The prestigious American writers’ festival who booked Yassmin Abdel-Magied to talk in New York next week has called upon US customs to reverse her deportation.

PEN World Voices Festival have swiftly responded to Abdel-Magied’s live-tweeting of her deportation upon arriving in Minneapolis.

In a comment on their website, the festivals CEO Suzanne Nossel released a statement expressing ‘dismayment’ about the deportation. Nossel points out that the event is antithetical to the festival’s purpose to examine the intersection of human rights and literature:

The very purpose of the PEN World Voices Festival, founded after 9/11 to sustain the connectedness between the U.S. and the wider world, is in jeopardy at a time when efforts at visa bans and tightened immigration restrictions threaten to choke off vital channels of dialogue that are protected under the First Amendment right to receive and impart information through in-person cultural exchange.

Abdel-Magied is due to appear at two events next week regarding her own experiences of discrimination as a Muslim and Sudanese-Egyptian-Australian – “The M Word: No Country For Young Muslim Women” and “Take Back The Heat: Fighting Online Heat”.

Last year, she left Australia for London after receiving a torrent of attention and abuse online regarding her media presence after an ANZAC Day tweet which was deemed insensitive.

Nossel ends the comment by calling on U.S. Customs and Border Patrol to reverse the deportation, “so that she can take her rightful place in the urgent international conversation to take place at the Festival next week.”

She also references that Abdel-Magied was travelling on a visa she had previously used for similar engagements.

New York Times journalist Isabella Kwai has tweeted that she saw Abdel-Magied before she was deported back to London, confirming that Abdel-Magied was deported as her B1/B2 Visitor visa was considered “the wrong visa for speaking events, although she’s entered on it before to speak at events”.

Kwai also wrote that Abdel-Magied was told by an immigration officer that “there was just too much grey area in immigration law.”

 You can read the festival’s full statement below:

“We are dismayed that an invited guest to our annual PEN World Voices Festival in New York, which starts on Monday, Yassmin Abdel-Magied, herself the founder of an organization called Youth Without Borders, was turned away by US Immigration officials in Minneapolis, reportedly had her phone and passport seized, and was put back on a plane to Amsterdam. Abdel-Magied is an advocate of the rights of Muslim women and refugees and is a citizen of Australia, travelling on that country’s passport. The very purpose of the PEN World Voices Festival, founded after 9/11 to sustain the connectedness between the U.S. and the wider world, is in jeopardy at a time when efforts at visa bans and tightened immigration restrictions threaten to choke off vital channels of dialogue that are protected under the First Amendment right to receive and impart information through in-person cultural exchange. We understand that Yassmin was traveling on a type of visa that she had used in the past for similar trips without issue. We call on Customs and Border Patrol to admit her to the U.S. so that she can take her rightful place in the urgent international conversation to take place at the Festival next week.”

Source: Buzzfeed
Image credit: PEN World Voices Festival