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British-Muslim teacher denied entry to US on school trip

Teacher was ordered off the plane, leaving colleagues and pupils 'shocked and distressed', says council

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Teacher was ordered off the plane, leaving colleagues and pupils 'shocked and distressed', says council

A "popular and respected" British-Muslim school teacher was denied entry to the US while on a trip to New York with students.

Juhel Miah and a group from Llangatwg Comprehensive in Aberdulais, near Neath, South Wales, were travelling via Iceland when he was removed from the plane at Reykjavik on 16 February.

A spokesman for Neath Port Talbot Council said that the trip proceeded as planned, but that pupils and colleagues were left "shocked and distressed" after "popular and respected" Mr Miah was escorted from the aircraft by security personnel.

The council has written to the US embassy in London to express its dismay at the treatment of one of its employees, and said that it understood Mr Miah was refused permission by the US authorities to fly to New York, despite having been issued with a valid visa for travel.

'Appalled'

The spokesman said: "We are appalled by the treatment of Mr Miah and are demanding an explanation. The matter has also been raised with our local member of parliament.

"No satisfactory reason has been provided for refusing entry to the United States – either at the airport in Iceland or subsequently at the US embassy in Reykjavik.

"Mr Miah attempted to visit the embassy but was denied access to the building. Understandably, he feels belittled and upset at what appears to be an unjustified act of discrimination."

US president Donald Trump's executive order clamping down on Muslim immigration to the US was hastily unveiled at the end of his first week in office.

'Crucial for national security'

While the White House boasted that the president was fulfilling a campaign promise to toughen vetting procedures for people coming from countries with links to terrorism, the order caused chaos at airports in the US and sparked protests across the country.

The president has claimed the order was crucial for national security.

In its original form, the order temporarily suspended all travel to the US for citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries for 90 days.

The order was put on hold by the courts and a revised version has not yet been signed. However, it is understood from a draft that the same seven countries – Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan and Libya – will be targeted in it.

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