US man who blamed mum's death on travel ban lied
DETROIT: A Detroit man was found to have lied about his mother dying a day after US President Donald Trump’s controversial travel ban was imposed, US media reported.
US citizen Mike Hager claimed that the ban had prevented his 75-year-old mother Naimma from travelling from Iraq to the US for medical treatment last Friday (Jan 27), and that she died the next day.
However, a Michigan Islamic leader told WJBK that Mr Hager’s mother, who suffered from kidney disease, had died five days before the ban was imposed.
She had in fact been receiving treatment in Michigan and died in Iraq on Jan 22 while visiting her family, said Imam Husham Al-Hussainy.
The leader of the Karbalaa Islamic Educational Center in Dearborn also said that Mr Hager told him three days before his mother’s death that he was going to Iraq to see her as she was very sick.
A Detroit Mosque held a prayer service in Naimma’s honour.
Mr Hager, who fled his home country of Iraq during the Gulf War, had earlier claimed his mother and three other family members were prevented from boarding a US-bound flight, while he was allowed to pass.
The 90-day ban is targetted at citizens from seven Muslim countries – Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen – with a four-month hold on allowing refugees into the US, and an indefinite ban on refugees from Syria.
When WJBK contacted Mr Hager about his lie, he replied: “Since I lost my mom, I’ve been on heavy medication – I can’t even sleep. I did not make anything up.”
Mr Hager, who worked as an interpreter and cultural adviser for the US Special Forces, now owns a local business and has lived in Michigan with his family since 1995.
Earlier, Mr Hager was quoted as saying: "I went with my family, I came back by myself. They destroyed our family... If they had let us in, my mum - she would have made it."
- THE STRAITS TIMES