Orange County Muslim Americans Ask the Supreme Court to Allow Lawsuit Against The FBI

An FBI spy attended meetings and prayers at the Islamic Center of Irvine to identify potential terrorists, according to ABC News. “I can still confidently walk into a mosque and still confidently pray,” Muslim Student Association co-vice president and senior Abdallah Fares said. “Knowing that in the end we can protect ourselves, whether it’s through the legal system, whether simply just through our own confidence or our own pride in our religion.”
(Sidra Asif)

Muslim Americans Yassir Fazaga, Ali Uddin Malik and Yasser Abdelrahim asked the Supreme Court on Nov. 8 to allow for a religious discrimination lawsuit against the FBI after members of the Islamic Center of Irvine (ICOI) were subjected to FBI surveillance, according to ABC News.

The reasons as to why an undercover government informant was surveilling the ICOI remain unclear as the FBI claims that the information could threaten national security, according to the Los Angeles Times. The Muslim Americans affected claim that the spying was a result of religious bias, according to Muslim Student Association co-vice president and sophomore Sarah Alkatib.

“I think the media has this misinterpretation of the radical Islam that’s presented in other countries,” Alkatib said. “If people actually studied the faith, they would see that people who actually follow the faith are very kind people, and they do really great things, and they have really great morals.”

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 allows judges to privately determine whether or not FBI surveillance is justified. The evidence provided by the FBI may be examined before the lawsuit can proceed, according to the Los Angeles Times.

“We are hoping to shed light on the agency that continues to treat Muslims as second-class citizens unlawfully targeting Americans on the basis of their religion,” executive director of the Los Angeles chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations Hussam Ayhoush said in an interview with ABC News.

The Irvine Muslim community continues to be affected by the news of government surveillance and the potential violation of religious freedom, according to American Civil Liberties Union.

“I have been to each and every single one of these mosques,” Muslim Student Association co-vice president and senior Abdallah Fares said. “I’ve attended events here. I’ve attended prayers. Who knows what records they have of me there, what kind of espionage had been done against my family members or against friends of mine.”

​​The Supreme Court is expected to reveal whether or not the lawsuit can continue in June 2022, according to ABC News.