Seattle Interfaith Leaders to Seek Probe of Imam’s Forced Removal from Delta Flight

March 31, 2014

 

On Tuesday, April 1, the Washington state chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-WA), along with a group of pastors, rabbis, imams, and labor leaders, will hold a news conference to ask Delta Air Lines and the U.S. Department of Transportation to investigate the apparently bias-motivated removal earlier this month of a Seattle-area imam (Muslim religious leader) from a flight by Delta employees.

The imam, who is a Delta Platinum Elite member, was forced to disembark his flight and take another flight. He was reportedly informed by the Delta employee who escorted him off the plane that this was being done because a crew member judged “the way you used the restroom” to be “doubtful.”

“The Department of Transportation must investigate this shocking incident to hold Delta Air Lines accountable for discriminating against a respected religious leader,” said CAIR-WA Executive Director Arsalan Bukhari. “Not all passengers who go to the bathroom get kicked off their flight, so Delta’s discriminatory act was due solely to the imam’s perceived racial, ethnic and religious affiliation.”

Bukhari noted that there have been a number of similar incidents nationwide in which Muslim leaders and community members have been forcibly removed from airplanes after boarding due to their language, religious attire or appearance.

Cair.com: http://cair.com/press-center/press-releases/12431-seattle-interfaith-leaders-to-seek-probe-of-imams-forced-removal-from-delta-flight.html

Judge rules in favor of Muslim woman on no-fly list

January 16, 2014

 

A Muslim woman now living in Malaysia struck a blow to the U.S. government’s “no-fly list” when a federal judge ruled Tuesday (Jan. 14) that the government violated her due process rights by putting her on the list without telling her why.

Muslims and civil rights advocates say the no-fly list disproportionately targets Muslims, and they hope the ruling will force the government to become more transparent about the highly secretive program.

The lawsuit, filed by San Jose-based McManis-Faulkner in 2006 on behalf of the mother of four children and PhD student at Stanford University, alleged that the government violated Dr. Ibrahim’s due process rights when it placed her on the “no-fly” list. U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup ruled that Ibrahim had standing to challenge the government’s actions, ordered the government to correct Ibrahim’s position on the “no-fly” list and to disclose to her what is her current status on the “no-fly” list.

The lawsuit is the oldest of three currently being litigated to challenge the government’s secretive “no-fly” list, which effectively bars individuals the government often mistakenly believes to pose a security threat from flying. The Obama administration vehemently opposed Ibrahim’s lawsuit, sought to keep the December trial secret and is currently requesting that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals keep the ruling sealed.

“Judge Alsup’s ruling affirms that basic notions of transparency and accountability apply to even the U.S. government’s ‘no-fly’ list. We welcome this ruling and look forward to further clarity as to how one can navigate the maze created by the ‘no-fly’ list and other similar listings,” said AAAJ–ALC staff attorney Nasrina Bargzie.

“Each year our offices hear from hundreds of individuals who are visited by the FBI and face related travel issues,” said Zahra Billoo, executive director of the California chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. “Many have lost hope about clearing their names, but this case will renew our collective desire to continue forward with the courts on our side.”

Under the guidelines, people who have been stopped from boarding flights may file an inquiry with the Department of Homeland Security, but responses do not include information about whether the person is on the no-fly list, according to the ACLU. The only way to find out whether a person has been removed from the no-fly list is to buy a ticket and try to board a flight.
RNS.com: http://www.religionnews.com/2014/01/16/judge-rules-favor-muslim-woman-fly-list/
CAIR.com: http://cair.com/press-center/press-releases/12322-civil-rights-groups-welcome-legal-victory-against-no-fly-list.html

Muslims challenging no-fly list win partial court victory

Federal court says Muslim Americans “have a constitutionally protected liberty interest” in being able to travel, lets no-fly list challenge advance.

Thirteen Muslim Americans challenging the U.S. government’s secretive “no-fly” list won a partial victory in federal court when a judge found they “have a constitutionally protected liberty interest” in traveling internationally by air.

But U.S. District Judge Anna Brown has yet to decide whether the government violated their constitutional rights to due process under a policy that excludes individuals from commercial air travel if they are suspected of having ties to terrorism.

In her ruling late on Wednesday in Portland, the judge also asked both the plaintiffs and the Department of Justice for more information before deciding key parts of the case.

The 13 plaintiffs, all U.S. citizens who deny any links to terrorism, say they were placed on the government’s no-fly list without notice or any realistic avenue of appeal.

The Justice Department has also argued that barring one’s access to air travel is not an undue burden or a violation of a constitutionally protected right.

Brown disagreed, disputing the government’s “contention that international air travel is a mere convenience, in light of the realities of our modern world.”

But the judge said she was not ready to decide on a proper remedy in the case, suggesting the answer hinged on whether the plaintiffs had an adequate avenue of appeal.

“The court is not yet able to resolve on the current record whether the judicial-review process is a sufficient, post-deprivation process under the … Constitution,” she wrote.

“For the first time, a federal court has recognized that when the government bans Americans from flying and smears them as suspected terrorists, it deprives them of constitutionally protected liberties, and they must have a fair process to clear their names,” ACLU attorney Nusrat Choudhury said in a statement.

Counterterrorism efforts have crippled al-Qaida, world overreacts to Abdulmutallab plot

Extensive training and resources such as US bank accounts, access to flight schools, and low flight security levels all gave al-Qaida an edge before 9/11 and fostered the 9/11 attacks. But counterterrorism efforts and scrutiny of finance and air travel systems have seen to it that much of what was once available to al-Qaida now is not.

While a terrorist attack was attempted on Christmas Day, its scale and sophistication pale in comparison to 9/11. This article argues that al-Qaida has been weakened as a result of security efforts, and the public as well as the government has overreacted.