Famous Saudi Cleric Banned from the US

A popular Saudi cleric deplaned a Saudi Airlines flight from Riyadh to New York after he was told he is persona non grata in the United States, local news site An7a reported today.

Sheikh Ayedh al-Qarnee, a preacher from southern Saudi Arabia famous for his books and television programs, was on his way to Chicago, where he was scheduled to speak at the MAS/ICNA Annual Convention, an annual event organized by the Muslim American Society and the Islamic Circle of North America. The organizers have confirmed that al-Qarnee will miss the event.

“Today we received the unpleasant and saddening news that Dr. Ayed Al-Qarni, one of our great new speakers, has been denied boarding his flight to the US,” said Hussein Ata, MAS-ICNA Convention Chairman, in a statement published Thursday. “Although Dr. Al-Qarni was granted the American visa weeks ago, it was to his and our unpleasant surprise that he found himself on the ‘Do-not-fly list’.”

This is the second time a Saudi cleric is denied entry to a Western country in recent weeks. Earlier this month, Sheikh Mohammed al-Arifi was banned from entering Switzerland where he was also supposed to take part at an Islamic conference.