A British Muslim teacher who was taken off a flight to New York City in February has claimed that he received a letter from the United States embassy denying that’s what happened. Juhel Miah posted a video online of himself being escorted off a flight from Iceland to the U.S. as he was continuing a two-part school trip with his students from Wales.
The 25-year-old, who said he had completed the relevant documents allowing him to travel to the U.S. under the Esta visa waiver program, said he was stunned at being told that he was never barred from traveling the U.S. or that he ever applied for a visa.
“Unfortunately, I was gobsmacked reading the letter,” he told BBC Radio Wales on Sunday. “The last paragraph—it says something like, ‘Mr Miah has never been denied entry to America nor has he ever applied for a visa into America.’ Both these comments are not true. I’ve got video footage of me being taken off a plane. Secondly, I’ve got the boarding pass and I’ve even got an Esta, authorized until January 2019.
“When I read this I thought it was a joke at first. This is the people I am dealing with and as to answers—I'm nowhere near.”
President Donald Trump has signed two executive orders aimed at suspending arrivals of nationals from several Muslim-majority countries. Both orders have been stalled in federal courts. After the first executive order travel ban was signed, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said he had received assurances that no British passport holder would be affected.
Miah’s local council in Wales has written to the U.S. Embassy to demand an explanation. The council confirmed that Niah is a British passport holder and doesn’t hold a passport with any other country, according to the BBC. Miah has stressed that he is not yet ready to say that he was prohibited from traveling because of his religion; he just wanted answers.
“I don’t want to put words in anyone’s mouth,” he said. “What I want is hopefully someone from the American government to say this is the reason why you were denied entry. Of course, because of what’s going on there are some questions—‘is it to do with something about me?’ But I just want answers and I want someone else to say it and not me.”
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