A Utah Muslim leader who had been barred from boarding a flight to the United States from Kenya for several days returned to Salt Lake City Sunday afternoon.
Yussuf Awadir Abdi landed with his family about 2:30 p.m. at the Salt Lake City International Airport, where a group of 100 or so supporters greeted him with signs, cheering, applause and hugs.
After he deplaned, Abdi held a news conference with the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) about his ordeal to get home — including another delay at the Los Angeles International Airport on Sunday.
After being denied a boarding pass on Saturday, Abdi said, airport staff on Sunday finally allowed him to get on the plane to Salt Lake City. His wife, however, was stopped at the gate.
Adbi is uncertain why his wife wasn’t initially allowed to board but said that an American Airlines pilot stepped in.
“The American pilot said, ‘We will not separate the family.’ “‘
It took about 20 minutes to get things sorted, but Abdi and his family finally boarded together.
A U.S. citizen since 2010, Abdi is the imam of Salt Lake City’s Madina Masjid Islamic Center. He had recently traveled to Kenya to bring his …