An Islamic scholar from South Africa was denied entry into the United States, it was reported on Saturday night, prompting questions from Muslims in the San Francisco Bay Area who had invited him to participate in activities marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan.
Fazlur Rahman Azmi was detained by officials from US Customs and Border Protection when he arrived at San Francisco International Airport from London on Friday afternoon, according to the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a civil liberties group.
Azmi, who had made previous visits to the country as recently as April without problems, was questioned for hours before being denied entry and sent on a plane out of the country on Saturday, the group said.
Michael Fleming, a Customs and Border Protection spokesman, confirmed Saturday that Azmi was forced to leave the country after a brief detainment.
"His application for entry into the US was determined to be inadmissible," said Fleming. He refused to give any details of the case.
"There's nothing suspicious about him," said Nawaz Khan of the Fremont, California-based Islamic Society of East Bay whose members waited at the airport Friday while officials questioned Azmi. "He is not involved in any political groups. All he does is teach at the mosque and pray."
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