Lawmakers in Britain are calling for an investigation after a British Muslim family was stopped from entering the U.S. to visit Disneyland, but a U.K. Imam says at least 20 other families have also been denied entry.
British Imam Ajmal Masroor told the Mirror he knew of 20 other cases where U.K. citizens were barred from entering the United States based on their religion, and he’s afraid Donald Trump’s Muslim ban may already be in place.
“I’m aware of at least 20 other cases where families are afraid to even speak out.”
In the latest case, British Muslim Mohammad Tariq Mahmood and his 10 family members were stopped from entering the country to visit Disneyland at the last minute, but U.K. officials are growing increasingly concerned at America’s refusal to grant their citizens entry.
Parliament Member Stella Creasy has called on Prime Minister David Cameron to intervene after learning several British Muslim families were also denied entry to the U.S. without being given a reason, according to the USA Today.
“This is more than a sad consumer affairs story about missed gate numbers of paperwork problems. The official who stopped them was from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and in the ensuing furor, other local residents have come forward to say that they, too, have been summarily refused entry to America.”
British lawmakers are especially upset this comes amid Donald Trump’s repeated calls to ban all Muslims from entering the country. Cameron has called the Republican frontrunner’s comments “stupid, divisive, and wrong,” according to the USA Today.
The airline has so far refused to refund Mahmood’s family the £9,000 it took them months to save. Mahmood said his family’s visas had been approved six weeks prior to the flight, and his family was given no reason for Homeland Security’s refusal to grant them entry.
Before being escorted from the airport, the 11 family members were forced to return everything they bought at the duty-free shops.
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection issued a blanket statement saying there were at least 60 reasons to deny travelers entry into America, including health issues, criminal background, and security concerns, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
“Religion, faith or spiritual beliefs of an international traveler are not determining factors.”
British Imam Masroor said the bans have been happening for some time, and the U.K. Muslim community is concerned they’re being discriminated against based on their religion. He said the incidents have been increasing in recent weeks after Donald Trump’s controversial call to ban Muslims entering America.
Parliament Member Creasy told the Mirror she was concerned about the U.S. decision to bar the Muslim families entry, and was worried her constituents were being discriminated against based on their religion.
“What I am worried about is the fear of isolation among the Muslim community. There are people trying to divide my local community along religious groups and this sort of issue feeds that division.”
Mahmood said it was obvious that American officials had denied him entry based on his religion.
The US is stopping British citizens going on holiday – we can’t look the other way | Stella Creasy https://t.co/Yt9nCk1DrR
— The Guardian (@guardian) December 23, 2015
There has been some speculation the family was denied entry to the country, because Israel blocked Mahmood’s brother from crossing the border eight years ago, but that hasn’t been confirmed.
There are other rumors about an extremist Facebook page linked to Mahmood’s son with his home address, but the gym owner denies the connection, saying the names are spelled differently.
The British Prime Minister has said his country will investigate the case.
[Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images]