Terrorists play the “victim card.”
A Muslim British family Disneyland bound was stopped before they got on the plane. The Muslim father claims, “We were barred from plane due to religion.” He blamed Donald Trump‘s “Muslim ban,” as if that were in place. The media exploded. CNN took the story and ran, “the kids were devastated.” “They had big tears in their eyes.”
On December 15, the extended family waited at the gate. Their bags were on the plane. The family included Mohammad Tariq Mahmood with two of his children; his brother Zahid and sister-in-law Sadaf, with five of their children; and two nieces who were accompanying them.
While they waited to board the plane, Mohammad Mahmood was called on the intercom and told that at least some of the family would not be allowed to board. They were not given a reason for the ban, according to Mahmood. Their bags were removed from the plane, and they were ordered to return all the duty-free goods they had purchased, and then escorted from the airport.
Prime Minister David Cameron promised to investigate.
Here’s the real story:
Facebook page linked to Taliban and Al Qaeda was registered to same address as British Muslim father whose Disneyland trip was blocked by Homeland Security.
The issue is sensitive because U.S. Republican presidential contender Donald Trump has called for a temporary ban on Muslims visiting the U.S. due to concerns about extremist attacks.
A top Muslim group said cases like this appear to be related to religion and are worrying for British Muslims.
Mohammed Zahid Mahmood said he and his family — two brothers and their nine children — were told nothing except that they were not allowed to travel to the U.S. despite having previously obtained clearance.
“We were the only family that was of Asian, Muslim, sort of appearance, and it seemed a little bit embarrassing that only we were taken out (of the line to board),” he told the BBC.
Here’s the real story.
Facebook page linked to Taliban and Al Qaeda was registered to same address as British Muslim father whose Disneyland trip was blocked by Homeland Security
Mohammad Tariq Mahmood tried to travel from Gatwick Airport to LA
He, his brother and nine children were stopped on the orders of the US
Mr Mahmood says the family were barred ‘because we are Muslim’
He dismissed Facebook account claiming links to Al Qaeda and Taliban
It was set up by someone who has lived at the family’s postal address
David Cameron says he’ll examine the case after it was raised by an MP
Mohammad Tariq Mahmood and his family were stopped from going to the U.S. just minutes before they planned to board a flight to Los Angeles where they were going to see family and visit Disneyland
A British Muslim father whose planned Disneyland trip was ruined when he and his family were barred from boarding a flight to the U.S. has now been forced to distance himself from a Facebook account claiming links to Al Qaeda and the Taliban.
Mohammad Tariq Mahmood, 41, his brother and their children, aged between eight and 19, said they were stopped at the departure gate at Gatwick airport and told their visas to the US had been revoked.
He claimed the family were barred from flying ‘because they are Muslim’.
However, it has since emerged that a Facebook page claiming links to radical Islamist groups was set up by someone who has lived at the family’s postal address, according to ITV News.
The account, which includes information suggesting it may have been published as a joke, was in the name of Hamza Hussain – a first name shared by Mr Mahmood’s 18-year-old son. It reportedly lists the job titles ‘supervisor at Taliban and leader at al-Qaeda’.
When asked about the account, Mr Mahmood believed hackers may have been to blame, adding: ‘That could be anything, maybe a mistake.’
He said: ‘It is not my son’s Facebook page. It has a similar name, but not the same as my son’s.
‘The page is also linked to our home address and that could be coincidence. I don’t know why it is linked there. The name is not even the same. The authorities must have linked it simply because of the name Hamza.’
It was understood that the wives of Mr Mahmood and his brother had stayed at home for the trip because one of them was ill and one of the children did not have a valid passport.
But it is now believed that Mr Mahmood’s wife was in Pakistan at the time.
The family say were given no explanation why their visas, organised six weeks before the flight, were suddenly cancelled at the last minute and have now lost the £11,000 they had saved for the holiday.
It has also been suggested the move by US authorities could be due to Mr Mahmood’s brother having been refused entry to Israel eight years ago, but no official explanation has been given by the US Embassy.
The flight ban comes after Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump called for all Muslims to be stopped from entering the US.
Mr Mahmood, who is from north-west London, has called on David Cameron to demand an explanation from the American authorities and is seeking a refund for the cost of the airline tickets to Los Angeles.
Gym owner Mr Mahmood said the family were going to a reunion with his family in California after 15 years and hoped to visit Disneyland and other tourist sites.
The party were forced to hand back their duty free items with the children in tears.
He said: ‘We had been planning the trip for four to five months and my kids had countdowns on their phones.
‘It had been about ten or fifteen years since we’d had the whole family together.
It has since emerged that a Facebook page (pictured) claiming links to radical Islamist groups was set up by someone who has lived at the family’s postal address. The account was in the name of Hamza Hussain
The family say US officials prevented them from boarding a flight to LA at Gatwick Airport. They say they were given no reason why they were being stopped
The family had to return to their home in north-west London. Mr Mahmood says the children were in tears
‘My kids were really looking forward to seeing their cousins, they live in California. We’d planned skydiving and a desert safari and the kids were all keeping up and talking about it through social media. They’d made a lot of plans.
‘Our flight was on Tuesday last week and it was meant to leave at 12:35 in the afternoon. We’d checked in and we’d bought things in duty free.
‘We were waiting in the queue at the gate and we were very close to getting on the plane.
‘Then an announcement said they wanted to speak to Mr Mohammad. There was no one else of Asian origin or who looked Muslim so I knew it was me.
‘A gentleman said he was from British Border Control and he had a border control jacket on.
‘He said there was something wrong with my ESTA [Electronic System for Travel Authorization] and that I wouldn’t be able to board. I had made sure we had our ESTAs cleared six weeks ago so I couldn’t think what could be wrong.
‘I asked why we weren’t allowed to board. I had to be persistent. He wouldn’t tell me why and said he didn’t know at first.
They can’t react like that just because we are Muslim. We are decent people. My kids are obviously upset.
‘He finally said they had had a call from Washington DC from homeland security and that I wasn’t allowed to board. He wouldn’t tell me anything more.’
Mr Mahmood later said his brother was refused entry to Tel Aviv when he flew there eight years ago, but the family were unsure whether that was linked to their refusal to fly last week.
Speaking at his Walthamstow home, he said: ‘They are bringing out this thing that my brother was stopped at Tel Aviv.
‘But if that was the case it should have been flagged up when we filled out our ESTAs – which was seven or eight weeks ago.
‘He was touring a few countries nine or 10 years ago and decided to visit the Grand Mosque. Then he was stopped because he has a big beard, and that. It was not like he was prosecuted or convicted of anything afterwards.
‘Maybe the authorities were being awkward. In the end he just came back home.’
Mr Mahmood said there had been talk of a Facebook page which allegedly contained extremist material accredited to a person called ‘Hamza Hussain,’ the same first name as his 18-year-old son Hamza Mahmood.
He added: ‘So far there have been no answers. If Facebook was the problem, why has it come out now?
‘If my brother was the problem, why has it come out now?’
Mr Mahmood’s sister-in-law Sadaf Mahmood later told LBC radio that her husband was detained overnight in Israel before being put on a plane back to Britain, but the reason was never explained to them.
She said her children had been left devastated after their holiday fell through and it had been heartbreaking having to unpack their bags.