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Blacklisted American Muslim cleric detained in Nairobi

Police in Nairobi are detaining an American who is on the list of people not authorised to travel across countries.

The Muslim cleric from Utah, United States is being held at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.

In the US, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, has filed a lawsuit on his behalf seeking orders to allow him to board a plane from Kenya to US.

Imam Yussuf Awadir Abdi, an imam of Madina Masjid in Salt Lake City, Utah, traveled to Kenya to pick his family but was prevented from boarding a plane while his family was allowed.

The Council, in its suit, has named the FBI, the Terrorism Screening Center (TSC) and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), all agencies of the US as defendants.

“He traveled to Kenya to bring his wife and children to the United States. All members of his family are either United States citizens or have permission to enter and reside in this country. Imam Abdi was added to the no-fly list after he left the country and was therefore prevented from boarding his flight home,” said a statement issued by the Council.


It added:”As a result of being denied boarding, Imam Abdi was unable to return home in time for the last 10 nights of the holy month of Ramadan.”

Director of Immigration Gordon Kihalangwa said he heard of the detention in the media.

Government spokesman Eric Kiraithe said:”If he is on no fly list we would want him to go back to where he came from.”

The American council did not say why the cleric was blacklisted.

Independently the Nation established that the cleric was flagged because US authorities established he had been funding organisation in Kenya that were on terrorism watch list.

“The federal government has used the no-fly list as a tool to attack the constitutional rights and liberties of innocent American Muslims around the country,” said CAIR National Litigation Director Lena F. Masri.

He argued that the US Government “wrongfully placed him on the list without notice or due process after he left the country, which effectively exiled him by preventing him from returning to his home in Utah.”