PROSPECT PARK, NJ - Prospect Park Mayor Mohamed Khairullah took to social media on Friday, describing his experience with Customs and Border Patrol authorities after returning home from traveling abroad.
"Exactly one week ago at this time I was being held at the Customs and Border Patrol Office at JFK Airport after coming back from vacation with my family," Khairullah wrote. "They asked me about my name, any nick names, who I met, why I went to Turkey, my mother’s name, my majors in both graduate and undergraduates studies and the names of my schools. Where I work and if I knew of any terrorist groups developing in any cities in the country I visited. They asked me if I met any members of terrorist organizations. They asked me why I met with Turkish Mayors (I don’t know why Mayors meet with other Mayors....duh). And when I told them that I had enough they punished me for not answering their silly questions by taking my phones."
It was not immediately clear whether or not Khairullah's property was returned to him.
Khairullah, who was born in Syria and has traveled extensively on humanitarian trips to his former home country and other nations undergoing crisis, said, "we will continue to do what we have to do to make the world a better place while our government allows dictators to slaughter millions of people around the world." The Syrian civil war is now in its eighth year and is believed to have taken the lives of approximately half a million and displaced around twelve million Syrians internally and abroad, according to the UN and Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Many of those refugees have gone to neighboring Turkey and Jordan.
The Prospect Park mayor's Turkish connections were evident at his swearing-in ceremony in January, when he thanked Turkish Consul-General Alper Aktaş, for Turkey's "generosity to the people of Syria."
Khairullah called for peace online and included a "picture of my children at the time we arrived to our country" whom he said "waited like good troopers through the ordeal."
Know a story we should share with readers? Email editor Elizabeth Meyers and tell her about it.