DETROIT (WJBK) - The leader of a mosque in Dearborn has confirmed to FOX 2 that a man who claimed his mother died in Iraq after being barred from returning to the United States under a ban instituted by President Trump this weekend, lied to FOX 2 about when her death occurred.
Imam Husham Al-Hussainy, leader of the Karbalaa Islamic Educational Center in Dearborn, says Mike Hager's mom did not pass away this weekend after the travel ban was put in place. The Imam confirms that Hager's mother died before the executive order was signed.
On Tuesday, Mike Hager told FOX 2 that he and his family were stopped while trying to return from Iraq to Michigan. He said that he was allowed through because of his American citizenship but his ailing mother and other family members were not. He then claimed that his mom passed away in Iraq on Saturday, as he was traveling to the United States.
Travelers from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen and Somalia are banned from traveling to the United States for 90 days so the country can detect "individuals with terrorist ties and stopping them from entering the United States."
After the story aired on FOX 2 and was posted on FOX2Detroit.com, we received many questions about the validity of Hager's claims. FOX 2 has confirmed that his mother died five days earlier - on January 22, 2017.
According to Al-Hussainy, Hager's mother had kidney disease and was receiving treatment in Michigan - where she lived - before traveling to Iraq to visit family. The Imam said she passed away on the Monday, January 22, five days before President Trump instituted the travel ban.
"That's true. The 22nd of January, his mom died," Al-Hussainy said. "She did die but that was a couple weeks ago - before the ban."
Al-Hussainy says Hager contacted him on January 19th to tell him his mother was very sick with kidney disease and he was going to Iraq to be with her. She died there and another mosque in the Detroit area here even held a prayer service in her honor.
The Imam, who voted for Trump, did not want to address the general unrest over the travel ban or the weekend chaos for travelers and protesters at the airports. Instead, he called for peace and patience.
"There is confusion. There is a mix that they have to distinguish between good refugees and bad refugees and if this is what it takes to stop them for a while, to screen them, that's fine for the security of the country," he said.
Mike Hager is no stranger to FOX 2 and our viewers. In December, he donated several thousand dollars to send a cheerleading team to their tournament after a tragic death of one of their teammates.
It was a cheer coach who contacted FOX 2 about his mom's death. FOX 2 was able to obtain a Facebook post from his account last month that memorializes his mother on January 22. The post has since been deleted.
It's unknown why he would lie about when it occurred. When we tried talking to him at his home and business, he was nowhere to be found.
Earlier when confronted via text about his lie, Mike wrote "Since I lost my mom I've been on heavy medication - I can't even sleep. I did not make anything up."