A New York musician was going through Customs at JFK International Airport when his instruments were confiscated and destroyed by airport officials.
According to a report by Norman Lebrecht on Slipped Disc, professional flute player Boujemaa Razgui was carrying 11 handcrafted flutes when he was returning to New York from Morocco over the holiday.
When a Customs official asked to see inside his baggage, Razgui (pictured) had no choice but to oblige.
“I told them I had these instruments for many years and flew with them in and out,” he told Slipped Disc. “There were 11 instruments in all.”
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The airport official then reportedly confiscated all 11 of Razgui’s instruments and ordered that each of them be smashed.
“They told me they were agricultural products and they had to be destroyed,” Razgui said. “There was nothing I could do. The ney flute can be made with bamboo. Is that agricultural?”
Razgui is a Canadian citizen but holds a “green card” employment permit in the United States and has reportedly played in many U.S. musical ensembles.
According to Lebrecht’s report, Razgui was not confrontational with the Customs officials at JFK, but is outraged nonetheless.
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JFK Customers Service has yet to comment on the incident.