A British Muslim family heading for Disneyland in Anaheim was reportedly barred from boarding a flight to Los Angeles by U.S. authorities at London’s Gatwick airport.
Department of Homeland Security officials provided no explanation for why the country refused to allow the family of 11 to board the plane even though they had been granted travel authorization online ahead of their planned Dec. 15 flight, The Guardian reports. Was someone in the group on a no-fly list or a recent visitor to terror-training region? We don't know.
Indeed, the incident has sparked international fears of an overreaction by U.S. officials to the recent terrorism by Islamic radicals in Paris and San Bernardino.
“Online and offline discussions reverberate with the growing fear UK Muslims are being ‘trumped’–that widespread condemnation of Donald Trump’s call for no Muslim to be allowed into America contrasts with what is going on in practice,” British Labour Member of Parliament Stella Creasy writes in The Guardian, adding that she was in contact with at least one other constituent who had had a similar experience.
British Prime Minister David Cameron, who had already described Trump’s remarks as “stupid, divisive and wrong,” is looking into why the Muslim family was denied their trip to Disneyland and Universal Studios, according to a Downing Street spokesperson..
The Weekly has reached out for comment from the Council on American-Islamic Relations' Greater Los Angeles office, which is just down the road in Anaheim from The Happiest Place on Earth. This post will be updated should that reaction come.
Though the family was not informed of the reason for the action, one of them, Mohammad Tariq Mahmood, called it “obvious:” Due to the recent terrorism, “They think every Muslim poses a threat.”
To add insult to insult, the airline told the family they would not be refunded the $13,340 cost of their flights, and they had to return everything they bought at the airport’s duty-free shops before being escorted off the premises.
“I have never been more embarrassed in my life,” Mahmood told The Guardian. “I work here, I have a business here. But we were alienated.”
OC Weekly Editor-in-Chief Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the alternative newsweekly’s first calendar editor.