Mayor Mohamed Khairullah was an outspoken critic of former President Donald Trump’s journey ban that restricted entry to the US of residents from a number of predominantly Muslim international locations.
America Secret Service blocked a Muslim mayor from attending a White Home celebration with President Joe Biden to belatedly mark the tip of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
Shortly earlier than he was to reach on the White Home for the Eid al-Fitr celebration on Monday, Mayor Mohamed Khairullah mentioned he acquired a name from the White Home stating he had not been cleared for entry by the Secret Service and couldn’t attend the celebration, the place Biden delivered remarks to lots of of company.
He mentioned the White Home official didn’t clarify why the Secret Service had blocked his entry. Khairullah, 47, knowledgeable the New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations after he was advised he wouldn’t be allowed to attend the occasion.
The group has known as on the Biden administration to stop the FBI’s dissemination of knowledge from what is called a “terrorist screening knowledge set” that features lots of of 1000’s of people. The group knowledgeable Khairullah that an individual along with his title and birthdate was in a knowledge set that its attorneys had obtained in 2019.
Khairullah was an outspoken critic of former President Donald Trump’s journey ban that restricted entry to the US of residents from a number of predominantly Muslim international locations. He additionally has travelled to Bangladesh and Syria to do humanitarian work with the Syrian American Medical Society and the Watan Basis.
“It left me baffled, shocked and dissatisfied,” Khairullah mentioned in a phone interview as he made his method house to New Jersey.
“It’s not a matter of ‘I didn’t get to go to a celebration.’ It’s why I didn’t go. And it’s a listing that has focused me due to my id. And I don’t suppose the best workplace in america must be down with such profiling,” he mentioned.
Secret Service spokesman Anthony Guglielmi confirmed Khairullah was not allowed into the White Home advanced however declined to say why.
“Whereas we remorse any inconvenience this will likely have induced, the mayor was not allowed to enter the White Home advanced this night,” Guglielmi mentioned in a press release. “Sadly, we’re not in a position to remark additional on the precise protecting means and strategies used to conduct our safety operations on the White Home.”
The White Home declined to remark.
‘We felt very helpless’
Selaedin Maksut, government director of the New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, known as the transfer “wholly unacceptable and insulting”.
“If these such incidents are occurring to high-profile and well-respected American-Muslim figures like Mayor Khairullah, this then begs the query: What is going on to Muslims who would not have the entry and visibility that the mayor has?” Maksut requested.
Khairullah mentioned he was stopped by authorities in 2019, interrogated at John F Kennedy Worldwide Airport in New York for 3 hours and questioned about whether or not he knew any “terrorists”. The incident occurred when he was returning to america after a household go to to Turkey, the place his spouse has household.
On one other event, he mentioned he was briefly held on the US-Canadian border as he travelled again into the nation with household.
The group mentioned Khairullah helped the New Jersey Democratic Occasion compile names of native Muslim leaders to ask to the White Home Eid celebration and over the weekend was a visitor at an occasion on the New Jersey governor’s mansion.
Khairullah was born in Syria, however his household was displaced in authorities crackdowns by Hafez al-Assad’s authorities within the early Eighties. His household fled to Saudi Arabia earlier than shifting to New Jersey in 1991. He has lived there since.
He turned a US citizen in 2000 and was elected to his first time period as mayor in 2001. He additionally spent 14 years as a volunteer firefighter.
Khairullah mentioned he made seven journeys to Syria with humanitarian support organisations from 2012 to 2015 as a civil struggle ravaged a lot of the nation.
“I’m Syrian, and you understand, it was very tough to see what we noticed on TV and social media and never reply to assist folks,” he mentioned. “I imply, we felt very helpless.”