MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Oklahoma News

February 23, 2013

Muslim US Air Force vet again barred from flight

— OKLAHOMA CITY — A Muslim U.S. Air Force veteran who had trouble entering the country last year to visit his terminally ill mother was barred again Saturday from trying to return home to Qatar, the second time this month that he's been prohibited from boarding a flight in Oklahoma City because his name appears on a government no-fly list.

Saadiq Long, an American citizen, told The Associated Press that he attempted to board a Delta Airlines flight at Will Rogers World Airport but was denied a boarding pass after the ticket agent contacted Delta officials. After that, Transportation Security Administration agents arrived.

Long said a TSA agent told him that he was "still on the list" and he would have to contact the FBI.

"I'm trying to be patient, I have my family here supporting me. I'm trying to hang in there," Long told the AP.

A Delta spokesman referred questions to the TSA, which in turn referred questions to the FBI.

"It's been an ongoing issue, but there's nothing that we have to say about his situation," FBI spokesman Rick Rains said. "We have talked with him and his attorney."

Long said the FBI has not told him why he is on the no-fly list, and he declined to say why he believes he's on the list.

"There is so much speculation," he said. "No one has told me and it would just be speculation," to comment on a reason.

He said he has been in Oklahoma City since late last year visiting his mother, who suffers congestive heart failure. After initially having difficulty entering the U.S., he was allowed in the country in November.

"It's kind of getting to her now. She's kind of depressed," Long said, referring to his mother's reaction to his flight situation.

Long tried on Feb. 6 to board a flight out of Oklahoma City but was denied a boarding pass then as well.

Long said he is talking with an attorney about alternative travel arrangements. He declined to say what those plans might entail.

"It's probably best for me not to mention it," he said.

However, he did acknowledge it's "quite possible" that he will try again to board another flight to Qatar, where he lives with his wife and children and teaches English.

If allowed to fly Saturday, Long would have stopped first in Detroit, then taken a connecting flight to Amsterdam and later boarded a flight to Doha, Qatar.

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