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Posted at 9:35 PM ET, 07/17/2010

Va. man back in U.S. after weeks in Egypt

By Terri Rupar

Yahya Wehelie said Saturday he can't wait to eat his mom's lasagna now that he's back on U.S. soil after FBI scrutiny stranded him in the Middle East for nearly two months on a no-fly list.

The 26-year-old Virginia man landed in New York on Saturday afternoon after the ordeal that began when his studies in Yemen aroused the suspicion of U.S. authorities. His family met him in New York and planned to drive him back to the Washington area.

"I can't ask for anything else in the world right now," said Wehelie, who had been living in a ramshackle Cairo hotel and surviving on fast food coupons provided by the U.S. embassy. "I want to eat some of my mom's cooking, lasagna I hope. I've been waiting for that."

Wehelie, a 26-year-old U.S. citizen of Somali descent, went to Yemen nearly two years ago at his parents' urging to learn Arabic. When he tried to return, FBI agents questioned him for days. He was placed on a no-fly list, leaving him stuck in Cairo until recently, when his no-fly status was removed.

The American Civil Liberties Union recently filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the government's no-fly list, saying that citizens are routinely placed on the list without reason and without a way to remedy the situation.

Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Muslim advocacy group, said he was glad Wehelie was reunited with his family but he worries for others in similar positions.

"There are still people overseas in his situation," Hooper said, vowing to press the issue with President Obama's administration. "This is a policy that needs to be re-examined. They're barring citizens from returning to their own country."

--Associated Press

By Terri Rupar  | July 17, 2010; 9:35 PM ET
 
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Comments

seriously, the dude went overseas for some nookie.....this "no fly" list is lame, lame, lame...


meanwhile, dudes just traveling to get laid are being harassed while the true terrorists are boarding planes with ease....

homeland security is a joke.

Posted by: OldSalt8 | July 18, 2010 12:09 PM | Report abuse

No arabic classes in the Washington D.C. area???

Posted by: cynical1 | July 18, 2010 3:58 PM | Report abuse

If you are a young non-white male traveling to certain middle east countries you are suspect. It's doesn't matter if no one can say what you did to raise suspections.

Posted by: Jimof1913 | July 18, 2010 6:41 PM | Report abuse

He went to Yemen and there he met a number of times with Sharif Mobley - a US man accused of belonging to Al Qaeda. Just by accident, eh?

I think the no-fly list is a government monstrosity managed in Orwellian fashion, and I certainly do not agree with leaving anybody stranded in a foreign country. The US government should NEVER be doing such a thing to US citizens no matter what.

BUT... the FBI did well to question this guy. What I don't understand is why they couldn't fly him back to the US shackled, then question him an length here, instead of just leaving him stranded in Cairo? How was that boneheaded move supposed to make us safe? If he were a real terrorist, he could have blown himself up in the middle of a group of American tourists in Cairo. Great government work, just great!

Posted by: tess9 | July 18, 2010 9:34 PM | Report abuse

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