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Khizr Khan Pulled Out Of A Talk In Canada And Nobody Can Figure Out What Happened

Organizers said a planned speech in Toronto was canceled due to uncertainty over Khan's "travel privileges."

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Khizr Khan canceled a talk in Canada this week because his "travel privileges are being reviewed," according to organizers, leaving a lot of people really confused.

J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Khan, the Gold Star parent who famously clashed with Donald Trump during the 2016 US presidential election, pulled out of the event with 24 hours' notice.

He was set to deliver a speech about tolerance and the rule of law at a luncheon on Tuesday, to be held at the ritzy Carlu hotel in Toronto. According to Ramsay Talks, which had invited him, Khan was notified of the travel review late Sunday.

"I have not been given any reason as to why," Khan said in a statement to Ramsay Talks, which was shared on the organization's Facebook page.

"This turn of events is not just of deep concern to me, but to all my fellow Americans who cherish our freedom to travel abroad," Khan added.

Numerous news outlets reported on the cancellation, but the lack of details from Khan created confusion about what exactly had taken place.

His announcement came on the same day the Trump administration signed a new executive order limiting immigration from several Muslim-majority countries. However, Khan has been a US citizen for more than three decades and was born in Pakistan, which is not one of the countries listed in the executive order.

The State Department says there are no restrictions on US citizens entering or departing the country as long as they have a valid passport.

Alex Brandon / AP

"It is the decision of each individual country to determine whether to admit any US citizen," a State Department official told BuzzFeed News. "US citizens traveling should consult the requirements for their destination country prior to travel."

Canadian authorities, however, said they were unaware of any problems with US visitors getting into Canada.

"In response to your questions about Mr. Khizr Khan, please note that we are unaware of any restrictions," a spokesperson for the country's immigration department told BuzzFeed News. "American citizens are not required to apply for either an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) or a temporary resident visa (visitor visa) to enter Canada."

US Customs and Border Protection also responded, saying it "does not contact travelers in advance of their travel out of the United States."

It's still unclear what kind of review Khan was referring to. His brief statement to RamsayTalks is his only public statement on the matter.

Facebook: RamsayTalks

BuzzFeed News repeatedly asked Khan if he can provide any extra details about the travel review, how he had been notified, and which government agency had contacted him. However, Khan said in an email that he had no further comment.

Bob Ramsay, the founder of Ramsay Talks, told the Washington Post on Tuesday that he only knew what Khan had told him.

“I don’t know exactly who conducted the review, but in speaking with Mr. Khan, it was certainly US authorities,” Ramsay told the Post. “That’s all I know.”

Ramsay declined to speak with BuzzFeed News.

Khan first came to public attention at the Democratic National Convention in 2016 where he denounced Trump's proposal to ban Muslim immigrants and talked about his son Humayun, who died in Iraq in 2004 while serving in the army.

Ishmael Daro is a social news editor for BuzzFeed and is based in Toronto.

Contact Ishmael N. Daro at ishmael.daro@buzzfeed.com.

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