STOCKHOLM – A Swedish tourist became the latest victim of Islamophobia after being barred from a flight to his dream holiday in Mexico for having a Muslim name, The Local reported Tuesday, February 14.
“I was told that I couldn’t board the flight,” Abdifateh Ahmed Mohamed told the local daily Aftonbladet.
The dilemma began in Oslo airport when the 30-year-old met problems at international border controls.
He recalled that he was stopped at the airport by border police who delayed the procession of his ticket.
As airport officials called their counterpart in the United States, they decided to bar the tourist from boarding the flight.
“They said I was a terrorist,” Mohamed said.
“I’ve never been suspected of a crime in my whole life."
After pleading to know the reasons behind having him denied the flight, Mohamed only got the advice of airport officials to contact the American embassy to know why he was barred.
It is unclear why American officials got involved in the case, as the passenger was heading elsewhere.
US embassy officials in Sweden said they were not aware of the incident.
“As the traveler wasn’t travelling to, or through, the USA, this case shouldn’t have had anything to do with American authorities,” said Chris Dunnett of the American Embassy in Stockholm.
The case is not the first involving American officials.
A growing number of Muslims were victims of what some call "traveling while a Muslim".
US rights groups say that racial profiling has been on the upswing since 9/11.
More than 500 people are denied entry to the US daily because of their identity.
The Swedish tourist said that his two travelling companions, who did not have Muslim names, were allowed to continue their way to Mexico.
“We’d planned the trip for so long,” he told the Aftonbladet.
“I was so damn irritated. What can I do? I feel powerless and offended.”
Stranded in Oslo, Mohamed was forced to turn back to Arlanda airport in Sweden.
“My friends who don’t have Muslim names can go straight through while I am taken into a room by the side of the desk,” he said.
“I am actually thinking about getting rid of the name ‘Ahmed’ as it’s always that bit which causes problems.”
Muslims make up some 200,000 of Sweden’s nine million people, according to semi-official estimates.But according to the Islamic Center in Malmo, there are around 350,000 Muslims living in Sweden.
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