Officials say security issues behind decision to prohibit British family members from entering US

El Al planes at Ben-Gurion Airport (photo credit: Shay Levi/Flash90)
El Al planes at Ben-Gurion Airport (photo credit: Shay Levi/Flash90)


A member of a British Muslim family that was prevented from flying to the United States for a trip to Disneyland had been refused entry to Israel two years ago.

Eleven members of the family traveling together, two brothers and nine of their children, were not allowed to board a plane departing from Gatwick Airport on December 15, the Guardian reported.

US Department of Homeland Security officials did not tell the family why they were not permitted to fly to the US even though they had travel authorization documents.

A growing number of British Muslims are being barred from entering the US without being told the reason, according to the Guardian.

CBS News quoted an unnamed Homeland Security department source as saying that one of the adult brothers had been refused entry into Israel two years ago and that his teenage son posted links to terrorist websites on his Facebook page. Department officials also told CBS that not all 11 family members were barred from the flight.

One of the family members told London’s LBC radio that his brother was denied entry to Israel a decade ago when he traveled with other men to visit the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.

“It’s because of the attacks on America. They think every Muslim poses a threat,” Mohammad Tariq Mahmood, one of the family members prevented from boarding the flight to the US, told the Guardian.

British Prime Minister David Cameron’s office said he would look into the family’s case. The family said it spent 9,000 pounds (some $13,500) on their tickets, and that it was not refunded.

The issue is sensitive in part because US presidential contender Donald Trump has called for a temporary ban on Muslims visiting the US due to concerns about extremist attacks.

Stella Creasy, a member of the opposition Labour Party, told The Associated Press Wednesday that she had written to Cameron seeking his intervention. She said that US officials who kept the family from boarding provided no information and said she had hit “a brick wall” seeking information about the case.

Creasy told the prime minister there is “growing fear” among British Muslims that aspects of Trump’s plans are coming into practice even though they have been widely condemned.

She warned that some Muslims believe the public condemnation of Trump’s position “contrasts with what is going on in practice.”

Cameron’s office said he would look into the matter. He had earlier characterized Trump’s policy as “divisive and wrong.”

As reported by The Times of Israel