A British Muslim man says the San Bernardino, California, attacks are the reason he and his family were stopped from boarding a U.S.-bound flight and taking a dream trip to Disneyland (video below).
Mohammad Tariq Mahmood's family, which includes nine children, had booked a flight to Los Angeles from Gatwick Airport in West Sussex when a U.S. Department of Homeland Security official stopped the family from boarding, Mahmood told the Guardian.
Mahmood said the Homeland Security agent didn't give him a reason why he and his children couldn't board the flight, but he claimed he knows the reason.
"It’s because of the attacks on America," Mahmood told the Guardian. "They think every Muslim poses a threat."
Now, Mahmood's representative in U.K. Parliament, MP Stella Creasy, is demanding the U.S. Embassy explain why the family was refused the trip, and has asked Prime Minister David Cameron to get involved. On Dec. 23, Cameron's office said he would ask U.S. officials why Mahmood, who owns a gym in the U.K., was turned away at the gate.
"We don’t know how many families are affected and what monitoring they do," Creasy said, according to the Mirror. "Nobody knows what’s going on here. Surely there’s more information to be had here."
"Such policies contribute to a fear of isolation among the Muslim community," Creasy said.
Mahmood said his travel papers were in order, and said his family was approved under the U.S. Visa Waiver program, which would have allowed Mahmood and his children to stay in the U.S. for up to 90 days. The family has relatives in Southern California, Mahmood said, and in addition to visiting Disneyland and Universal Studios, they planned to visit with them.
Mahmood said his children were looking forward to the trip for months and "were devastated, they were really heartbroken. They had tears in their eyes because that was something for them."
Creasy said the family was not offered a refund by Norwegian airlines, and remains in the dark about what prompted the refusal.
"It is not the first time a constituent of Muslim faith has been stopped and sent home in this way," Creasy wrote in a letter to Cameron. "A week on no further contact has been made with the family to either investigate the reasons why they should not be allowed to fly or to explain why this decision was taken."