The Council on American-Islamic Relations, founded in Washington, D.C., by the Palestinian terrorist organization Hamas, said Friday it defeated a motion filed by the federal government to dismiss the organization’s lawsuit on behalf of 25 American Muslims challenging their placement on a terror watch list.
The Muslims, mostly from Michigan, claim they were put on the Terror Screening Database of “known or suspected terrorists” without due process.
Among CAIR’s complaints in the lawsuit are “invasive additional screening and prolonged detentions,” “the inability to conduct wire transfers,” “being treated as armed and dangerous by local law enforcement during routine traffic stops” and “the inability to obtain employment positions at airports.”
The database, maintained by the Department of Justice and the FBI, identifies information “about those known or reasonably suspected of being involved in terrorist activity,” according to the FBI’s website.
During the 2016 presidential election, both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton recommended expanding terrorist watch lists after the Orlando nightclub massacre.
In the case brought by CAIR, U.S. District Judge Anthony J. Trenga in Alexandria, Virginia, stated: “The government’s ‘trust us’ approach is inconsistent with the fundamental procedural protections applicable to the deprivation of a protected liberty interest, including the right to be heard.”
CAIR National Litigation Director Lena Masri charged the federal watch list “has imposed an injustice of historic proportions on American Muslims.”
“Our lawsuit challenges the government’s ability to broadly designate innocent American Muslims who have never been charged with a crime or known as suspected terrorists based on the false notion that the government can accurately predict future terrorist acts using nothing more than mere guesses, hunches and conjecture,” Masri said.
CAIR points out that children as young as 4 have been placed on the list.
Federal officials have acknowledged that mistakes due to name similarities occur but argue they can be quickly fixed. People who have been correctly identified but believe they’ve been wrongfully put on the list can file for an internal review, though the person won’t necessarily be informed of the outcome, because the government’s policy is to “neither confirm nor deny an individual’s watch list status.”
CAIR Senior Litigation Attorney Gadeir Abbas said he wants to obtain government documents and depose the managers of the watch list.
He believes “the illegal nature of the federal government’s actions will become much clearer than it is now.”
CAIR, however, has its own problems with terrorism, beginning with its founding by members of the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas.
More than a dozen CAIR leaders have been charged or convicted of terrorism-related crimes.
The organization was named by the Department of Justice as an unindicted co-conspirator in a plot to fund Hamas that was tried 10 years ago in Texas. It also was designated by the Gulf Arab state United Arab Emirates as a terrorist organization. CAIR has sued a co-author of a WND Books exposé, “Muslim Mafia: Inside the Secret Underworld That’s Conspiring to Islamize America,” which documented the group’s ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.
Nevertheless, under the Obama administration, the Department of Homeland Security invited CAIR to help develop its counter-terrorism policy.
But even under the Trump administration, leaders of CAIR’s Florida branch participated in DHS town hall discussions in Miami and Tampa, reported the Investigative Project for Terrorism.
A discussion with CAIR at Miami-Dade College featured holdovers from the Obama administration, Veronica Venture, the outgoing DHS acting officer for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties; and Kareem Shora, section chief of the DHS Community Engagement Section, IPT said.
CAIR has accused Trump of racism and religious bigotry for his executive order to temporarily stop receiving immigrants and travelers from countries known to produce Islamic jihadists. This week, CAIR criticized the administration for setting a six-month deadline to end President Obama’s executive order granting de facto amnesty to illegal immigrants who came to the country as children, urging Congress to come up with a solution.
While CAIR has complained of the unindicted co-conspirator designation, as WND reported in 2010, a federal judge later determined that the Justice Department provided “ample evidence” to make the designation, affirming the Muslim group has been involved in “a conspiracy to support Hamas.”