Concerns over the increasing number of British Muslims who have been denied entry to the US are steadily rising after a UK imam claimed he was stopped from boarding a flight to New York on 17 December. Speaking after he was prevented from travelling to the US, Ajmal Masroor claimed that at least 20 British Muslim families have found themselves in a similar situation and accused the US State Department of enforcing Donald Trump's proposals "before he has received a single vote".
Minutes before his flight, Masroor was approached by a man who identified himself as a member of staff from the US embassy. The 44-year-old imam was informed that his business visa had been revoked and received no further explanation as to why he was being prevented from travelling. Recounting the experience in a Facebook post, Masroor said that when he asked for the reason behind refusing him entry, the staff member – who identified himself as a "messenger" – told Masroor that he "must have done something".
Masroor's revelations came as it emerged that a British Muslim family was stopped from travelling to the US for a dream holiday to Disneyland. Labour MP Stella Creasy has demanded that Prime Minister David Cameron challenge the decision and claimed that more Muslims have been "summarily refused entry to America."
Masroor said that many of those who had fallen victim to the treatment were worried about publicising the issue as they are "very afraid they'll never be able to visit America again."
He told the Independent: "I don't care - I'm not afraid to speak the truth." Masroor added: "This worrying trend of racial profiling and poor immigration policy is out of control, and must be stopped. They have no right to racially profile anyone."
Earlier this month Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump called for a "total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States" and his remarks were widely condemned across the political spectrum. Despite the widespread disapproval, Trump's divisive speech is appearing to have dangerous and far reaching consequences.
"Trump's rhetoric is dangerous, and is influencing foreign affairs between the US and other countries," Masroor said. "If America is going to develop zero Muslim tolerance, it's a very worrying disposition.
"[Their] immigration policy stinks - it is not doing anything to win the hearts and minds of the people. It is not fair," he added.
Creasy said that instances of Muslims being barred entry to the US is far from an isolated incident, calling it a "growing issue". Voicing her concern that many people will not even bother to attempt visiting the US, Creasy told the Mirror: "We don't know how many families are affected and what monitoring they do. Nobody knows what's going on here. Surely there's more information to be had here?
She added: "What I am worried about is the fear of isolation among the Muslim community.
"There are people trying to divide my local community along religious groups and this sort of issue feeds that division."