Customs officers denied a Muslim activist from Australia entry to the U.S. for a speaking engagement and deported her to London on Wednesday.
Yassmin Abdel-Magied was scheduled to speak at the PEN World Voices Festival in New York for an event called “The M Word: No Country For Young Muslim Women,” but customs officers denied her entry to the U.S. when she arrived at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, according to The Associated Press.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection said Abdel-Magied, who now lives in London, had the wrong type of visa and would not legally be able to receive payment for her speaking engagement.
— Yassmin Abdel-Magied (@yassmin_a) April 12, 2018
Abdel-Magied claimed that she had traveled to the U.S. with the same kind of visa previously. She also tweeted about the incident, saying that customs officers confiscated her phone while reviewing her case and that an officers she identified as Officer Herberg told her “we’re sending you back.”
Suzanne Nossel, chief executive of PEN America, issued a statement admonishing U.S. Customs and Border Protection to allow Abdel-Magied into the U.S. and criticized “tightened immigration restrictions,” according to The Australian.
“We call on Customs and Border Protection to admit her to the US so that she can take her rightful place in the urgent international conversation to take place at the festival next week. Efforts at visa bans and tightened immigration restrictions threaten to choke off vital channels of dialogue,” Nossel’s statement read.
Abdel-Magied has sparked outrage in the past by calling Islam a feminist religion, claiming that Muslims established equal rights between men and women before Europeans did, and promoting Sharia law. She also appropriated an ANZAC day memorial phrase for a social media post in support of Palestinians and refugees in 2017. The post, which Minister for Immigration Peter Dutton denounced, caused public outcry. Abdel-Magied, who at the time was a member of the Council for Australian-Arab Relations, apologized for the post, left Australia and relocated to London.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection allowed Abdel-Magied to rescind her application for entry and said that she is welcome to apply for the correct visa.
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