The American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Minnesota, and the ACLU Foundation of Southern California have filed a lawsuit on behalf of three Muslim Americans who allege they have been subject to “unconstitutional questioning” from border officials, regarding their religion, The Hill reports.
In an ACLU press release, the plaintiffs claim when they were returning from trips abroad, they were asked “inappropriate religious questions” including “whether they are Muslim, whether they attend a mosque, which mosque they attend, whether they are Sunni or Shi’a, and how often they pray.”
The lawsuit also claims U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Homeland Security Investigations violate the plaintiff’s First Amendment freedoms of religion and Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Senior staff attorney with the ACLU’s National Security Project Ashley Gorski calls the questions both “invasive” and that “it serves no legitimate law enforcement purpose.”
“By targeting plaintiffs for religious questioning merely because they are Muslim…border officers stigmatize them for adhering to a particular faith and condemn their religion as subject to suspicion and distrust,”
In regards to what this lawsuit would like to change, the ACLU is seeking an injunction that will stop the Department of Homeland Security from questioning the plaintiffs about their faith at ports of entry, and demands that recordings of the questioning be expunged. The ACLU is alsoclaiming answers to those questions are kept in a law enforcement database for up to 75 years.
One of the plantifts in the case, Imam Abdirahman Aden Kariye,
“I am proud to be a Muslim, but now whenever I travel back home to the United States, I’m anxious”
“I’m constantly worried about how I will be perceived, so much so that I try to avoid calling any attention to my faith. I normally wear a Muslim prayer cap, but I no longer wear it at the airport to avoid being questioned by border officials.”
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas is named in the lawsuit along with three other officials.