Utah imam, a U.S. citizen, blocked from flying home, attorney says

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  • Healthy Skeptic Saratoga Springs, UT
    June 19, 2017 7:52 a.m.

    Not a single one of the super-smart commenters here knows why this person was delayed in entering the U.S. I would guess that most people delayed entry into the U.S. are not Muslims. Besides...why are the words "sacred" and "holy" for the exclusive use of Islam? When used in the context of the LDS faith, the media uses these words solely as punchlines.

  • P Bundy Albuquerque, NM
    June 17, 2017 8:16 p.m.

    "We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may."

    If he has committed no crime and is a U.S. citizen then what is the problem - this smells of banning a man because of his religion plain and simple, a decision which is against the laws of Heavenly father (see the above) and our Constitution

  • James E Tooele, UT
    June 17, 2017 9:46 a.m.

    I'm amazed by how many comments we have here when no-one knows why he was denied reentry. Reminds me of the so-called journalists who debate what Trump had for breakfast and how it makes him more guilty of treason.

  • wrz Springville, UT
    June 17, 2017 9:26 a.m.

    @Esquire:
    "I guess that freedom of religion thing doesn't apply across the board...."

    True, and especially a religion that advocates and teaches (via their holy writ) to do the unthinkable to the infidel. And just who is the infidel? Ans: Any non-Muslim. And that would include Americans. Furthermore, Islam is not a religion. It is a despotic government masquerading as a religion... the objective of which is to set up their government, Shariah law, across the globe, which, by the way, has made substantial inroads into European governments. Travel from certain Muslim majority countries, including Trump's travel ban, was to protect the US from this sort of situation. Are we so blind that we can't see this?

  • Misty Mountain Kent, WA
    June 17, 2017 9:20 a.m.

    @wrz wrote, "When has anyone spoke out against forced marriages performed by the Muslims?"

    The website GirlsNotBrides.org speaks out about it every day. Samantha Bee had an eight minute segment just this last week about the efforts to ban children from getting married in the US. Any article about it in the mainstream press brings dozens, if not hundreds of letters in support of ending child marriage. Girls who are pregnant by older men are frequently coerced into marrying these men to keep the men from being prosecuted for statuary rape. The great majority (70+%) end in divorce.

    That answers your question. Now please answer Brave Sir Robin's question about when, if ever, you have spoken out against the forced marriages of the FLDS church.

  • Misty Mountain Kent, WA
    June 17, 2017 9:03 a.m.

    @Say No to BO wrote,

    "I know a man who was accused, without evidence, of colluding with the Russians. When that notion evaporated after months of innuendo, he was then charged with obstruction of their process."

    When one's representatives and one's son and one's associates all have documented evidence of collusion..and, instead of welcoming an investigation, one tries to cut it off..yes, one will probably be investigated for obstruction. The "notion" may have evaporated on Breitbart, but the legitimate press reports on new evidence accumulating every week.

  • Tekakaromatagi Dammam, Saudi Arabia
    June 17, 2017 5:15 a.m.

    @Capsacin:
    "Hopefully he's not allowed to return ever."

    The rest of your comment was cut off. Would you mind repeating what it is that he has done to justify being banished from his home country?

    Banishment is not a criminal penalty in the US. They used to do that in Iceland in 10th century People would be banished for 1 or 3 years or life. But with our justice system we fine, or incarcerate wrong-doers, not banish.

    All men have a right to a fair trial, to know the charges against them and to be judged by a jury of their peers. This right goes back to the Magna Carta in the 13th century.

  • wrz Springville, UT
    June 16, 2017 11:05 p.m.

    @Brave Sir Robin:
    "Assuming you're LDS, when's the last time you publicly spoke out against the forced child marriages performed by the FLDS church?"

    When has anyone spoke out against forced marriages performed by the Muslims?

    "Because that LDS/FLDS connection is about as close as the mainstream Islam/radical Islam connection that you're demanding this imam speak out on."

    Radical Islamists take their directions from their holy writ, the Koran. However, not all Muslims practice radicalism. They all don't need to. They only need, say, 1% of their population to do the work... and that'd be about 1.5 million jihadi terrorists. Fairly sizable army.

  • Tolstoy salt lake, UT
    June 16, 2017 4:19 p.m.

    @SLars

    Interesting you would accuse others of not looking at it I full context then leave off the past line "To hear that the Muslim community is wary of extreme vetting and distrusts immigration enforcement because of this only arouses suspicion."

    The post taken in its full context supports Frozen Fractals comment not refute it.

  • SLars Provo, UT
    June 16, 2017 2:20 p.m.

    @frozen fractals

    "I wonder what prompted immigration and customs officials to have blocked this imam? I'm sorry for the congregation to loose having a leader during their holiest month, but our security comes before religious freedoms and the authorities ..."

