A Utah Muslim leader has been left stranded in Kenya after he was barred form boarding a US bound flight at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.
Yussuf Awadir Abdi, imam of Salt Lake City’s Madina Masjid, and who is a US citizen had gone to Kenya to pick up his wife and five children. He and the family made the trip to JKIA to board a Qatar Airways flight back to the US but he was not allowed to board the plane as the rest of the family boarded.
Abdi was pulled aside by officials at the airport and informed that he could not board the return flight back to the US.
Qatar Airlines informed him that he would not be allowed to board the flight because the United States would not accept him despite him being a US citizen since 2010.
Three of his children are also US citizens while his wife and two other children hold visas.
“He wanted to go over there to get his family and bring them back to the United States,” said Jim McConkie, an attorney who co-founded the Refugee Justice League of Utah. “He actually was afraid to go. They’re all supernervous.”
Abdi moved to the United States in 2005 together with his grandmother and his siblings. They had been living in a refugee camp in Kenya together with his mother though she did not moved to the US and remained behind. Abdi has an application with the USCIS to bring her to the country.
In March this year, when a Kenyan couple Ahmed Khamis Bwika and Emma Ondeko Bwika was detained by immigration authorities, Abdi told the Utah media that he believed Muslims were being targeted. The couple attended his mosque.
The couple lost their appeal for refugee status and agreed to return to Kenya.