Muslim man prevented from returning to Oklahoma

A Muslim man who is a McAlester native has been prevented from returning home to Oklahoma from the Middle East to visit his terminally ill mother, though he has not been told why.
BY CARLA HINTON chinton@opubco.com Published: November 5, 2012

The TSA did not return a call from The Oklahoman seeking comment.

Soltani said the matter is frustrating because Long has had no response to his repeated inquiries, and his mother is awaiting his return.

“It's not as if he's trying to come home to go to Disneyland,” Soltani said.

“If he doesn't get home, he may not be able to see his mother again.”

Tuesday, Rick Rains, spokesman for the FBI in Oklahoma City, said he could not confirm or deny whether someone is on the government's no-fly list. He said that information is not released to the public.

Meanwhile, William Tabbernee, executive director of Oklahoma Conference of Churches, said he agreed with Soltani and CAIR that Long should be told why he has not been allowed to visit his ailing mother.

“We obviously understand the need to safeguard society from a potential terrorist threat, and we understand that the Department of Homeland Security has an obligation to keep our country safe, but they shouldn't do it without telling a person if they are on a no-fly list, and if they are asking about it, they should respond,” Tabbernee said.

“It's a tension between safeguarding society and a person's civil liberties.”

Soltani said Long has purchased a ticket to board a flight from Qatar later this week.

Soltani said the frustrated man is hoping that he will be allowed to return to America at that time.

“He's trying to get back for the holidays,” Soltani said of Long.

“He wants to come back so he can take care of his mother. He's hoping her condition will improve with his presence.”