June 17, 2010
The FBI’s barring of Yahya Wehelie, from Virginia U.S.A., from boarding a flight back to New York has left the natural-born American stranded. No-fly lists have doubled in size over recent years as the U.S. Government’s Terrorist Screening Center has clamped down even further on suspects. Mr. Wehelie has been stuck in Cairo for six weeks as the FBI probes his history and ‘terrorist connections’ because he allegedly met an accused terrorist in a casual encounter. Check out the full story and video below!
The Virginia man flew to Yemen 18 months ago with his younger brother at the behest of his mother, who wanted them to learn Arabic. He met a Somali woman who he married, and had planned to return to the U.S. with her to finish his education and get a job.
After flying to Cairo with his brother, the two were stopped by authorities and detained. His younger brother was allegedly jailed by Egyptian police and spent 3 days in a jail cell, chained to a wall. Upon his release he was able to fly back to the U.S., but an interjection by the FBI left this American stranded. No-fly listed, Mr. Wehlie’s passport was cancelled and he is now staying in a cheap motel in the Egyptian capital and living on fast-food.
“It’s amazing how the U.S. government can do something like this. I’m cool with all their fighting terrorism and all that, I’m cool with that. I like that, more power to them. My home is America and I don’t know why I can’t go back there,” he said, adding that he even suggested to the FBI to “put me … in an airplane with a bunch of U.S. marshals or whatever, in handcuffs. Just get me back home.”
In response, he says an FBI agent he was pleading with told him to go by sea.
“The lady told me that Columbus sailed the ocean blue a long time ago when there were no planes. I’m an innocent American in exile, and I have no way to get home.”
The story of this citizen’s detainment is worrying for civil rights groups that are concerned the pursuit of safety is impinging upon human rights.
“We are very concerned that this apparent targeting of American Muslims sends a very wrong message to American Muslims that they are second-class citizens,” said Nihad Awad of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
What do you think of the FBI’s efforts that left this natural-born American stranded? No-fly lists are hard to argue with, and have stopped several terror plots. Is this case a rare, but necessary side-effect in order to maintain security? Or has the U.S. authority taken things too far? Let me know your thoughts in the comment section! For more on the story, check out the video below!
This article was posted: Thursday, June 17, 2010 at 11:45 am