Israel barred a group of 20 U.S. Muslims from entering the country Sunday, holding them under guard at the airport, before putting them on a flight back to the United States, police and a member of the group said.
Margaret Zaknoen, program organizer for the group, American Muslims for Jerusalem, said her delegation arrived in Israel at 4:15 p.m. for meetings with Israeli and Palestinian peace activists.
"We started to go through passport control and then they took us out," Zaknoen, of Washington D.C. said by cellphone from Ben Gurion airport, near Tel Aviv, as she and the others boarded a Continental Airlines flight to Newark, N.J.
Israel police spokesman said, according to AP the 20 were refused entry by the Interior Ministry staff and were being held at the airport for deportation.
Zaknoen said an immigration official told her the group was denied entry because of "serious security concerns".
"I told them we were not going to go to any demonstrations or anything, we were just going to be meeting Palestinian and Israeli groups, talking to people, learning about the situation," she said.
She said that on her return home she would complain to the State Department and members of Congress. (Albawaba.com)