London, Feb 21 : A British Muslim teacher travelling to New York last week as a member of a school party from South Wales was denied entry to the US, a media report said.
Juhel Miah and a group of children and other teachers from Llangatwg Comprehensive in Aberdulais, Neath Port Talbot, South Wales, were about to take off from Iceland on February 16 on their way to the US when he was removed from the plane at Reykjavik, the Guardian reported.
The previous week, on February 10, a US appeals court had upheld a decision to suspend US President Donald Trump’s executive order that temporarily banned entry to the country from seven Muslim-majority countries.
Miah, 25, from Swansea, said he was made to feel like a criminal and was so worried by what happened to him that he did not eat or sleep for two days.
He told Wales Online on Monday that shortly before the flight was due to leave he was approached by an official who told him he could not board the plane.
“Everyone was looking at me,” Miah said. “As I was getting my luggage the teachers and kids were confused. I couldn’t believe this was happening. I was being escorted out. It made me feel like a criminal. I couldn’t speak, I was lost for words.”
“We got to the airport, and as soon as we got to check in, the lady behind the desk read my passport and then straight away said ‘you’ve been selected for a random security check’.”
Miah added: “She took me to the room, made me stand on a stool, take my shoes off, jacket off, checked under my foot, got a swab to brush over my hand and bag, my clothing and school hoodie (sweatshirt). They gave me the all clear and then I went.”
The school booked him on to a flight back to the UK, the Guardian said.
The teacher’s employer, Neath Port Talbot council, has written to the US embassy in London demanding an explanation and the issue is being taken up by Welsh politicians.
A council spokesman said Miah was left feeling belittled at what it described as “an unjustified act of discrimination”.