WASHINGTON (AA): A coalition of dozens of advocacy groups called on the White House Friday to apologize to a Muslim American mayor who was disinvited from an Eid ceremony just moments before it was to begin.
Mohamed Khairullah, the longtime Muslim mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, was informed that despite being invited to the gathering hosted by President Joe Biden, reminded to confirm his attendance and driving nearly four hours from his home state, he would not be allowed to attend the May 1 ceremony.
He was given no reason for the abrupt rejection by either the White House or the Secret Service, which is in charge of security at the executive mansion.
A total of 42 Muslim American advocacy groups urged the executive mansion to publicly explain why Khairullah’s invitation was canceled at the last minute, including the exact reasons why his security clearance was denied.
In addition to an apology, the groups are seeking a review of Khairullah’s security status to prevent future incidents from happening, the extension of a new invitation to discuss the “tangible harms” produced by secret watchlists, and the disbandment of blacklists altogether.
“We have high expectations that the Biden administration will promptly and publicly reject Islamophobic and anti-Muslim policies and practices, like the current watch listing practices, and we earnestly hope for a swift response from the White House to this incident,” the groups wrote.
Following the White House rejection, Khairullah reached out to the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), one of the letter’s signatories, for support, he told Anadolu during an interview.
He was informed that his name was on an FBI watchlist that had been leaked onto the internet after being placed on an unsecured server by a US airline.
The list, first reported on by the Daily Dot news website, but not ever publicly acknowledged by the government, included a trove of names from the US’s Terrorist Screening Database and “No Fly List.”
Some 1.5 million people are included on the list, including a “large majority” of Arabic and Muslim names, Dina Sayedahmed, a spokesperson for CAIR’s New Jersey chapter, told Anadolu. It dates back two decades to 2003.
She supplied Anadolu with a redacted version of the list that featured Khairullah’s name and date of birth.