Australian Muslim activist 'kicked out of US'

2018-04-12 12:10
Author and activist Yassmin Abdel-Magied. (Theo Wargo, Getty Images for Global Citizen, AFP)

Author and activist Yassmin Abdel-Magied. (Theo Wargo, Getty Images for Global Citizen, AFP)

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A high-profile Australian author and Muslim activist said she was refused entry to the United States on Thursday and put on a plane home after arriving for a speaking engagement.

Yassmin Abdel-Magied, an advocate for youth, women and those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, said she was stopped by border officials and ordered out of the country.

"Roughly three hours since touch down in Minneapolis, I'm on a plane back," she tweeted.

"Well, guess that tightening of immigration laws business is working, despite my Australian passport. We're taking off now."

Abdel-Magied was due to appear in New York to discuss online hate against Muslim women at an April 18 forum organised by PEN International, a freedom of expression organisation.

She said authorities took her phone and passport and cancelled her visa. It was not immediately clear why they took the action.

"Those who say the world is borderless are those who have the right colour passports – or birthplace," she tweeted.

A decision for the American government

Abdel-Magied, a 27-year-old former Queensland state Young Australian of the Year and mechanical engineer, was born in Sudan but migrated to Australia in 1992. She moved to London last year.

She has worked as a presenter for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and formerly served on the government's Council for Australian-Arab Relations.

She sparked an outcry in Australia over an Anzac Day social media post which referred to current global conflicts and the plight of asylum-seekers detained by Australia in offshore camps.

Anzac Day annually marks the ill-fated 1915 landing of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps in modern-day Turkey during World War I.

Australia's Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs Minister Alan Tudge said US visas were a decision for the American government.

"At the end of the day it is unusual for an Australian citizen to not be granted a visa to go into the United States, but I simply don't know the details behind this particular case," he told reporters.

"I just don't know the details underpinning this and whether or not it was that she had a tourist visa, that perhaps there was evidence she was planning to do other things other than being a tourist there."

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