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UK PM’s office to probe case of British Muslim family barred from U.S.

MP Stella Creasy says U.S. officials gave no explanation for refusing to allow her constituents to board the flight

Published: Updated:

Prime Minister David Cameron’s office says he will look into a lawmaker’s claim that U.S. officials prevented a British Muslim family from flying to Disneyland for a planned holiday.

Stella Creasy, a member of the opposition Labour Party, says U.S. officials gave no explanation for refusing to allow her constituents to board a flight from Gatwick Airport on Dec. 15. She told The Guardian newspaper this is part of a larger pattern affecting British Muslims, and that a lack of information from U.S. officials is sparking resentment among Muslims who feel discriminated against.

The issue is sensitive in part because U.S. presidential contender Donald Trump has called for a temporary ban on Muslims visiting the U.S. due to concerns about extremist attacks.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency said in a statement issued in London: “The religion, faith, or spiritual beliefs of an international traveler are not determining factors about his/her admissibility into the U.S,”

“... applicants for admission bear the burden of proof to establish that they are clearly eligible to enter the United States,” it added. “In order to demonstrate that they are admissible, the applicant must overcome all grounds of inadmissibility.”

Creasy’s office told The Associated Press Wednesday that she had written to Cameron seeking his intervention. She complained that officials who kept the family - two brothers and their nine children - from boarding provided no information and said she had hit “a brick wall” seeking information about the case.

She said there is “growing fear” among British Muslims that aspects of Trump’s plans are coming into practice even though they have been widely condemned and warned that some Muslims believe the public condemnation of Trump’s position “contrasts with what is going on in practice.”

Talha Ahmad, a spokesman with the Muslim Council of Britain, told Sky News the denial of boarding privileges is “very, very worrying” because it is part of a pattern.

“It seems like it’s not a unique or isolated incident,” he said, asserting that Muslims are often singled out.

Cameron’s office said he would investigate the matter. He had earlier characterized Trump’s policy as “divisive and wrong.”

U.S. Embassy officials declined comment Wednesday.