Louisville pastor back home after he says he was stuck in India in retaliation for U.S. travel ban
Dr. Harris said he had to pay an airport worker a "considerable amount" to get him and his team back to the United States.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Walking through the Louisville airport, Dr. William L. Harris with Praise Covenant Church says being home and on American soil has never felt to good.
“I would say America has to be the greatest place to live in the world,” Harris said.
Those feelings come after the Louisville pastor was wrapping up a mission trip and doing humanitarian work in the Philippines, Hong Kong and India. But it was in Hyderabad, India, where he almost didn’t make it out of the country.
“Those of us that had United States passports were told that our flights had been canceled,” he said. “In some cases they told us it would be two weeks and even then they couldn't tell us when and where.”
Having been to India in the past without incident, Harris believes he was facing retaliation as a result of President Trump's travel ban. While India is not one of the predominately Muslim counties on the ban, it does have a large Muslim population.
“The retaliation was very strong. The reason why we say that is it was only directed at Americans. Everyone else got on their flights. Everybody else flew out. Only Americans stood with us for four to five hours,” Harris said.
Eventually, Harris was able to get on a flight to Chicago.
“The only way we got out, because many American's didn't get out ... myself and my team … one of the workers there told me if you can pay me I can get you out,” Harris said.
Harris did not tell WDRB how much he paid, but said it was a considerable amount to get on a flight.
“When we got there they said you're not going to get water, we're not going to feed you, but you can get the back seats,” he said. “It does open up your perspective about the dangers we're in and about how much people hate us by just being Americans and by being a missionary and a pastor I never thought I would feel that because of the work that we do there.”
Harris said he still hasn’t made a decision on his thoughts with the travel ban, but added whether Democrat or Republican he's just proud to be an American.
“So when we got home it was like God bless the United States of America because this is really our home.” he said.
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