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United States stops entry of British Muslim leader

By Staff
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Google Oneindia News

NEW YORK, Oct 19 (Reuters) The United States barred a British Muslim leader from flying to New York from London today morning, the US Department of Homeland Security said.

The department's Customs and Border Protection section would not elaborate on why Kamal Helbawy, 67, a founding member of the Muslim Association of Britain, was told by airline staff to get off his flight shortly before it was due to leave London.

''The individual was inadmissible to enter the US,'' said spokeswoman Kelly Klundt. ''I can't speak specifically to this case as to why he was inadmissible.'' Helbawy was due to speak on a panel on the Muslim Brotherhood, organized by the Center on Law and Security, an independent think tank based at New York University.

Karen Greenberg, the executive director of the center, said Helbawy did not know why he had been stopped from traveling to the United States.

''According to him they didn't tell him,'' she said. ''What they told him was that basically he would have to go to the American Embassy first before he could come here.'' Klundt said that more than 1,000 people are denied entry to the United States every day, while more than 1.1 million are allowed to enter.

She said people could be denied entry for several reasons including improper travel documents, prohibited activities or intent, smuggling of contraband, criminal activity or history, immigration violations and watch list match or national security concerns.

''The US government's action in this case should not be construed as a blanket US policy against Muslim religious leaders. Indeed hundreds of imams from all over the world have visited and continue to visit the United States,'' Klundt said.

REUTERS LL RN2239

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