US turns back Muslim cleric

Canadian Muslim cleric Ahmad Kutty said he was detained and interrogated by US immigration officials for 16 hours when he tried to visit Florida.

    Since the 9/11 attacks many Muslims have complained of discrimination in the US

    The experience has put him off ever going to the United States again.

    Kutty told Reuters that he and fellow scholar Abd al-Hamid were taken off an Orlando-bound flight from Toronto and interrogated in an airport holding cell on Thursday, 11 September.
       
    The clerics were going to attend seminars in Florida during which, among other things, the dangers of Islamic fanaticism was to be discussed. Both men were refused entry to the US and returned to Canada.

     “It defies rational explanation. The one word I can describe this is paranoia,” Kutty said.

    Founding principles

    “I have no desire to enter that country once again unless this administration changes and they come back to their basic founding principles. I feel sorry for America. Believe me, I used to love that country,” he added.

    The US Department of Homeland Security was on high alert on the second anniversary of the 11 September attacks in New York and Washington. No one was available for comment at the agency.
     
    Kutty is an India-born Muslim scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto. He told Reuters he had preached tolerance and peace throughout North America for more than two decades.
       
    Arab-Americans have complained bitterly about being discriminated against under the strict security measures introduced after the 11 September attacks.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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