An Oklahoma Muslim civil rights group is trying to help an Oklahoma native return from the Middle East to visit his terminally ill mother.
Adam Soltani, executive director of the Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said Monday his organization and the national CAIR office is working to get Saddiq Long on a flight from Qatar to the United States so he can visit his mother in Oklahoma.
Soltani said CAIR has surmised that Long is on a U.S. government “no-fly” list, but he has been unable to find out why so that he can respond to any allegations or mistaken information.
Soltani said Long, 43, learned earlier this year that his mother, who lives in McAlester, has congestive heart failure.
He said Long was born and raised in McAlester, lived on the East Coast as a young adult and served in the U.S. Air Force for 10 years.
Soltani said Long, who is black, converted to Islam about 16 years ago and has lived in the Middle East since 2000, teaching English in Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt.
Soltani said Long tried to board a flight leaving Doha, Qatar, in April only to be informed by airport security that U.S. Customs and Border Patrol had denied him a chance to board the plane.
Soltani said Long was told to contact the U.S. Embassy in Qatar and that organization told him to make inquiries with the Transportation Security Administration.
Soltani said Long, a U.S. citizen born in McAlester, filed a complaint with the TSA in May to find out why he was not able to fly back to America, but he has heard nothing from the agency. Soltani said Long reached out to Gov. Mary Fallin and several congressional leaders to see if they could help him get answers from the TSA or another government agency.
Soltani said only U.S. Rep. Dan Boren, D-Muskogee, responded, with a representative of that agency telling him that the office could do nothing because he needed to resolve the matter directly with the TSA.