British newlyweds detained in Los Angeles airport on honeymoon and sent home 'due to groom being Muslim'

The couple were held for 26 hours before being handcuffed and flown back to Britain

Andrew Buncombe
New York
Wednesday 26 July 2017 13:56 BST
The couple suspect they were refused entry because Mr Gul is Muslim
The couple suspect they were refused entry because Mr Gul is Muslim (Getty)

A couple of British newlyweds have told how they were detained at a US airport for 26 hours and their honeymoon utterly ruined, “because the groom is Muslim”.

The couple, from West London, had spent £7,000 ($9,100) for a two-week trip that would take in Los Angeles, Hawaii and finally Las Vegas. But after being held at Los Angeles International Airport for more than a day, they were handcuffed, marched to a plane and flown back to London.

The couple, Natasha, 29, and Ali, 32, said they were not given an explanation for the way they were treated. However, against a backdrop of Donald Trump’s immigration crackdown and his effort to prevent Muslims from half-a-dozen Muslim-majority countries from entering the country, they suspect it was because of Ali’s Turkish heritage.

“I am in utter shock that this has happened,” Natasha told the Sun.

“We had just got married, we were on our way to our honeymoon as excited as anything and never expected that we would be deported.

“We were treated like criminals and we had all the relevant documentation and answered all their questions. “It’s not okay to treat people like that.”

The couple said they were pulled aside for questioning, a process they suspected would take ten minutes. It turned into 26 hours, during which they were refused to a shower and their luggage was taken from them. Their phones were only returned to them once they returned to the UK.

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“As far as we knew before we left everything was fine, but as soon as we got there they wouldn’t let us in,” they told the newspaper.

“We believe since Trump was elected, they took one look at his name, thought he was Muslim and didn’t let him in.”

A US embassy spokesman said in a statement that the the US welcomes more than a million passengers arriving every day.

“The religion, faith, or spiritual beliefs of an international traveller are not determining factors about his/her admissibility into the US,” it said.

“Under US immigration law applicants for admission bear the burden of proof to establish that they are clearly eligible to enter the United States.

“In order to demonstrate that they are admissible, the applicant must overcome ALL grounds of inadmissibility.

“Specific grounds of inadmissibility can be found in INA § 212(a) and list more than 60 grounds of inadmissibility divided into several major categories, including health-related, prior criminal convictions, security reasons, public charge, labour certification, illegal entrants and immigration violations, documentation requirements, and miscellaneous grounds.”

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