“Border searches spur legal action by Muslims” from the IndyStar with thanks to Nicolei:
American Muslim and civil liberties groups have filed a lawsuit in federal court claiming that Muslims who attend religious conferences outside the United States are subject to increased and unfair scrutiny upon their return to the country.
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, was brought by five American citizens who are Muslim.
In January, they were detained, interrogated, photographed and fingerprinted when returning to the United States from an annual conference, called “Reviving the Islamic Spirit,” in Toronto.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed the suit Wednesday on behalf of the five complainants.
The five plaintiffs, all of whom have valid U.S. passports, were among dozens who were stopped at the Buffalo border crossing.
They were questioned, some of them for as long as 61/2 hours, and had their cell phones confiscated when they tried to contact lawyers or the media, the complaint states.
The suit, which names Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff as well as customs and border officials, claims that the men and women “were subjected to this treatment solely because they had attended the conference.”
The complaint asks the court to issue a declaration that the border officials acted unlawfully, as well as an injunction against repeating the practices around other conferences.
After the January episode, CAIR set up a hot line in case similar incidents occurred when Muslims returned from hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca…