Muslim clerics denied entry to United States threaten legal action

Posted: Friday, September 19, 2003

TORONTO (AP) Two Muslim clerics who were denied entry into the United States will lodge a complaint with the Canadian government and seek legal advice on suing U.S. officials, their lawyer said.

Ahmed Kutty, 59, and Sheik Abdul Hamid, 37, were detained Sept. 11 after their flight from Canada landed in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. They were questioned by immigration officials and the FBI, held overnight at a county jail, then returned to Canada on a Friday afternoon flight.

Barbara Gonzalez, spokeswoman for the U.S. Bureau of Customs and Border Protection in southern Florida, said the two men were found inadmissible to the United States on ''security grounds.'' She said privacy concerns prevented the government from disclosing details.

Kutty said FBI agents told him the name Abdul Hamid appeared on a list of undesirables and that a business card Kutty was carrying appeared suspicious.

''This is racial profiling, pure and simple,'' Kutty told The Associated Press in a telephone interview Saturday.

Hamid's name is common and the business card for the Islamic Institute of Toronto sounds similar to the Islamic Institute of America, an organization that concerned the FBI, said Kutty, a former director of the Toronto organization that he described as academic.

Kutty immigrated to Canada from India in 1972 and has a doctorate in Islamic studies from McGill University in Montreal. He and Hamid, a native of Guyana, were scheduled to speak at an Orlando mosque, Kutty said.

''It made me sad for America, a country I used to admire so much,'' Kutty said. ''Now I will tell my congregation not to visit the United States until the government applies its own Constitution. It's the law of the jungle there now.''

Subscribe to Peninsula Clarion

Trending this week:


© 2018. All Rights Reserved. | Contact Us