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Swedish tourist halted for having 'terrorist name'

Swedish tourist halted for having 'terrorist name'

Published: 14 Feb 2012 11:02 GMT+01:00
Updated: 14 Feb 2012 11:02 GMT+01:00

A Swedish man set to take off on his "dream holiday" to Mexico was turned away before boarding, as flight officials claimed he shared the name of a wanted terrorist.

“I was told that I couldn’t board the flight,” Abdifateh Ahmed Mohamed told daily Aftonbladet.

“They said I was a terrorist. I’ve never been suspected of a crime in my whole life."

When he was detained on Monday, it wasn't the first time that Mohamed, 30, has met with problems at international border controls.

This time it was Oslo airport border police that delayed the processing of his ticket.

After a call to the United States, a decision was made that he would not be allowed to board the flight, according to Aftonbladet.

He was recommended by airport staff to contact the American Embassy, saying they couldn’t do more to help him.

Mohamed's two travelling companions, who were allowed to continue, had to leave him behind. Stranded in Oslo, Mohamed was forced to turn back to Arlanda airport in Sweden.

“We’d planned the trip for so long. I was so damn irritated. What can I do? I feel powerless and offended,” he told the Aftonbladet.

“My friends who don’t have Muslim names can go straight through while I am taken into a room by the side of the desk. I am actually thinking about getting rid of the name ‘Ahmed’ as it’s always that bit which causes problems.”

It is unclear why American officials got involved in the case, as the passenger was heading elsewhere. At the American embassy in Stockholm they are not aware of the incident.

“As the traveller wasn’t travelling to, or through, the USA, this case shouldn’t have had anything to do with American authorities,” said Chris Dunnett of the American Embassy to the paper.

The FBI has had the Egyptian terrorist Ahmed Mohammed Hamed Ali on its most wanted list ever since the 1998 US embassy bombings in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

The Local/og (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

11:22 February 14, 2012 by occassional
Abdifateh Ahmed Mohamed is indeed a very common name in Sweden.
12:05 February 14, 2012 by RobinHood
I have exactly the same problem whenever I go to Nottingham.
12:08 February 14, 2012 by philster61
He should change his name to Anders Brevik then try it again in Oslo.....
12:11 February 14, 2012 by johnny1939
Joke aside, he probably should change his name. The name he carries is a quite common one and confusion is to be expected. Too bad.
12:21 February 14, 2012 by Abe L
That's what you get for sharing at least two parts of your name with a billion other people, you're bound to get picked up on it at some point.

Swedes do the same with their -son and generally just a handful of names they give their children, but they are less often actual terrorists and there are only ten-ish million of them.

To answer his question about what he can do: Change your name and learn from this, don't give your children similar names as in general it will make their international travel experience a lot more convenient.
12:23 February 14, 2012 by Grokh
not so in fashion to name ur kid mohamed anymore xD.

coz seriously what a lack of criativity.
13:16 February 14, 2012 by this_aint_sparta
Put Anders,Torbjorn,Charlotta,Johan,Björklund and Bengtsson on some lame terrorist list and no one in sweden can ever leave sweden.
13:30 February 14, 2012 by Coaxen
to all the people telling him to change his name: it's not that easy. All your documents, diplomas, licenses, legal papers, medical papers would have to change. It's a major change, and few countries allow to change your name in whatever fashion you want. Getting rid of your middle name is one thing, but changing your last name is often impossible.
13:41 February 14, 2012 by tgolan
Mohamed, Mohamed,Mohamed,Mohamed,Mohamed,Mohamed,Mohamed,Mohamed,Mohamed,Mohamed,Mohamed,Mohamed,Mohamed,Mohamed,Mohamed,Mohamed,Mohamed,Mohamed,Mohamed,Mohamed,Mohamed,Mohamed,. STUPID AMERICANS do they really think that terrorists are going to use the name Mohamed on a passport???
14:29 February 14, 2012 by Vill
Nobody in this day and age travels to Mexico for a dream vacation unless they want to be murdered by drug cartels or they want to slip into the USA without detection. Perhaps this answers the question as to why US officials became involved.
14:59 February 14, 2012 by Fredio
"After a call to the United States, a decision was made that he would not be allowed to board the flight, according to Aftonbladet. "

Wait a minute, are we talking about a sovereign country here or one of the 'state' within USA?

