A McAlester native who lives in the Middle East was prevented from returning there Wednesday.
Saadiq Long, a U.S. Air Force veteran, said he tried to check in for his flight to Qatar on Wednesday at Will Rogers World Airport but was told by a representative of the Transportation Security Administration that he was not cleared to board.
Long said the TSA official told him it was a matter of national security and that he should contact the FBI to straighten out the matter.
Long had been on the government's “no-fly” list and prevented from entering the U.S. from Qatar for many months. In November, after several unsuccessful attempts, he was allowed to fly to Oklahoma to see his mother, who has congestive heart failure.
Adam Soltani, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Oklahoma chapter, said he and Long do not understand why Long cannot leave the United States to return to his home in Qatar, where his wife and child are waiting, particularly because he was previously cleared to fly into the U.S.
“He's almost back to square one,” Soltani said Wednesday. “He was cleared to fly into the country. Why won't he be allowed to fly out?”
Soltani said a CAIR attorney contacted the FBI in Oklahoma City in late January to tell the agency that Long planned to return to Qatar on Wednesday.
Rick Rains, spokesman for the FBI in Oklahoma City, declined to comment.
Soltani said Council on American-Islamic Relations officials are concerned that Long's rights as a U.S. citizen are being violated.
“CAIR's concern is that Saadiq is an American citizen and he, like any other American citizen, should not be barred from leaving or entering the country without due process of law. If there's a reason, it should be communicated properly,” Soltani said. “We can only speculate that this has something to do with his faith.”