    Takes on a different context when quoted fully.

  • Frozen Fractals Salt Lake City, UT
    June 16, 2017 1:33 p.m.

    @SLars
    [" Just the fact that he is a Muslim leads to such comments as "authorities have flagged this imam for good reason."

    Where is that quote? No one here said that."]

    It's in the very first comment on this article.

    @Frank K
    "Can you imagine a 'Mormon ban' around the world?"

    I can imagine it in Russia considering they recently banned the other prominent American originating religion known for proselytizing, Jehovah's Witnesses.

  • SLars Provo, UT
    June 16, 2017 1:12 p.m.

    " Just the fact that he is a Muslim leads to such comments as "authorities have flagged this imam for good reason."

    "Where is any justification for that claim?"

    Where is that quote? No one here said that.

  • BYGardner SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    June 16, 2017 12:07 p.m.

    Does anyone know if an account has been established to help out?

  • FT salt lake city, UT
    June 16, 2017 12:06 p.m.

    Wow. Just wow what some comments here say and the fact the DN will actually post them. Justice is blind and for all American citizens. If this man gets denied his rights and we as Americans don't all stand up to defend them, shame on us. It could be you or I that find us in a similar situation in the future.

  • ECR Burke, VA
    June 16, 2017 12:02 p.m.

    wrz writes, "...especially a religion that advocates and teaches (via their holy writ) to kill the infidel. And just who is the infidel? Ans: Anyone who is not a Muslim."

    Here are some passages from the Quran that might present an opposite impression:

    “O You who believe! Enter absolutely into peace (Islam). Do not follow in the footsteps of satan. He is an outright enemy to you.” (Holy Quran: 2, 208)

    “There is no compulsion where the religion is concerned.” (Holy Quran: 2/ 256)

    “God does not forbid you from being good to those who have not fought you in the religion or driven you from your homes, or from being just towards them. God loves those who are just.” (Surat al-Mumtahana, 8)

    “Had God willed, He would have made you a single community, but He wanted to test you regarding what has come to you. So compete with each other in doing good. Every one of you will return to God and He will inform you regarding the things about which you differed.” (Surat al-Ma’ida, 48)

    Uninformed fear will never lead us to peace or security. Let's educate ourselves and survive in peace.

  • Tekakaromatagi Dammam, Saudi Arabia
    June 16, 2017 11:32 a.m.

    He is a citizen. He has rights which cannot be denied without due process. He has a right to know the charges against him and to face his witnesses.

  • JBs Logan, UT
    June 16, 2017 11:12 a.m.

    This man is a U.S. citizen! He is not trying to enter the country illegally and to suggest otherwise is wrong and mean-spirited.

    The lack of compassion demonstrated by some commenters is sad. Don't let inconvenient facts get in the way, for sure.

  • Say No to BO Mapleton, UT
    June 16, 2017 11:06 a.m.

    This could take months to sort out.

    Political justice is an odd thing, and the charges themselves turn on a dime. I know a man who was accused, without evidence, of colluding with the Russians. When that notion evaporated after months of innuendo, he was then charged with obstruction of their process.

    See how it works? You can't possibly win when the charges themselves change on a whim.

    And the accusers and their process cannot be examined because of privacy and national security.

    Good luck, my friend. Maybe Kenya IS the right home for you and your family. Life's too short for political courts and their trials.

  • Frank K Phoenix, AZ
    June 16, 2017 11:02 a.m.

    This Muslim ban has created more unity problems in this country and around the world that I would have imagined. Can you imagine a 'Mormon ban' around the world? No LDS missionaries allowed in other countries. The ban is irrational and I wonder where do all the Evangelical Christians and the religious organizations that proclaim to be Christians stand on this?

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    June 16, 2017 10:47 a.m.

    "I have no problem with Muslims and their Islamic faith. I do have a problem with Muslims who do or say nothing about the abhorrent behavior of the violent extremism exercised by some members of their faith."

    Then you haven't been paying attention very well.
    There have been countless opinions and actions by American Muslims that do exactly that. But some people seem determined not to notice.

  • Frozen Fractals Salt Lake City, UT
    June 16, 2017 10:43 a.m.

    @DN Subscriber
    "The fact that Qatar has been blacklisted by several Arab states as a sponsor of terrorism"

    Trump just made a 12 billion dollar weapons deal with Qatar. I don't think we're that worried about that idea (plus Saudi Arabia is one of the ones doing the blacklisting and they're generally considered a sponsor of terrorism too).

  • Brave Sir Robin San Diego, CA
    June 16, 2017 10:33 a.m.

    @LivinLarge

    " I do have a problem with Muslims who do or say nothing about the abhorrent behavior of the violent extremism exercised by some members of their faith."

