A mosque leader in Dearborn, Mich., confirmed that a man who claimed his mother died in Iraq after being barred from returning to the United States under a travel and immigration ban instituted by President Donald Trump this weekend made false claims about when her actual death occurred.
On Tuesday, Mike Hager - an American citizen and a former refugee from Iraq - told Fox he and his family were stopped while trying to return from Iraq to Michigan. He said he was allowed through due to his American citizenship, but his ailing mother and other family members were not. He then claimed his mother passed away, while stranded at an Iraqi airport Saturday, as he was traveling to the United States.
"They destroyed us. I went with my family, I came back by myself," Hager said. "They destroyed our family."
Travelers from seven majority-Muslim countries -- Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen and Somalia -- are banned from traveling to the United States for 90 days, under the claim U.S. officials want to detect "individuals with terrorist ties and stopping them from entering the United States."
After this story aired on Fox and was posted on FOX2Detroit.com, station managers said they received many questions about the validity of Hager's claims. The news team then confirmed Hager's mother died on Jan. 22, 2017, five days before the immigration and travel ban was instituted.
According to Al-Hussainy, Hager's mother had kidney disease and was receiving treatment in Michigan, where she lived, before traveling to Iraq to visit family.
Al-Hussainy said Hager contacted him on Jan. 19 to tell him his mother was very sick with kidney disease and he was going to Iraq to be with her. She died there, and another mosque in the Detroit area here even held a prayer service in her honor, reports Yahoo News.
The Imam, who voted for Trump, did not want to address the general unrest over the travel ban or the weekend chaos for travelers and protesters at the airports. Instead, he called for peace and patience.