Three American Muslims sue for questioning about their religious beliefs

Three Muslim Americans are suing US Border Police, claiming they interrogated them about their religious beliefs, in violation of their constitutional rights upon return from an international trip abroad.  Three Muslim Americans have filed a lawsuit alleging that US Border Patrol agents interrogated them about their religious beliefs, in violation of their constitutional rights, upon their return from an international trip abroad.  The three men, from Minnesota, Texas and Arizona, sued Department of Homeland Security officials Thursday in federal court in Los Angeles, filing the suit in California because some of the interrogations took place at Los Angeles International Airport.  In the lawsuit, the men said border officials at land crossings and international airports bombarded them with questions about whether they were Muslims, going to mosques, and how often they prayed. The American Civil Liberties Union, which represents the men, said the interrogation violated men's constitutional rights, such as freedom of religion and protection from unequal treatment.  "Just as US border officers may not target Christians by asking them what their denomination is, what church they attend, and how regularly they pray, it is unconstitutional for American Muslims to choose similar questions," the lawsuit said.  The suit asked the judge to declare religious interrogation unconstitutional and to order US government agencies to strike records containing information obtained through questioning the men.  I sent an email requesting feedback to the Department of Homeland Security on the case, but did not receive a response.  Among the plaintiffs was Abd al-Rahman Adan Carey, the imam of a mosque in Bloomington, Minnesota. The lawsuit said he was questioned about his faith at least five times when he was returning to the country between 2017 and 2022.  Repeated interrogation made Carrey nervous and prompted him to stop wearing the Islamic headscarf known as the "keffiyeh" and to stop carrying religious texts when he traveled internationally, to avoid further scrutiny.  Hameem Shah, a resident of Plano, Texas, said he was returning from vacation in Serbia and Bosnia in 2019 and was picked up from class at Los Angeles Airport for additional screening.  There, officers separated him from the rest of the passengers and began reading his personal diaries despite his protests, asking him if he had traveled to the Middle East, saying they wanted to make sure he was a “safe person,” according to the lawsuit.  They asked him about his religious beliefs, practices, and rituals, and searched his phone despite his objections, and released him two hours later.  “I thought that being American meant that I and others were free to practice whatever religion we chose,” Shah said in a statement, adding that the airport experience still haunted him.

Three Muslim Americans are suing US Border Police, claiming they interrogated them about their religious beliefs, in violation of their constitutional rights upon return from an international trip abroad.

Three Muslim Americans have filed a lawsuit alleging that US Border Patrol agents interrogated them about their religious beliefs, in violation of their constitutional rights, upon their return from an international trip abroad.

The three men, from Minnesota, Texas and Arizona, sued Department of Homeland Security officials Thursday in federal court in Los Angeles, filing the suit in California because some of the interrogations took place at Los Angeles International Airport.

In the lawsuit, the men said border officials at land crossings and international airports bombarded them with questions about whether they were Muslims, going to mosques, and how often they prayed. The American Civil Liberties Union, which represents the men, said the interrogation violated men's constitutional rights, such as freedom of religion and protection from unequal treatment.

"Just as US border officers may not target Christians by asking them what their denomination is, what church they attend, and how regularly they pray, it is unconstitutional for American Muslims to choose similar questions," the lawsuit said.

The suit asked the judge to declare religious interrogation unconstitutional and to order US government agencies to strike records containing information obtained through questioning the men.

I sent an email requesting feedback to the Department of Homeland Security on the case, but did not receive a response.

Among the plaintiffs was Abd al-Rahman Adan Carey, the imam of a mosque in Bloomington, Minnesota. The lawsuit said he was questioned about his faith at least five times when he was returning to the country between 2017 and 2022.

Repeated interrogation made Carrey nervous and prompted him to stop wearing the Islamic headscarf known as the "keffiyeh" and to stop carrying religious texts when he traveled internationally, to avoid further scrutiny.

Hameem Shah, a resident of Plano, Texas, said he was returning from vacation in Serbia and Bosnia in 2019 and was picked up from class at Los Angeles Airport for additional screening.

There, officers separated him from the rest of the passengers and began reading his personal diaries despite his protests, asking him if he had traveled to the Middle East, saying they wanted to make sure he was a “safe person,” according to the lawsuit.

They asked him about his religious beliefs, practices, and rituals, and searched his phone despite his objections, and released him two hours later.

“I thought that being American meant that I and others were free to practice whatever religion we chose,” Shah said in a statement, adding that the airport experience still haunted him.
Previous Post Next Post