A British imam has claimed he was banned from flying to New York in December because US authorities did not like one of his 4,500 Facebook followers.
“I’m still waiting for them to let me know why they banned me. They said they had a problem with someone who followed my Facebook page who they wanted to speak to,” Ajmal Masroor said.
“As to who they were referring to, I don’t know, they didn’t explain themselves. What makes them think they can revoke my visa without reason?” he added.
On December 17, Masroor, who was due to lead prayers at a mosque in Queens, New York, was told by the US embassy officials at Heathrow Airport that his business visa would be revoked and he would not be allowed to travel.
The 44-year-old blames the ban on anti-Islamic hysteria caused by Donald Trump. The Republican presidential candidate has called for a complete ban on all Muslims travelling to the US.
“It’s part of this Trumpmania – he has no power and has not won a single vote but his policies are somehow still being enacted,” he said.
Speaking about his Facebook followers, he said, “It’s scandalous, thousands of people follow my Facebook page and I don’t know about 99.9 per cent of them – it is so ridiculous. I have no control over it, I could follow Barack Obama, it’s an open forum on social media.”
The former Lib Dem parliamentary candidate, who has received death threats after speaking out against extremism in the past, has set up a website http://www.flyingwhilemuslim.org.uk so that Muslims who have had similar experiences while trying to travel to the US can share their experiences.
“I have been searched a lot in the past going to America and held in various places, we expect to get harassed to some extent, but it is only recently Muslims have been targeted to this level. The authorities need to explain why they have taken this action, I know of at least another 20 British Muslims who have been turned away,” he said.
“The website is for everyone who has had some experience or trouble with US immigration can log their complaints so we can tell the world,” he explained.
This article originally appeared on Telegraph.