Imam in US disputes man’s claim that mom died due to travel ban

This file photo shows Director of the Karbalaa Islamic Educational Center, Imam Husham Al-Husainy, speaking about the impending execution of Saddam Hussein in Dearborn, Mich., on Dec. 29, 2006.

A Detroit-area woman whose son told television stations that she died because President Donald Trump’s travel ban prevented her from returning to the US for medical care actually died several days before the order was signed, the leader of a mosque said.

Imam Husham Al-Hussainy spoke to The Associated Press on Wednesday about comments Mike Hager made to TV stations in Boston and Detroit. Hager said he tried to bring his ill mother back from Iraq on Friday, but that she was not allowed to enter the country because of Trump’s order temporarily barring citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries.

Al-Hussainy told the AP that the woman actually died on Jan. 21 or 22 and that prayers were said for her at the Karbalaa Islamic Educational Center in Dearborn. Al-Hussainy said he learned she died then by members of his mosque and from posts on the family’s Facebook page.

A funeral was held for the woman at a nearby mosque last weekend, Al-Hussainy said. The Associated Press was unable to reach Hager on Wednesday at his Dearborn home.

He told television stations that he and his family had traveled to Iraq to visit relatives when his mother fell ill. He said he is a US citizen, but that his mother and others in his family who traveled to Iraq were not. The others were not allowed to return, he said.

Al-Hussainy said Hager spoke to him by phone around Jan. 19 that he and other members of his family were traveling to Iraq to visit relatives. Hager also said his mother suffered from kidney disease, the imam said. Al-Hussainy has not spoken to Hager since that phone call. He said the woman’s body remained in Iraq.


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