Distinction in travel journalism
Is independent travel journalism important to you?
Click here to keep it independent

13 Feb, 2013

U.S. Muslim Returning Home After No-Fly Denial of Boarding “Reviewed”


(MINNEAPOLIS, MN, 2/12/13) – On Tuesday, February 12, 2013 representatives of the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN) will meet Mohamed Farah, a Muslim United States citizen of Somali heritage stranded abroad for a month, at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

On January 9, 2013, Farah was scheduled to board an Ethiopian Airlines flight from Nairobi, Kenya, to the United States. When Farah attempted to secure his boarding pass, he was told that he would not be allowed to fly, and that this denial was at the request of the United States government.

Farah filed a complaint with the American Embassy in Kenya, the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL). He also filed a TRIP request — all to no avail.

In a February 4, 2013, letter to Secretary of State John Kerry and U.S. Ambassador to Kenya Robert F. Godec, CAIR-MN attorneys stated that they are “deeply concerned that the United States is unlawfully preventing an American citizen from returning to the United States by making it impossible for him to board a flight from Kenya.”

SEE: CAIR-MN Asks Feds to Allow Muslim Citizen to Return to Minnesota

On February 8, 2013, the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi issued a letter stating: “Mr. Mohamed Farah, an American citizen…was denied boarding on an Ethiopian Air flight from JKIA to the United States on January 9, 2013. In the intervening time, the U.S. Government has reviewed his case. It is the consensus of the U.S. Government that he was wrongly denied boarding, and that we have no objection to his returning to the United States via air travel at his earliest possible convenience.”

On February 11, 2013, Farah was allowed to board a flight to the United States. His arrival time is 7:02pm on February 12, 2013 at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. “We are pleased that Mr. Farah can exercise his right to return home,” said CAIR-MN Executive Director Lori Saroya. “There’s no justification in denying an American citizen entry into the United States for a month, without due process.”

Saroya said Farah, who is the main financial provider for his family, risked losing his job due to his absence.

Following intervention by CAIR-OK a U.S. citizen and Air Force veteran living in Qatar, was recently allowed to return to the United States. He had been struggling to return home for six months after being denied boarding on previous flights to visit his terminally-ill mother.

SEE: Muslim Returns to Oklahoma After Being on U.S. ‘No-Fly’ List

CAIR, a Washington-based Muslim civil rights organization, has dealt with a number of similar cases nationwide in which Muslim citizens are prevented from returning to the United States or faced government coercion when seeking to return home.

Video: CAIR Assists NY Muslim Stranded Overseas by No-Fly List

Video: CAIR Works to Help Calif. Muslim on No-Fly List Return Home

Student Takes Long Way Home After ‘No-Fly’ Designation (MSNBC)

CAIR: Embassy Returns Passport to U.S. Muslim Stuck in Kuwait

CAIR Seeks Probe of Whether FBI Sought Torture of U.S. Muslim

CAIR Asks DOJ to Probe Oregon FBI’s ‘Coercion’ of Muslim Citizens

CAIR: Va. Muslim on No-Fly List Returning to U.S.