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A Canadian Woman Says She Was Turned Away at the US Border After Questions About Her Religion

Fadwa Alaoui, a Muslim Canadian, says she was on her way to shop in Vermont but was denied entry after agents took her phone and questioned her for four hours.

by River Donaghey
Feb 9 2017, 5:37pm

Photo of the Highland Springs border crossing by Ashley Twiggs/The Christian Science Monitor via Getty Images

Fadwa Alaoui, a Muslim Canadian citizen who was originally born in Morocco, says she was denied entry to the US over the weekend after border officials grilled her about her religious views and thoughts about Trump.

According to CBC, Alaoui planned to go shopping in Burlington, Vermont, with her family on Saturday, but was detained at the Highgate Springs/Phillipsburg border crossing. Alaoui says border agents asked her to hand over her phone and password—which sounds awfully close to those new extreme security measures floated by Homeland Security this week—and that they then questioned her extensively about her religious practices. Border Patrol also asked if she knew anyone killed at the the recent Quebec City mosque shooting.

"I felt humiliated, treated as if I was less than nothing," Alaoui told CBC. "It's as if I wasn't Canadian."

Alaoui says the questioning lasted for four hours, before she was finally turned away. When they denied her entry and returned her phone, border agents told her they had found troubling videos.

"They said, 'You're not allowed to go to the United States because we found videos on your phone that are against us.'" According to Alaoui, the videos on her phone were of daily prayers.

CBC reached out to US Customs and Border Patrol about the incident, which denied that Alaoui was not allowed entry because of her religious affiliation. "[Customs and Border Patrol] does not discriminate on the entry of foreign nationals to the United States based on religion, race, ethnicity, or sexual orientation," David Long, a spokesman for CBP, said.