    Assuming you're LDS, when's the last time you publicly spoke out against the forced child marriages performed by the FLDS church? Because that LDS/FLDS connection is about as close as the mainstream Islam/radical Islam connection that you're demanding this imam speak out on.

  • MBB Salt Lake City, UT
    June 16, 2017 9:58 a.m.

    "I think we need to take care of our own first" - he is one of us! He's a U.S. citizen! My guess is that many of these comments come from fear but it isn't right. It does nothing but divide people and cause more fear and hate. Perhaps we would do well heeding Pres. Uchtdorf's council, "Therefore, let us serve God and love our fellowmen. Let us do this with a natural confidence, with humility, never looking down on any other religion or group of people."

  • LivinLarge Bountiful, UT
    June 16, 2017 9:54 a.m.

    I have no problem with Muslims and their Islamic faith. I do have a problem with Muslims who do or say nothing about the abhorrent behavior of the violent extremism exercised by some members of their faith.

  • at long last. . . Kirksville , MO
    June 16, 2017 9:39 a.m.

    Those commenters blaming the government for his problem obviously have more information than the rest of us. I would suggest that the difficulty is very likely with Qatar airlines.

    One hopes that if it is the US government, there is sufficient reason for it. I suggest those who blame the US first should wait for the facts before judging.

  • midvale guy MIDVALE, UT
    June 16, 2017 9:16 a.m.

    This article does not say that the United States is stopping this person from entry. In fact, he is appealing to the United States Embassy for their help. Which is proper since he is a United States citizen. The article says he is flying on Qatar Airlines. This probably has something to do with the United States pressuring the Saudis to pressure Qatar and has nothing to do with Pres. Trump or any type of travel ban imposed by the United States. This discussion should not be about his religion or radicalization. It should be about a foreign country stopping the United States citizen from returning home.

  • Tolstoy salt lake, UT
    June 16, 2017 8:51 a.m.

    Very disturbing that a US citizen can so easily be denied thier basic rights and that so many in this thread feel so comfortable expressing such open hostility.

  • Palmetto Bug Columbia, SC
    June 16, 2017 8:38 a.m.

    If this man is a US citizen there's no reason he should be denied the ability to return to the US by our government. If the government has justification to deny his return they should allow him back in the US and arrest him. I hope this is just a misunderstanding or unrelated to his religion, otherwise this is a gross abuse of governmental powers.

    Equating terrorists and muslims is like equating polygamists and mormons*. Both comparisons are inappropriate yet are frequently made. Islamic terrorists have a similar relationship to Islam as polygamists do to the LDS church. They both share roots, including scriptures and some doctrines, to their mainstream counterparts but otherwise should not be thought of as similar.

    Yesterday, CNN's report of Lyle Jeffs' arrest was initially labeled an arrest of a mormon polygamist. To members of the LDS faith we knew this headline was incorrect yet this is how many people perceive polygamists and our church.

    I hope the Imam's problems are quickly resolved and he can return to his country.

    *I don't mean to suggest that polygamists are evil like terrorists, there are many polygamists who otherwise uphold the law and live good lives

  • JLindow St George, UT
    June 16, 2017 8:40 a.m.

    @Capsaicin

    "Hopefully he's not allowed to return ever."

    We're still a nation of laws, so I expect you're going to be disappointed.

  • DN Subscriber Cottonwood Heights, UT
    June 16, 2017 8:33 a.m.

    Please, spare us the emotional nonsense about leaving his "...congregation in Utah without its leader during the faith's holiest month." He picked the dates to travel, knowing that Ramadan falls between May 26 and June 24. Any delay getting back is on top of his chosen travel dates smack in the middle of Ramadan.

    Note that Imams in the U.S. have been blamed for radicalizing and inciting a number of terrorists, so it is prudent to screen all of them before allowing them to re-enter the U.S., citizen or not. That is not to say that Mr. Abdi is any sort of radical threat, but I am not willing to blindly let everyone into the U.S.

    Let the screening process work and if he is not a thread, I am sure the problems will be cleared up. The fact that Qatar has been blacklisted by several Arab states as a sponsor of terrorism, and the Abdi is traveling on Qatar airlines certainly adds to the need to be cautious.

    Meanwhile. DN editors can reflect on the difference between sew and sow: "fears the hangup will sew distrust and angst in Utah's Muslim community"

  • ECR Burke, VA
    June 16, 2017 8:28 a.m.

    DC Surfs said, "...Well if my people start blowing others up, I hope the Feds don't allow any more of us into the country either."

    Ever hear of Tim McViegh? How many red haired country boys from the heartland have been stopped at the airport because of "who they look like" or "what religious tradition they follow"?

    Singling out a particular religion or ethnic background because of their faith or their appearance only grows seeds of despair and distrust within communities that are otherwise focused on doing good in the world. That distrust can result in tragic events like Mountain Meadow Massacre and other historically tragic events.

