A UAE resident has reportedly claimed he was denied entry to Georgia because of his beard.
Jainulabedin Hakimji, a 36-year-old Indian based in Ajman, flew from Dubai to Tbilisi on October 14 with a colleague for a three-day holiday.
However, he was reportedly denied entry at border control, while his colleague was allowed in.
He claimed the refusal was due to his bearded appearance, said Gulf News, because his clean-shaven colleague was allowed in.
Hakimji reportedly told the newspaper: “When she saw me the lady at the counter immediately called another officer and directed me to go to the last counter without looking at my passport.
“They said they cannot let me in for security reasons. I asked on what grounds.”
The expat, who was been working in the UAE for eight years, claimed that he and his colleague work at the same company, share the same religion and have the same resident visa.
“They did not let me in because of my appearance,” he said. “I am a Muslim and I’m strictly following the religion, which is why I have a long beard.”
Hakimji added that he was treated “like a criminal” as he was waiting for the flight back – assigned an officer to supervise him and not permitted to go to the bathroom when he wanted.
However, the Georgian embassy that covers the Gulf and is based in Kuwait, has refuted Hakimji’s claims.
It said in a statement: “The decision to allow a person to enter or not is the decision only of the Ministry of Interior. But our rules are the same that all UAE residents may enter Georgia and stay there for 90 days without getting a visa [before travel].
“For the accusation that [border control] denied Mr Hakimji entry because he’s a Muslim and because of his appearance, this is completely wrong because Georgia has opened its borders to Muslim countries, Arab countries, for their citizens regardless of their religion.”
The newspaper said Georgian Border Police issued documents to Hakimji stating that travellers to Georgia can be barred entry for any of a list of reasons including: not having necessary travel documents, for forging documents or providing false information, non-payment of previous immigration fines, not having enough funds, health and accident insurance for his stay in Georgia, of if the person is thought to have the intention of illegally staying in Georgia after his visa expiry.
It claimed to have seen these papers and that none of those boxes were ticked in Hakimji’s case.
“I wasted AED2,000 worth of air tickets and hotel bookings in the process,” Hakimji was quoted as saying.
The exact reasons for Hakimji’s deportation remain unclear.For all the latest business news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
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