NEWS

BBC Journalist Benjamin Zand Reveals Ordeal Entering US After Donald Trump's Muslim Travel Ban

'Then the guy told me he liked kebabs.'

14/03/2017 10:08

A BBC journalist has revealed his ordeal getting through border security control in the US after he was told he fit the characteristics of a “potential bad guy” because he looked Iranian.

Benjamin Zand, a British reporter from Liverpool who is the editor of BBC Pop Up, said he was questioned about his “Iranian roots” when he tried to enter the country last week.

One official told him they liked kebabs before he was sent to have his possessions examined.

The 26-year-old was on his way to South by Southwest film festival in Austin, Texas, and detailed the trouble he went through to get into the country in a series of tweets, which have been shared thousands of times on social media.

The reporter said he was “recognised by face by US customs officials walking through Frankfurt airport” before being detained for questioning.

It comes after a series of contentious moves by US President Donald Trump who has tried to limit travel to the US from a number of predominantly Muslim countries.

Kevin Lamarque / Reuters
British journalist Benjamin Zand was detained and questioned when he tried to enter the US following Donald Trump's Muslim travel ban.

He was later sent down a “special line to board the plane full of other suspicious characters”, he said.

When he arrived at Houston Airport, in Texas, Zand was taken to a detention area where he was questioned again and told that staff were ordered to stop anyone who “looks Arabic or Persian”.

Zand’s full description of what happened is detailed below:

Zand later adds:

Earlier this month Trump was forced to water down his Muslim travel ban, signing a new order that excluded Iraq from the list of countries affected.

Trump triggered global outrage when he signed an order in January that, as well as suspending resettlement of Syrian refugees in the US, banned travel from Libya, Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, Iran, Iraq and Syria.

Judges struck down the ban after a wave of protests across the world.

There have been a number of examples of people being barred from entering the US.

Last month a British teacher was left feeling “like a criminal” after he was banned from travelling to the Us while on a school trip.

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