Waw, I thought African countries are the only ones under the imperialist fangs even after the so-called fall of colonialisim.
15:48 February 14, 2012 by Svensksmith
He should change his name to Smith. That's what I did.
15:55 February 14, 2012 by jackityjack
I have the same problem sometimes (only when in North America). But flying with a frequent flyer card helps - it seems that suicide bombers don't care about earning points.
16:45 February 14, 2012 by Old Trafford
i just cant help laughing out reading the comments
17:32 February 14, 2012 by truthworthy
No. she shouldnt change his name. The people who put 1 billion people in terrorist list should change their practices. This case affects me directly because i share a similar name. I can feel for him. totally unfair and unjustifiable.
17:36 February 14, 2012 by matona1
It is not fuuny any more,i do not have any problem like that,but my name indicate that i was born by muslim parent,and people judge you with your first contact as a religoius man,i am not a muslim nor christian,but i am a human being,i want to change all my first name to pure african name,but i dont think it is so easy like that,but my sure name is african,i think parent need to learn from the change of the system now,
18:18 February 14, 2012 by Sgrock

18:15 February 14, 2012 by Sgrock

Let us do away with the PC nonsense. It is highly unlikely that this person is Swedish. A Swedish citizen, perhaps. But Swedish? Most certainly not. Careful editing would prevent such foolish headline mistakes.

Report abuse »
21:23 February 14, 2012 by tgolan
If he was traveling on a Swedish passport it is definitely a question for the Swedish government as this was a clear case of profiling which is illegal and as the original flight started in Sweden this racism need to be adressed
22:39 February 14, 2012 by TheWatchman

True. But let's worry about racism to non-Muslims before we address the racism towards the biggest change in Swedish history.
22:54 February 14, 2012 by blue2012
He should change his name to George Bush or Barack Obama.
23:22 February 14, 2012 by Just_Kidding
I have a request from any potential terrorist: I strongly advise you not to do any terroristy things, but If nothing can change your mind, do us a favor and change your name to "John Smith" or something similar first; there should be large enough number of influential "John Smith"s that can force a change in the working manner of intelligence services of US of A.
00:11 February 15, 2012 by Kaethar
What's so difficult to understand? A man with the same name was on the FBI's most wanted list (and therefore interpol) so the airport called the American authorities to ask them about it and were presumably told it could be him. Sucks but there's not much that can be done about it. And yes, if someone named Eric Smith was wanted by interpol I'm sure a person called Eric Smith would be stopped. Assuming they weren't Swedish citizens of course since Swedish identities are strengthened by the personnummer. For countries without such a system it's harder to distinguish between people with the same or similar names.
02:54 February 15, 2012 by jvtx3232
I'm playing the world's tiniest violin....
12:30 February 15, 2012 by Dave N
The problem probably started when he insisted that he was Swedish and the Mexicans could quite plainly see that he was not.

BIg fuss about nothing. In the 80s a friend of mine once missed his holiday flight out of Manchester because it turns out that he had the same name as a convicted IRA bomber. Did it make the news? No.
13:41 February 15, 2012 by cogito
Last month Thai police arrested Atris Hussein in Bangkok. Mr Hussein, a member of Hezbollah, was caught with a large stash of chemical explosives, intended for attacks in the Thai capital

Mr. Hussein, a Swedish citizen, had entered Thailand on Swedish passport.
14:18 February 16, 2012 by godnatt
@ truthworthy

Considering your track record as a terrorist cheerleader hopefully you are on more than one list already. Perhaps, you'll get a layover in Guantanamo.
14:55 February 16, 2012 by John.Smith

What's wrong with my name??
18:27 February 16, 2012 by zeulf
@ #11 fredio it is easy to put blame on the USA , most swedes will believe that story once a day.
23:54 February 16, 2012 by persika
#7 Hahaha :'D
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