Muslim Canadian Who Has Been Shopping In US For 20 Years Denied Entry

“He said, ‘Do you practice? Which mosque do you go to? What is the name of the imam? How often do you go to the mosque?’”



A Moroccan-born Canadian woman was refused entry into the United States after border control realized she was a Muslim.

Fadwa Alaoui, along with her two cousins and children, was on her way to Burlington, Vermont, from Quebec, for some shopping but was stopped at the Highgate Springs U.S. border crossing by Customs and Border Patrol for over four hours for questioning. Alaoui has been crossing the border almost every month for the last 20 years and has never had a problem — until now. 

Alaoui said the border agents asked to see their cell phones. They asked for their passwords and then browsed through their phones for over an hour. She and her cousins were then interviewed separately for over 45 minutes each and Alaoui said the questions revolved mostly around her religion, Islam.

“He said, ‘Do you practice? Which mosque do you go to? What is the name of the imam? How often do you go to the mosque? What kind of discussions do you hear in the mosque? Does the imam talk to you directly?’” Alaoui said.

The agents also asked her about the Arabic videos — which were prayers — on her phone. She was questioned about the Quebec shooting and asked if she knew any of the victims in the mosque. They then asked what she thought of President Donald Trump’s Muslim ban to which she replied that the president can do whatever he wants in his own country.

The group was then fingerprinted and sent back home.

Alaoui is not an immigrant or a refugee; she is a Canadian citizen, who only wanted to enter the U.S.  for a few hours of shopping. Besides that, Trump’s “executive order” targets people from seven predominantly Muslim countries, which does not include Morocco, so denying entry to Alaoui was completely unconstitutional.

"I felt humiliated, treated as if I was less than nothing. It's as if I wasn't Canadian," Alaoui told CBC News in an interview Wednesday.

She is now extremely concerned she won’t be able to visit her parents in Chicago like she was planning to do during spring break and hopes Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will raise the issue when he meets Trump.

On Wednesday, Trudeau was asked about the Canadian-Moroccan woman’s treatment and he stated the federal government was working with U.S. to grant Canadians the right to border crossing.

Public Security Minister Ralph Goodale said his department was looking into the “troubling” Alaoui situation.

“To the best of my knowledge, this was one incident, but it's one incident too many. And I will want to examine it, but I need to get the detail of exactly who and when it happened so that I can follow it up," he said and added anyone with a Canadian passport should be treated with respect at the border.

Banner/Thumbnail Credit: Reuters

View Comments

Recommended For You