A Muslim teacher from Wales was barred from entering the United States for a school trip to New York.
Juhel Miah, a ‘popular and respected’ maths teacher, was with a group of pupils from Llangatwg Comprehensive in South Wales when he was removed from a plane on February 16.
He had been planning to travel onward to New York from Reykjavik in Iceland, but was taken off the aircraft by security forces while his class looked on.
‘I was lost for words at the time and then it hit home when I saw that everyone was looking at me as if I had done something wrong and it made me feel really small,’ he said.
‘My colleagues on the plane and all my kids were looking at me, they were all gobsmacked and all upset.
‘I don’t know what emotions I was going through but seeing their daces looking at me – it wasn’t nice.’
The trip went ahead as planned by pupils and colleagues were left ‘shocked and distressed’ after Mr Miah was escorted from the aircraft by security personnel.
‘We are appalled by the treatment of Mr Miah and are demanding an explanation,’ Neath Port Talbot said in a statement. ‘The matter has also been raised with our local member of parliament.’
The council has written to the US Embassy in London to express its dismay.
It is understood that Mr Miah was refused permission by the United States authorities to fly to New York, despite being issued with a valid visa for travel.
‘Mr Miah attempted to visit the [US embassy in Iceland] but was denied access to the building,’ the council said.
‘Understandably he feels belittled and upset at what appears to be an unjustified act of discrimination.’
Donald Trump signed an executive order, since suspended, banning people from travelling to the US if they were from seven Muslim majority countries.
Mr Miah is from Britain and has family in Bangladesh, which is not one of the countries listed in the ban.