A British Muslim school teacher was denied entry to the U.S. while on a trip with students and colleagues. He only holds British citizenship and is not a dual national, according to his employer.
Juhel Miah, who teaches math, was in route to the U.S. on Feb. 16 when he was removed from a plane during a layover in Iceland.
"Everyone was looking at me," Miah told Wales Online. “As I was getting my luggage the teachers and kids were confused. I couldn’t believe this was happening. I was being escorted out. It made me feel like a criminal. I couldn’t speak, I was lost for words."
The action comes in the wake of U.S. President Donald Trump's overturned "Muslim ban," which specifically targeted refugees and immigrants of seven Muslim majority countries. But, as Miah is not a dual national and the ban has been suspended by U.S. courts, the reason for his removal from the plane is quite unclear.
British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson previously assured his country's citizens that Trump's ban would not affect them.
"We have received assurances from the US embassy that the executive order will make no difference to any British passport holder, irrespective of their country of birth or whether they hold another passport," Johnson said, according to The Guardian.
Following this latest incident, many are skeptical of his remarks.
Miah's employer, Neath Port Talbot council, has written the U.S. embassy in London, demanding an explanation. They have yet to receive a response.
The council has referred to the incident as "an unjustified act of discrimination."
"The local authority understands that Mr. Miah was refused permission by the United States authorities to fly to New York, despite being issued with a valid visa for travel. Mr. Miah is a popular and respected teacher at Llangatwg comprehensive school," the council said.
"He is a Welsh Muslim. We are appalled by the treatment of Mr. Miah and are demanding an explanation. The matter has also been raised with our local MP."
People are calling it another incident of blatant racism
Others are calling for a boycott on travel to the US
And some are being sarcastic
Although Trump's Muslim ban has been blocked in U.S. courts, his administration has announced its intent to issue a new, albeit mildly revised, executive order that will target Muslim majority countries. During his presidential campaign, Trump repeatedly called for a ban on Muslims entering the U.S.
After his controversial executive order was issued in late January, resulting in massive demonstrations and legal challenges across the U.S., some Trump supporters argued it didn't specifically target Muslims. But other close Trump allies proudly explained to the media how they had worked with the president on formatting a Muslim ban in a legally viable way.
"I’ll tell you the whole history of it: When he first announced it, he said ‘Muslim ban,'" Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani said on Fox News.
"He called me up, he said, ‘Put a commission together, show me the right way to do it legally.’"
Regardless, the ban was overturned. Activists, lawyers and politicians have vowed to fight against Trump's new executive order moving forward.