United States stops entry of British Muslim leader

Kamal HelbawyThe United States barred a British Muslim leader from flying to New York from London on Thursday morning, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security said.

The department’s Customs and Border Protection section would not elaborate on why Kamal Helbawy, 67, a founding member of the Muslim Association of Britain, was told by airline staff to get off his flight shortly before it was due to leave London.

“The individual was inadmissible to enter the U.S.,” said spokeswoman Kelly Klundt. “I can’t speak specifically to this case as to why he was inadmissible.”

Helbawy was due to speak on a panel on the Muslim Brotherhood, organized by the Center on Law and Security, an independent think tank based at New York University.

Karen Greenberg, the executive director of the center, said Helbawy did not know why he had been stopped from traveling to the United States. ”According to him they didn’t tell him,” she said. ”What they told him was that basically he would have to go to the American Embassy first before he could come here.”

Reuters, 19 October 2006