another incident occurred in 2006 when six imams were removed from a domestic flight for what passengers considered suspicious behavior.
They were removed from the flight, handcuffed and detained in the airport for questioning for over five hours.
CAIR has earlier called on the Department of Justice (DOJ) to investigate acts of “coercion and intimidation” used by the FBI to pressure Muslim citizens into giving up their constitutional rights if they wished to return to the United States from overseas. source