‘It’s Alic Aida not Al Qaeda’
A woman from France has claimed that she was denied access to the US simply because her name sounded like the infamous terrorist network, Al Qaeda.
33-year-old Aida Alic was flying to New York via Switzerland with her husband and two children when she was told she would not be allowed to enter the country.
It was at Geneva Airport, on Wednesday 30th April, when the young mother was preparing to board her plane to the US that she was told by Swiss Airline officials that her access to the country had been denied.
For reasons which were not specified at the time, Mrs Alic was forced to return to her home near Chambery in the French Alps with her family.
It was only when she decided to search the internet for answers as to why she had been refused entrance that she realised her name’s spelling may have had an influence.
On her passport, Mrs Alic’s name read surname first, ‘Alic Aida’ and she believes, due to this, the authorities would not let her board the plane to JFK Airport because her name looked like Al Qaeda.
“Alic Aida, Al-Qaeda,” she told the French news website Dauphine Libere.
“When friends make the play on words to wind me up, I am used to it, but not this. Especially as my name is pronounced Alitch - It is of Yugoslav origin.
“And now here I am labelled as a risk.”
The family lost out on more than £2,200 as their return flights to America had been purchased as non-refundable.
Paris’ US embassy said they do not comment on individual cases of citizens who are listed on the US’ no-fly list which is believed to have more than 20,000 names as of 2012 – including people accused of religious and racial profiling and discrimination.