EGYPT-PROTESTS

Egyptians stand outside El Sayeda Nafisa Mosque in Cairo. Sixty-one Canadian Shia Muslim pilgrims who were detained by Egyptian authorities while en route to religious sites within the country have returned home to Canada. (Amr Abdallah Dalsh/Reuters)

A group of Canadian pilgrims has returned home after being denied entry to Egypt.

The group of 61 Shiite Muslims arrived in Toronto Monday after being detained at the airport in Cairo. The group had been in transit after taking part in a pilgrimage to religious sites in Iraq.

The Department of Foreign Affairs issued a statement today confirming the pilgrims had made it home.

There was no explanation, however, about what prompted Egyptian authorities to refuse them entry.

"It is the sole prerogative of each country to determine who is allowed to enter," wrote Mathieu Roy, a spokesman for Foreign Affairs.

"The Canadian citizens transiting through Egypt after a pilgrimage have returned to Canada. To protect the privacy of the individuals concerned, further details on this case cannot be released."

Travel warning for Egypt

Canadian passport holders require a visa to enter Egypt, but can normally purchase one upon arrival at the airport. In this case, visas were refused by Egyptian security.

Foreign Affairs has warned Canadians against non-essential travel to Egypt due to what it calls an "unpredictable security situation."

Two Canadians, Dr. Tarek Loubani and filmmaker John Greyson, were freed in October after being held in custody in Egypt for nearly two months. They were arrested during an anti-government demonstration in Cairo.

Canadian journalist Mohamed Fahmy, the bureau chief for Al Jazeera's English-language television service in Egypt, is still in custody after he and three of his colleagues were accused of being part of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood movement in late December.