One dozen mayors from New Jersey are calling on the White House to apologize to Prospect Park Mayor Mohamed Khairullah after denying him entry to an EID celebration, reports North Jersey.com.
Khairullah was just miles away from the celebration of May 1 marking the end of Ramadan when the White House called him to say he could not attend the event with President Biden because his security clearance had been denied.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations would later tell him his name had come up on an FBI watchlist.
“As mayors who value transparency and the U.S. legal system of due process, we urge you to provide Mayor Khairullah with substantive reasons as to why he was denied admission,” the letter from the mayors to the White House states.
Khairullah has since called for more transparency and says he’d like to prevent this from happening to others.
“I’ve been placed on this illegal list, and it has caused issues for me and my family,” he said. “Locally, we demand transparencies. I expect the same from federal government,” he said to TapintoNet.com.
U.S. Representative Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09), and U.S. Senators Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) have also requested an explanation from the White House.
The Secret Service has since only issued a vague response to the concerns.
“While we regret any inconvenience this may have caused, the mayor was not allowed to enter the White House complex this evening,” an agency spokesperson said, according to Salon. “Unfortunately, we are not able to comment further on the specific protective means and methods used to conduct our security operations at the White House.”
Khairullah has served as mayor of Prospect City for 11 years and he has been elected for three terms. This is not his first encounter with security measures.
Salon reports that in 2019, he encountered extra screening precautions at the airport after visiting relatives in Turkey who are Syrians displaced by war. He was detained for three hours.
According to a report in USA Today, he said he was asked if he visited any towns with terrorist cells and if he personally met with any terrorists.
The mayors are also calling for an end to the FBI watchlist.
AsAmNews is published by the non-profit, Asian American Media Inc. Please consider making a donation and following us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok. Information about interning, joining the staff or volunteering is here. We are supported by a grant from the California Library Commission and its Stop the Hate program. You can find more resources here.