Discover America, says the tourist campaign. Unless the computer says no


“Massoud Shadjareh’s last trip to the US was uneventful. Having studied at Berkeley University in California, he was able to take his children down memory lane. He enjoyed the sights, met with relatives. But the next trip might not go as smoothly. Shadjareh, chair of the Islamic Human Rights Commission and the driving force behind a controversial demonstration outside the US embassy in Mayfair this Friday, says he has had his visa to visit the US – valid until 2014 – revoked. “There has been no explanation,” he says. “I have never given any talks or anything like that in the states. It’s all very strange.” The embassy can’t or won’t shed light on an individual case. But he does have political enemies, and we know that the US antenna is famously sensitive. In February a British couple were banned from entering the US after tweeting that they were off to “destroy America”. It means partying to excess, they explained. To no avail.”

First published in The Guardian, by Hugh Muir on 14th August 2012