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Muslim Canadian woman turned away at Highgate Springs border - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Muslim Canadian woman turned away at Highgate Springs border

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HIGHGATE SPRINGS, Vt. -

A family looking for a day trip to Burlington was held back at the Canadian border. A Muslim woman traveling with her cousin and two children came forward to multiple Canadian media outlets about her experience with the border patrol. She says she was asked her about her religion and views on President Donald Trump before being turned away.

Fadwa Alaoui told Canadian news organizations she wanted to bring her son to Burlington to go toy shopping, a fun day planned for the 5-year-old who recently finished chemotherapy. Alaoui lives just across the Canadian border in the Greater Montreal Area. She says she went to the Highgate Springs crossing and was shocked by what the border patrol officer asked her. 

"He told me, 'You are Muslim, right?' I said, 'Yes.' He told me, 'Do you practice your religion?' I said, 'Yes.' So he asked me, 'Which mosque do you go?'" said Alaoui.

Alaoui says she was also questioned about her thoughts on President Donald Trump, to which she responded that she's uninterested. She says officers searched her phone and asked questions about her prayer videos in Arabic. After waiting four hours...

"The officer, she came and she told me we are not let you enter to the United States. I said why, why is the reason? She told me, because we find the videos and concerns against us," said Alaoui. 

Alaoui says she's a Canadian citizen with a Canadian passport. She was born in Morocco, a country that isn't included in Trump's executive order temporarily banning citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries from traveling to America. 

WCAX News talked with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, who said it could not discuss this specific case because of privacy laws. The organization insisted it does not discriminate based on religion, race or ethnicity.

"When someone crosses the border, anything that that person is bringing across with them at the border is subject to search," said David Long, CBP. "Out of 1.2 million people, occasionally we are going to find a small number that will not be admitted to the United States for a variety of reasons." 

Republican Governor Phil Scott's office said it's working to learn more about the incident and that if the details of Alaoui's experience are confirmed, it is deeply troubling. 

Customs and Border Protection told us protocols haven't changed since Trump's order and that people who feel mistreated should file a formal complaint online.

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