Dutch students denied access to U.S. for being Muslim, they believe

American_Eagle_by_Theodore_Roszak,_US_Embassy,_London
United States flag and eagle (Photo: Wikimedia Commons/CGP Grey). United States flag and eagle (Photo: Wikimedia Commons/CGP Grey)

Two Rotterdam students planned to vacation in the United States, but they got no further than JFK Airport in New York. There the American authorities decided to deny them access to the country. "Because we are Muslim", Othmane Charib and Ismail Aghzanay said in a video they made from London after being deported. 

"We were treated like criminals. We had to sit back to back with each other and weren't allowed to make eye contact." Charib tells in the video. "They took our pictures and fingerprints. Our tickets were torn to pieces. Dogs are treated better."

Both students' visas were approved. They went through some questions in London and then were allowed to get onto the flight to America. When they arrived there, the questions started. "They wanted to know which mosque we go to, whether we have extreme thoughts. They did a whole background check. They could see for themselves that we've never been in contact with he police and that we try to motivate young people. Still they finally said: 'this doesn't feel good'. It took more than 10 hours, while we were freezing from the cold. We participate to the maximum in society and then we are treated like this? It's scandalous!"

The costs they incurred for flight tickets and hotels were not reimbursed. "The airline said the could do nothing for us. 'We only take you from A to B'."

The United States implemented its new entry ban a week and a half ago. The ban covers the residents of six Muslim countries - Iran, Sudan, Syria, Yemen, Libya and Somalia. 

The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs is aware of what happened, a spokesperson said to AD. "In principle the authorities of a country, in this case the United States, decide who may enter and who may not. The Netherlands has little influence on it", the spokesperson said to the newspaper. The Ministry still wants to help the two students and will try to find out why they were denied entry. 

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