CAIR-MN Asks Feds to Allow Muslim Citizen to Return to Minnesota

Feb 05, 2013, 12:00 ET from Council on American-Islamic Relations

MINNEAPOLIS, Feb. 5, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN) today called on the federal government to allow a Muslim United States citizen of Somali heritage stranded abroad to be allowed to return home to Minnesota.

In a February 4, 2013, letter to Secretary of State John Kerry and U.S. Ambassador to Kenya Robert F. Godec, CAIR-MN attorneys stated that they are "deeply concerned that the United States is unlawfully preventing an American citizen from returning to the United States by making it impossible for him to board a flight from Kenya."

On January 9, 2013, the Minnesota Muslim was scheduled to board an Ethiopian Airlines flight from Nairobi, Kenya, to the United States. When the man attempted to secure his boarding pass, he was told that he would not be allowed to fly, and that this denial was at the request of the United States government.

The man has filed a complaint with the American Embassy in Kenya, the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL). He has also filed a TRIP request -- all to no avail.    

He will attempt to board a flight to the United States for a second time on February 11, 2013.

"We ask that our government refrain from further impeding our client's return to his country of citizenship," said CAIR-MN Civil Rights Director Saly Abd Alla, Esq. "It is immoral and unlawful for the United States to separate an American citizen from his home."

She said that the federal government's intervention is necessary in this matter because of the hardship imposed on the man and his family by this situation and because he risks losing his job due to his absence. He is the main financial provider for his family.

Following intervention by CAIR-OK a U.S. citizen and Air Force veteran living in Qatar, was recently allowed to return to the United States. He had been struggling to return home for six months after being denied boarding on previous flights to visit his terminally-ill mother.

SEE: Muslim Returns to Oklahoma After Being on US 'No-Fly' List

CAIR, a Washington-based Muslim civil rights organization, has dealt with a number of similar cases nationwide in which Muslim citizens were prevented from returning to the United States or faced government coercion when seeking to return home.

Video: CAIR Assists NY Muslim Stranded Overseas By No-Fly List

Video: CAIR Works to Help Calif. Muslim on No-Fly List Return Home

Student Takes Long Way Home After 'No-Fly' Designation (MSNBC)

CAIR: Embassy Returns Passport to U.S. Muslim Stuck in Kuwait

CAIR Seeks Probe of Whether FBI Sought Torture of U.S. Muslim

CAIR Asks DOJ to Probe Oregon FBI's 'Coercion' of Muslim Citizens

CAIR: Va. Muslim on No-Fly List Returning to U.S.

Also this week, CAIR-MN sought diversity training for a male police officer who allegedly posed for a photograph, later posted online, in which he appeared to mock the Islamic head scarf, or hijab.

CAIR-MN: St. Paul Police Join Muslims in Denouncing Photo

Video: Minn. Police Probe Officer Pictured Mocking Hijab (CAIR)

CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

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CONTACT: CAIR-MN Executive Director Lori Saroya, 612-327-6700, E-Mail:; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, E-Mail:

SOURCE Council on American-Islamic Relations