Palestinian student previously denied entry to the US arrives at Harvard
A Palestinian student previously detained and refused entry to the US arrived at Harvard University on Monday just one day before classes were due to begin.
Ismail B. Ajjawi, a 17-year-old Palestinian hailing from Tyre, Lebanon, was detained at Boston Logan International Airport last month when he attempted to enter the US, where he had been accepted to study at the world-reknowned university.
Eight hours of interrogation, including questions about the young student's religious practices and his social media activity, followed, after which he was deported back to Lebanon, allegedly over the "anti-US" viewpoints of his Facebook friends.
After efforts by Harvard and AMIDEAST, a scholarship organisation sponsoring the Palestinian student's education, Ajjawi arrived at Harvard on Monday, the Harvard Crimson reported.
Classes at the university began on Tuesday morning.
"The last ten days have been difficult and anxiety filled, but we are most grateful for the thousands of messages of support and particularly the work of AMIDEAST," Ajjawi's family said in a statement conveyed by their lawyer. "We hope now that everyone can respect our and Ismail's privacy and he can now simply focus on settling into College and his important class work."
Ajjawi's deportation last month had sparked mass outcry among student groups on campus and attracted international media coverage.
A petition supporting him garnered more than 7,000 signatures by Monday evening.
A Harvard spokesman said last week that the university was working with immigration officials to ensure Ajjawi's arrival in the US before the start of classes on Tuesday.
"We truly appreciate the efforts of so many individuals and officials in Lebanon, Washington, Massachusetts and at Harvard that have made it possible for our son Ismail Ajjawi to begin his studies at Harvard with his class," his family said on Monday.