A British Muslim family hoping to spend their holiday season in the United States has been barred from entering the country, according to latest reports emerging in British media.
This comes days after Donald Trump infamously called for a “total and complete” ban on Muslims entering the United States, an idea which was widely criticized in the international press for its lack of political sensitivity. However, according to the Guardian, now a British Muslim family — reportedly consisting of 11 members — flying out to Los Angeles to visit Disneyland has been prevented from traveling to the United States by the Department of Homeland Security.
— Jon Williams (@WilliamsJon) December 23, 2015
Although the precise reasons for barring the British Muslim family from entering the United States are not yet clear, Washington Post reports that the family was stopped from boarding a California-bound plane at Britain’s Gatwick Airport, “even though they had been granted travel authorization online ahead of their planned 15 December flight.”
Reports suggested that the British Muslim family members were about to embark on a dream holiday for which they had saved for months, when they were “approached by officials from U.S. Homeland Security as they queued in the departure lounge and told their authorization to travel had been cancelled, without further explanation.”
“I still don’t know why. I told them we had our ESTA [US travel visa] approved six weeks ago. We’re just a normal, law-abiding family trying to go on our holidays. None of us have ever been involved in crime or mixed up in anything.
“We even said if there’s a problem with an individual can the rest of us not fly? How can the eight and nine-year-olds have done anything wrong? But the answer was the same.
“The youngest kids are traumatised. It’s so sad. We’ve brought them up to treat everybody the same, but now we’re being treated differently.
“Maybe America has started changing after Donald Trump said Muslims should be banned.”
The decision has already kicked up a political storm, with the British media urging Prime Minister David Cameron to “challenge the US” for its decision to ban the Muslim family from entering the country.
British Muslim family banned from flying on holiday to Disneyland US https://t.co/P6UaLqKpr5
— The Independent (@Independent) December 23, 2015
You ask Muslims to integrate. A Muslim family book a flight to America / Disney Land. Chucked off the plane. What message does that send?
— Ed Husain (@Ed_Husain) December 23, 2015
Stella Creasy, a member of the British Parliament, condemned the decision in explicit terms, saying the matter elicited a response that should go beyond a rudimentary critique of the American Republican primary political positioning.
“Discussions reverberate with the growing fear that 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. Faced with such claims, our concern should be to offer more than a critique of American Republican primary political positioning. Because this isn’t happening in the US. It’s happening on British soil, at our airports and involving our citizens and challenging their sense of place in our society too.”
U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron said he would look into the matter and respond in time.
The United States Homeland Security has yet to release an official statement regarding the decision, but if the banning of the British Muslim family from entering United States’ soil is a vision of what America might be like under Donald Trump, Americans might still have time to make up their minds.
[Photo via Getty Images]