Canadian Muslim woman turned away from US for having prayer videos on phone

Fadwa Alaoui [Credit: CBC]

A Muslim woman from Canada claims she was turned away at the US border after prayer videos were found on her mobile phone.

Fadwa Alaoui, a Moroccan-born Canadian citizen who has lived in Quebec for 20 years said she regularly crosses the border to the US nearly every month to go shopping in Vermont and has never had any issues.

However, during her last trip she was turned away from the US after border officials asked her about Islam and her views on US President Donald Trump.

Speaking to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Ms Alaoui claims she was detained for four hours before being told she wasn’t allowed entry to the US and told to return to Canada.

She said: “The first question he asked me: ‘You are Muslim, right?’ I responded, yes. He told me: ‘Do you practise?’ I told him yes. He told me:’ Which mosque do you go?’ So I started to explain the mosque where I go. ‘What is the name of the imam? Where do you pray? Where do the women pray?’” 

She added: “He asked me: ‘What do you think about Donald Trump?’ I told him, ‘what?’ He told me: ‘[What’s] your opinion about his policy?’ I told him, ‘listen, he has the right to do whatever he wants in his country’. I don’t expect that. I’m not following the news. I’m not following what happened. I have a busy life.”

Following the interrogation about her opinion on President Trump, the border officials said they had found prayer videos on Ms Alaoui’s phone.

She said: “They asked about prayers that I receive on my phone. I told him I’m not aware about it. I’m not the one who sends it. But he wanted to know what does it mean to you? It’s more prayers that we have to say. I’ve received from groups, from friends, because they know what I have been through with my kids. They send me prayers to say that it’s going to help you or something like that.”

But Ms Alaoui was given a form to sign that read: “Withdrawal of application for admission. Subject is inadmissible to the United States. An immigrant not in possession of a valid and expired immigrant’s visa.”

She said she has never required a visa to enter the US before, and her passport is not due to expire until June 2018.

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