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District judge sides with detained imams

Nov. 21, 2007 at 2:55 PM

MINNEAPOLIS, Nov. 21 (UPI) -- A U.S. District judge has refused to dismiss a lawsuit from a group of Muslim imams who were arrested last year for praying before boarding a jetliner.

U.S. District Judge Ann Montgomery rejected dismissal arguments brought by the defendants' lawyers this week, saying the objective facts from the incident must be analyzed to determine if airport security had probable cause for the arrest, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported Wednesday.

The six religious leaders were arrested in Minneapolis last November while boarding a US Airways flight after another passenger grew suspicious of their pre-flight activities.

The incident led to a lawsuit against the airline and the Minneapolis-Saint Paul Metropolitan Airports Commission.

One of the imams' attorneys, Frederick Goetz, said that Montgomery's ruling on Tuesday will allow his clients to air their grievances in court after all.

"They'll have their day in court on certainly the most significant issues," he told the Star Tribune. "You don't arrest people because of their faith. You don't arrest people because of their national origin. That's just fundamentally wrong."

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