Thursday, 30 Nov 2023

Muslim mayor turned away from White House Eid event: There is a secret list

Muslim mayor turned away from White House Eid event: There is a secret list


Muslim mayor turned away from White House Eid event: There is a secret list

The US Secret Service denied security clearance for Mohamed Khairullah, the longest-serving Muslim mayor in New Jersey, and prevented him from attending a White House Eid al-Fitr event on Monday afternoon marking the end of Ramadan.

Khairullah, who was critical of the Trump administration's travel ban in 2017 that restricted entry to the United States from several predominantly Muslim countries, received the call from the Secret Service while he was en route to the White House. President Joe Biden revoked that ban in 2021.

"It's disappointing and it's shocking that this continues to happen under our constitution which provides that everyone is innocent unless proven guilty," Khairullah, 47, told NewJersey.com. "I honestly don't know what my charge, if you want to put it that way, is at this point, to be treated in such a manner."

In a statement to the newspaper, United States Secret Service spokesperson Anthony Guglielmi confirmed that Khairullah was denied entry to the event on Monday night, regretting "any inconvenience this may have caused" and noting that they were unable to "comment further on the specific protective means and methods used to conduct our security operations at the White House".

Two days earlier, Khairullah, who has been mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, a small town of 6,000 people, for more than 17 years, appeared alongside the state's governor, Phil Murphy, at the gubernatorial mansion for an Eid celebration.

Khairullah, who was born in Syria before fleeing persecution as a teenager and moving to the United States with his parents in the 1990s, served as a volunteer firefighter and delivered humanitarian aid to refugees in Syria and Bangladesh for the Syrian American Medical Society and the Watan Foundation. In 2019, Khairullah had been detained for three hours at John F Kennedy international airport after he returned from a trip to Turkey with his family.

Khairullah told NewJersey.com that he sought out more information from federal officials on why he was detained but they would not disclose their reasoning. After he informed the New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations of what happened, the group reviewed a leaked copy of the federal terrorist screening dataset, which contains details on more than 1 million people suspected of being involved in terrorist activities, and informed him that his name and birthdate appeared in it.

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