On Tues. Aug. 7, a 3-year-old boy was finally reunited with his parents after being kept out of the country for two years by the U.S. Government.
The Moroccan toddlers first name, Ahmedyassine, is suspected to have drawn a red flag with Homeland Security officials because of its similarity to that of Sheik Ahmed Yassin, the founder of Islamic militant group, HAMAS.
Even though it is widely known that Yassin was killed by an Israeli missile in 2004, Homeland Security officials refused to allow the boy to join his parents who live in Alexandria for two years, according to a local Islamic civil-rights organization.
He was held unduly, we believe, because of our religion, without any due cause, Khalid Iqbal, executive director of the Virginia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), told reporters at a Tuesday press conference at its Herndon office.
Both 3-year-old Ahmedyassine and his father, Abdeloihab Boujrad, 38, were on hand to tell their story at the conference. The father and son had been reunited only hours earlier at Reagan Washington National Airport for the first time in two years.
Boujrad was allowed entry to the U.S. in 1997. At the time, he was engaged to be married. Although he and his wife, Leila, were wed in 1999, Leila remained in Morocco pending authorization for a visa to join her husband in the U.S.
This is indicative of the problem for the Muslim population in this area, said CAIR attorney Morris Days. Sometimes it takes seven years just to take the oath, even though someone has fulfilled all the other requirements.
Boujrad traveled back to see his wife whenever possible and Ahmedyassine was born in Morocco in May, 2004.
In 2005, Leila who is now a permanent resident was issued a visa but was forced to leave Ahmedyassine behind when his name was suspected of causing delays with American immigration officials.
With her own visa in danger of expiring, she was forced to make a very difficult choice.
Ahmedyassine was left with Boujrads sister, and since only had contact with his parents through Internet video and voice communications until Tuesdays reunion.
According to Boujrad, immigration officials never gave a definitive reason for the delay but Iqbal said the boy was held for over two years only because of his name.
I have 15 similar cases on my desk right now, added Mays. We received one just today. A 6-year-old, same situation, same country.
Boujrad thanked Rep. Tom Davis (R-11th) for his continuous efforts and all who helped bring my son home to me.
The proud father said that Ahmedyassine opened his eyes after the long three-plane journey from Morocco; looked up into his mother s eyes and said, I am with you now.