Lawsuit filed over Utah imam being blocked from entering the USA

SALT LAKE CITY — A federal lawsuit has been filed seeking to force the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to allow a Utah imam back into the country.

Imam Yussuf Abdi was blocked from boarding a flight from Kenya, where his family is, because he is on the “no fly list,” according to an emergency injunction request filed in U.S. District Court on Friday afternoon. The Muslim religious leader has been on that list since 2014, court documents indicate.

Imam Yussuf Abdi (FOX 13 file image)

“Imam Abdi, a United States Citizen, was wrongfully designated on the federal terrorist watch list and falsely stigmatized as a ‘known or suspected terrorist’ by Defendants,” Abdi’s attorney, James McConkie, wrote in the emergency injunction request.

Abdi is the imam over the Madina Masjid Mosque in Salt Lake City.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations, which is also representing Abdi, insists he has never been arrested, charged or convicted of any terrorism-related offense. His family was allowed to board a flight home to Utah, but his lawyers said the imam was not. CAIR Legal Director Lena Masri told FOX 13 he was allowed to fly to Qatar from Kenya.

If he is not allowed to enter the United States, the imam’s attorneys have asked U.S. District Court Judge Dee Benson to force the feds to allow him in.

The court filing said Abdi has endured extra scrutiny and security every time he travels. His attorneys said he is scheduled to leave the country again in August to lead a pilgrimage to the Hajj.

Read the emergency injunction request filed in federal court here: