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Local Somali-American Man On No-Fly List

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By Kavitha Cardoza

A Somali-American man from Burke, Virginia says he cannot return home because his name is on a U.S. no-fly list.

Twenty-six-year-old Yahya "Yeh yah" Wehelie was born in Fairfax, Virginia. His mother, Shamsa Noor, says she sent him to Yemen to learn Arabic.

"He wasn't focusing," she says. "I force him. He didn't wanted to go."

But when he tried to return, Egyptian authorities stopped him from boarding a connecting flight to New York. He says the FBI asked about his association with another American in Yemen accused of joining Al-Qaeda and killing a hospital guard.

Wehelie says he was told his name was on a no-fly list and he can't come home. Noor says she feels terribly guilty.

"It's so unfair because it was not his idea," she says. "I'm the person who loves him the most and I put him in this position. It is not fair."

Americans studying in Yemen are being scrutinized closely by U.S. authorities after a number of failed terrorist attacks were linked back to Al-Qaida's branch in Yemen.

Ibrahim Hooper, with the Council on American-Islamic Relations, says the group is not against no-fly lists at all.

"I don't want to fly with somebody who's dangerous," he says. "But there should be oversight, there should be procedures, there should be legal recourse. You can't throw out constitutional rights in the name of security."

The FBI declined to comment on whether Wehelie was on a no-fly list, but in a statement says recent terror plots against U.S. targets are reminders of the need to remain vigilant.


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