Muslim denied US entry case disturbing, says UK minister

  • Published
Media caption,
David Lidington spoke in the House of Commons about the case on Thursday

The case of a Welsh-Muslim teacher denied entry to the United States while on a school trip his "disturbing", a UK cabinet minister has said.

Juhel Miah, 25, was escorted off a connecting flight heading to New York from Iceland on 16 February.

David Lidington, leader of the House of Commons, said the incident ran contrary to the US policy on British citizens.

Labour MP Kevin Brennan said US president Trump was treating UK school teachers "like criminals".

Mr Miah had flown to Reykjavik, Iceland, with a party from Llangatwg Community School in Aberdulais, Neath, before boarding an onward flight to New York on 16 February.

But before the plane took off he was escorted off by security staff.

Image source, Wales News Service
Image caption,
Juhel Miah was escorted off a New York-bound flight at Reykjavik airport

Mr Lidington made his comments after Cardiff West MP Mr Brennan raised the case in the House of Commons.

Mr Brennan said: "Isn't there a contrast between the way we are rolling out the red carpet for (US) President Trump, whatever our views on that, whilst he's treating our school teachers like criminals?"

In response, Mr Lidington told the chamber it was "perfectly fair" for Mr Brennan raise the case, which was "disturbing because it went contrary to the declared policy of the United States government as regards British citizens.

"My understanding is that this was down to the way in which a decision was taken at a more local level in that particular case."

He said he would raise Mr Brennan's concerns with Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.

Image source, Google
Image caption,
Mr Miah was with a school trip from Llangatwg Community School, pictured

Mr Miah earlier told BBC Wales he has a British passport and does not have dual nationality. His family's ethnic background is Bangladeshi.

He said he had never been to any of the seven Muslim-majority countries included in an executive order signed by US President Donald Trump, temporarily barring people from those places.

A US executive order suspending immigration and non-immigrant entry to the US for people from Libya, Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen was suspended by a legal ruling earlier in February.

Prior to the suspension, the UK government had been told British citizens were not affected.