Nope. Kylie Shirley, age 14, and other members of the First United Methodist Church of Okeechobee, Florida.
When news stories danced and twisted and turned in order to avoid identifying the perpetrators of terrorist acts as Muslims, I’ve joked about Methodists committing terrorism — maybe some UK official thought I was serious.
This incident is the direct fruit of anti-terror laws that were framed specifically in order to avoid giving the impression that they were drafted in order to fight against Islamic jihad terror. Such laws focus on minutiae and side issues, and 14-year-old Christians snapping tourist photos end up getting deported, while real Islamic jihad threats continue to operate freely in Britain, thumbing their noses at authorities.
One wonders how many jihadists from Pakistan eased through customs while British officials were detaining, questioning, and deporting the Methodists from Okeechobee.
Absurd Britannia Alert: “Teens from Okeechobee church deported from England after running afoul of anti-terror law,” by Carolyn Scofield for WPTV.com, July 3 (thanks to L.A.):
OKEECHOBEE “” Kylie Shirley took one picture in England.
The 14-year old and a friend posed in front of a window. Behind them is the British Airways flight that carried them to Gatwick Airport in London.
A few minutes later, guards confiscated her camera and cell phone.
Kylie and thirteen other members of the First United Methodist Church of Okeechobee were sent into a nearby room.
There immigration officials questioned, photographed and fingerprinted them before putting them on planes headed back to the United States.
“The guy from immigration came in and told us that we were going to be sent home and everybody started crying,” says the 8th grader, who says England is her favorite country outside of the United States.
The church group was on a mission trip. They planned to help remodel the Islington Central Methodist Church and sightsee after that.
“When they were questioned about entry, we all gave the same answer,” says Pastor Jim Dawson. “The answer was, we were here to do missionary work in a church.”
The word “work” caught the attention of immigration officials.
Under the United Kingdom’s tier system that’s designed to deter illegal workers and potential terrorists, anyone doing any kind of charity or religious work must have a visa and Certificate of Sponsorship along with a passport.
The church group only had passports.
Dawson says they arranged the trip last year, before the rules went into effect. They booked everything through a travel agency in Tennessee.
The agency says it’s the traveler’s responsibility to know the rules.
So there they were, trapped in a room at Gatwick Airport, only allowed one phone call to the American Embassy.
William Shirley, Kylie’s father, says within 20 minutes of going into the room, one immigration official told him they were already booked on a flight back to the U.S….
The group spent a year and a half raising money for the trip. Now they don’t know if they’ll ever get the $18,000 back….