A St. Paul imam who was disinvited from a behind-the-scenes security tour at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport last week said he believes it’s because he has been critical of U.S. anti-terror tactics in Minnesota.
Hassan Mohamud, of the Minnesota Da’wah Institute in St. Paul and an adjunct professor at the Mitchell Hamline School of Law, was supposed to take part in the tour reviewing operations and screening with about 50 imams and others in the Muslim community last Thursday.
The tour is part of the Department of Homeland Security’s effort to address concerns from local Muslims that they are being profiled during security screening at the airport.
Mohamud said he took part in the tour last year without any problem. He submitted the required information a month before this year’s tour, and three days before the tour received an e-mail confirming his participation.
Then three hours before the tour, he received a call from a Homeland Security agent, who told him he was not included because “the clearance was not completed,” Mohamud said.
The disinvite discouraged Mohamud because, he said, his mosque has sponsored several events bringing together Homeland Security and the Muslim community.
He had canceled other plans last Thursday to do the tour, he said.
A spokesman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection said he is not aware of what prevented Mohamud from taking the tour.
In general, when such tours are held, “it isn’t uncommon for there to be a mess-up with the paperwork,” spokesman Kris Grogan said. “Usually, we have one or two [would-be invitees turned away] every time we hold one of these things.”
Marsha Catron, a spokeswoman for the Department of Homeland Security, said she is checking to find out whether Mohamud’s rejection occurred merely because of a documentation hitch or a security concern.