SAN DIEGO -- A San Diego student is stranded in Costa Rica after airport officials told him he is on a U.S. government no-fly list and refused to let him board a flight home, according to a local Islamic community group.
San Diego State graduate Kevin Iraniha just completed a master's degree program in international law at University of Peace in Costa Rica. Tuesday, after celebrating graduation with family members, he went to the airport to fly back home, but he was stopped.
"He's definitely outraged about the whole thing," said Hanif Mohebi, executive director of theCouncil on American-Islamic Relationsin Kearny Mesa. "This is ridiculous. His rights have been violated, and we will do everything to make sure that he gets home safely."
Iraniha, 27, grew up in San Diego. He had no problems when he flew from Costa Rica to San Diego to spend the holidays with his family. But when he tried to board his flight home on Tuesday, airport officials pulled him from the line, Mohebi said. He was questioned at the airport and then again at theU.S. Embassy. No one would tell him why he had been placed on the no-fly list, Mohebi said.
"He was excited, they were celebrating, and all of the sudden on their return they were stopped and he was told he could no longer fly to his home," Mohebi said. "In fact, they have asked him questions like 'How many times did you go to a mosque? Do you go to a mosque?' And these are questions, one wonders, does that really have anything to do with security of any sort."
Iraniha will try again Thursday to board a flight back to the U.S., Mohebi said. If he is unsuccessful, he plans to fly to Tijuana, Mexico, and walk across the international border.
The Council on Islamic-American Relations is calling for Iraniha's safe return home, Mohebi said.
"We will definitely look into the matter further," Mohebi said. "This racial profiling or religious profiling is a disease that will eat America little by little, and that's something that we should all be concerned about."