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Muslim Activist Denied Access to U.S.

Yassmin Abdel-Magied, Australian TV personality and Muslim activist, was denied entry to the United States after her visa was cancelled and she was deported after arriving on Wednesday, reports the New York Times.

The activist is a mechanical engineer and an advocate for youth, women and those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

The Guardian reports Abdel-Magied planned to speak at a festival panel in New York titled “The M Word: No country for young Muslim Women” at an April 18 forum organized by PEN International, a freedom of expression organization. U.S. Customs and Border Protection issued a statement claiming that her B1-B2 tourist and business conference visa did not permit her to be a paid speaker.

“During the inspection, CBP officers determined this individual did not possess the appropriate visa to receive monetary

Yassmin Abdel-Magied
Yassmin Abdel-Magied
Via Twitter

compensation for the speaking engagements she had planned during her visit to the United States,” a USBP spokesperson said, reports The Village Voice. “As such, she was deemed inadmissible to enter the United States for her visit, but was allowed to withdraw her application for admission. The traveler is eligible to reapply for a visa for future visits.” Abdel-Magied was sent back to London, where she now lives, after arriving in Minneapolis.

Abdel-Magied posted about her experience on Twitter. She wrote that “within a few min of looking at my case the border security person – Officer Herberg looking at my case she announces: ‘we’re sending you back!’” She says that officers confiscated her cellphone and passport throughout the ordeal.

“Those who say the world is borderless are those who have the right color passports — or birthplace,” Abdel-Magied tweeted. “I have previously traveled to the United States on the visa that I sought entry with on this occasion.”

The organizers of the PEN World Voices Festival in New York were “dismayed” that Abdel-Magied was turned away, reports Daily Mail. “The very purpose of the PEN World Voices Festival, founded after 9/11 to sustain the connectedness between the US and the wider world, is in jeopardy at a time when efforts at visa bans and tightened immigration restrictions threaten to choke off vital channels of dialogue that are protected under the First Amendment right to receive and impart information through in-person cultural exchange,” the PEN America CEO said, according to Newsweek.

One day later, Abdel-Magied tweeted a statement, claiming that she had returned to London and was working to resolve the issue.

She is slated to host a TV series in Australia called Hijabistas! which will explore Islamic headwear, starting in May, reports Newsweek.

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  1. RE: Muslim Activist Denied Access to U.S.: I loathe being that guy but it sounds like a totally legal deportation. I’ve travelled on business and you do need the right visa if you’re getting paid. What’s Over the top is confiscation of phone and passport. You only do that for “ suspicious “ people. This is clearly a message deportation.


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