The Muslim mayor of a small town in New Jersey is accusing federal officials of mistreatment after he was turned away from a White House event Monday without an explanation of what he did wrong.

Mohamed Khairullah, who has led Prospect Park, New Jersey, for the past 17 years, told CNN that “racial profiling” likely played a role in the Secret Service’s decision to deny him access to an Eid celebration hosted by President Joe Biden that he had been invited to.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that at this point, my crime is my race, my religion and my name,” he said.

In a Monday statement, the Secret Service confirmed that Khairullah was turned away from the event but declined to offer additional details.

“Unfortunately, we cannot provide additional commentary on the specifics surrounding the protective means and methods used at the White House,” the statement said.

Who is Mohamed Khairullah?

Khairullah, who is currently in his fifth term as mayor of Prospect Park, was born in Syria but fled the country with his family as a child, according to The Washington Post. They briefly lived in Saudi Arabia before settling in the United States in the early 1990s.

“In 2000, Khairullah became a U.S. citizen. The following year, he ran for office for the first time and was elected to the borough council for Prospect Park, which is a little more than 20 miles northwest of Manhattan,” The Washington Post reported.

Khairullah previously spoke out against law enforcement officials in 2019 after being detained by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the airport. He said they questioned him for hours about his family’s travels and held onto his personal cellphone for more than a week.

“While Khairullah didn’t know for certain why he had been detained, he suspected that his past travels could have been a factor,” The Washington Post reported after the 2019 incident.

The mayor referenced his past detainment at the airport during his Tuesday interview with CNN, noting that he’s concluded he must be on a terrorism watch list.

He’s hoping for the opportunity to visit the White House to discuss “the targeting of Muslims, South Asians, middle easterners and anybody,” CNN reported.

What is Eid?

Before being turned away, Khairullah had been set to attend the White House celebration commemorating one of the most prominent Islamic holidays on the calendar: Eid al-Fitr.

Eid al-Fitr, which is also referred to simply as Eid, marks the end of Ramadan, the month when many Muslims fast from sunrise until sunset.

Eid al-Fitr translates to “the feast of breaking the fast,” according to a guide to the holiday from the University of Southern California. The guide notes that Muslims typically celebrate Eid at special worship services and family gatherings.

“People greet each other with ‘Eid Mubarak,’ meaning ‘Blessed Eid’ and with formal embraces. Sweet dishes are prepared at home and gifts are given to children and to those in need,” USC reports.

The White House typically treats Eid as an opportunity for the president and other high-ranking officials to connect with Muslim leaders.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre tried to keep the focus on that goal when she was asked about Khairullah’s plight on Tuesday, according to CNN.

“The president was very proud to welcome nearly 400 Muslim Americans to the White House to celebrate Eid yesterday,” she said. “It was a meaningful event, an opportunity to celebrate along Muslim leaders from across the country who were here.”

The White House’s guests included Khizr Khan, whose son was killed in Iraq in 2004 while serving as a captain in the Army, and Imam Makhdoom Zia, founder of an Islamic center in Washington, D.C., NBC News reported.