Mohamed Khairullah, the longtime mayor of Prospect Park, N.J., said he was asked whether he knows any terrorists while being held for three hours at JFK International Airport last month, according to the Bergen Record. “It’s flat-out insulting,” he said, “It’s flat-out stereotyping of Muslims and Arabs.” Khairullah says he was returning from a trip to visit relatives in Turkey with his four children on Aug. 2, when Customs and Border Protection officers pulled him aside at the gate for what they said was a random search. The politician and public-school administrator said the agents asked whether he personally met with any terrorists or visited any towns with terrorist cells.
The agents also asked for access to his phone, and told Khairullah they would have to keep it. CBP held the phone for 12 days until a lawyer from the New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations helped him retrieve it, he said. In 2017, CAIR joined the American Civil Liberties Union in an ongoing lawsuit arguing that the seizure of electronic devices at the border without reasonable suspicion or a warrant is unconstitutional. “This is not the America that I know,” said Khairullah, “I am very familiar with our laws and Constitution, and everything that was going on there was a violation.”