From Iceland — Decision To Deny Muslim School Teacher Flight To US Made By American Authorities

Decision To Deny Muslim School Teacher Flight To US Made By American Authorities

Published February 21, 2017

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
OhanaUnited/Wikimedia Commons

The Grapevine has confirmed that a British school teacher who was denied entry onto a flight from Keflavík Airport to the US was barred from flying due to a recommendation from US authorities.

Wales Online reported that Juhel Miah, a schoolteacher from Wales, was traveling with a group on his way to the United States on February 16. His plane stopped at Keflavík International Airport. Before boarding, however, Juhel told reporters he was informed he had been selected for a “random security check”. After being searched, he was then informed that he could not board his flight.

Grapevine contacted the US embassy in Reykjavík, who told us that they have no presence at the airport. After calling Isavia, the company that runs the airport, Isavia PR official Guðni Sigurðsson confirmed that Isavia handles random security checks.

“This can be made for any number of reasons,” he said. “This is something decided by the airline, and has nothing to do with Isavia. We don’t make these kinds of decisions.”

Grapevine then contacted Icelandair. An Icelandair official we spoke to said that when a passenger is denied entry, it is because they either pose a security risk, or because of a recommendation from the authorities of the destination country. In this instance, the decision was made on a recommendation from US authorities. When such a recommendation is made, the official emphasised, the airline is not informed of the reasons for the recommendation, and he therefore could not say why US authorities recommended Juhel be denied entry.

Neath MP Christina Rees told WalesOnline that she was “appalled” by the event.

“Mr Miah was subjected to a humiliating and distressing experience, not only preventing him from boarding his plane to New York or entering the US Embassy in Iceland, but also stranding him in a foreign country whilst his fellow travellers continued on their journey,” she said. “This also led to a potentially serious situation where a risk assessed trip was left with one teacher down, raising questions about the effect on the safeguarding of the children.”

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