    We like to call ourselves a beacon unto the world, where dreams that are doused in other countries can flourish and become realities here. But if we fear people because of how they look or because members of their own faith have distorted the teachings they believe to justify their own cowardly, terrorist actions, then we dishonor the Founders of nation who courageously fought oppression by an authoritative government and established this wonderful experiment we call the United States of America. It's still a work in progress.

  • Vermonter Plymouth, MI
    June 16, 2017 8:25 a.m.

    This is what is going on behind the curtains. While federal judges overrule Trump executive orders, Trump is "the" executive branch of government. Immigration officers now have more discretion and are using it on a regular basis.

    But this is how most countries in the world operate. If they don't want to let you in, they don't, and they don't have to tell you why.

    I'm not saying this is right. But, ironically, US immigration officials are keeping this man's family together.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    June 16, 2017 8:23 a.m.

    I guess that freedom of religion thing doesn't apply across the board....

  • neece Logan, UT
    June 16, 2017 8:03 a.m.

    I am sorry... we have border officers for Mexico not letting some people in... now there is an uprising for people from other countries being more cautious about letting them in? Sorry but I think we need to take care of our own first and worry about everything else later... I know I am going to get hateful comments on this but I am sick of this "being offended" because I am a.... or because they said.... or did.... Our America I grew up in is literally being destroyed.

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    June 16, 2017 8:02 a.m.

    So what is the point of this headline? Just because a person had United States citizenship doesn't mean they can't be a terrorist too.

  • ECR Burke, VA
    June 16, 2017 7:53 a.m.

    "...Sen. Orrin Hatch's office is also helping them to try to determine the reason behind the restriction."

    The imam is a citizen of this country. Shouldn't the senator's office be working to get him home rather than simply trying to understand why this citizen was denied his rights? Of course it is important to understand why so that unconstitutional actions like this can never be repeated and those who enforced this order can be prosecuted, but the first order of business should be to allow him to travel to his home of citizenship.

  • DC Surfs Carlsbad, CA
    June 16, 2017 7:48 a.m.

    @ one old man -
    "We see in some comments here the kind of hateful thinking that has caused such division in our country. Just the fact that he is a Muslim leads to such comments as "authorities have flagged this imam for good reason."

    Well if my people start blowing others up, I hope the Feds don't allow any more of us into the country either. These comments are anything but hateful. I think fearful is the word you are looking for. Fearful of being blown up!

  • Frank K Phoenix, AZ
    June 16, 2017 7:43 a.m.

    In March of this year the Girls Scouts of Canada announced they would not be taking trips to Canada in the near future for fear that some of the girls might not be allowed into the country. Canada has a very diverse population and many of the girls in the program have been born in a Muslim majority country included in President Trump's ban. If when they get to the border or the airport and they're told some girls are not admissible that would ruin their trip, understandably.

    The University of Toronto too has showed its concern and support for the scholars that will not be able to travel to the US to conferences and they have informed the U of T community that some students born in one of the banned countries have had problems going back to Canada.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    June 16, 2017 7:33 a.m.

    We see in some comments here the kind of hateful thinking that has caused such division in our country. Just the fact that he is a Muslim leads to such comments as "authorities have flagged this imam for good reason."

    Where is any justification for that claim?

    If this had been a Mormon missionary or Baptist preacher, would responses have been different?

  • patriotstate Herriman, UT
    June 16, 2017 7:25 a.m.

    So, airline workers on a foreign airline told this man that he was barred by the US. Sounds a bit vague.

    If the leader of a church doesnt want to miss out on his holiest month, perhaps he should choose to travel at another time.

  • Capsaicin Salt Lake City, UT
    June 16, 2017 2:13 a.m.

    Hopefully he's not allowed to return ever.

  • SLars Provo, UT
    June 16, 2017 12:49 a.m.

    Qatar Airlines are cancelling a large number of passenger bookings to and from Qatar after four Arab countries severed diplomatic and economic links with them. The flight was booked on Qatar airlines. It's a mess there right now, give them a chance to get things straightened out.

  • OlderGreg USA, CA
    June 16, 2017 12:21 a.m.

    Lotsa luck trying to get an answer.

    With Patriot Act and its ilk, secret courts, gag orders, mystery "lists", etc -- all it takes to loose all citizenship rights/ Constitutional protections is to have some nameless bureaucrat slap a label of suspicion. After all, he did make something of a press event when ICE took part of his flock.

  • Rubydo Provo, UT
    June 15, 2017 11:58 p.m.

    I wonder what prompted immigration and customs officials to have blocked this imam? I'm sorry for the congregation to loose having a leader during their holiest month, but our security comes before religious freedoms and the authorities have flagged this imam for good reason. To hear that the Muslim community is wary of extreme vetting and distrusts immigration enforcement because of this only arouses suspicion.