US no-fly list leaves British Muslim stranded in Canada

By Gurmukh Singh, IANS
Wednesday, February 16, 2011

TORONTO - Probably in the first such case in international travel, the US no-fly list has left a British man stranded in Canada.

Dawood Hepplewhite, who is a convert to Islam, turned up at Toronto’s Pearson Airport Sunday only to be told that he couldn’t board an Air Transat flight to Britain.

The 30-year-old British said he was flying home when he he told that he could not board the plane as his name was on the US no-fly list. Hepplewhite said even Air Canada and British Airways also refused to let him fly the next day, according to the Canadian Press.

Since most flights from Canada pass over the US airspace, airlines don’t pick up passengers listed on the US no-fly list.

Hepplewhite, who comes from Sheffield in England, said he was never a security risk. But he said he suspected his name landed on the US no-fly list because he is a white convert to Islam and once applied to work in Yemen.

The US considers Yemen a hotbed of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a Nigerian man who tried to blow a Northwest flight near Detroit on Christmas eve in 2009, was linked to AQAP.

(Gurmukh Singh can be contacted at

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