CAIR lawsuit claims U.S. citizens detained, asked about religion

Four Americans citizens are suing U.S. Customs, Border Protection and the FBI. They claim their First Amendment right were violated when they were detained. The government wants the lawsuit dismissed.

One of the plaintiffs in this lawsuit says he actually lost a business because getting across the border became such a time consuming hassle. Now the Council on American Islamic Relations is trying to change that with this lawsuit.

“There is an actual policy that’s in place that instructs these border authorities and FBI agents at the borders to ask a certain set of questions,” says CAIR attorney Lena Masri.

Questions that Masri says cross the line.

“Which mosque do you pray at? Do you pray your morning prayer at the mosque? Who is your religious leader? Are you Sunni or are you Shia?” Masri says. “They’re invasive, and they’re unconstitutional.”

That’s exactly what the Council on American Islamic Relations or CAIR is arguing in a federal lawsuit. The plaintiffs claim they were detained and grilled over their religious beliefs for hours on multiple occasions and released every time. It’s happened at the Ambassador Bridge, the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel and Detroit Metro Airport.

“The entirety of their questioning consisted only of questions about their religious beliefs. They weren’t asked about any other, for example, national security-related issue,” Masri says.

Now the Department of Justice is asking the lawsuit be dismissed, claiming CAIR doesn’t have the right to sue, but CAIR is asking the judge to allow their lawsuit to go forward.

“This case really is an issue that has never been raised,” Masri says.

The feds don’t comment on pending litigation, but the judge is expected to rule on whether this lawsuit should be dismissed within the next few days.

Fox 2 News, 30 May 2013