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Family sues after being escorted from Empire State Building for praying

“An unwritten rule or policy was being enforced by security when they removed these people,” lawyer says.
By Evan Bleier   |   March 20, 2014 at 7:43 AM   |   Comments

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March 20 (UPI) -- A Muslim family filed a lawsuit in a Manhattan District Court on Tuesday alleging that they were "forcibly" escorted from the observation deck of the Empire State Building for praying.

According to the suit, the Tirmizis were taken from the popular tourist spot when they started praying on July 2 around 11 p.m. The husband, Fahad, was allegedly "menacingly poked" by a guard “several times in various parts of his body."

The guard then reportedly told Fahad his family was not allowed to pray in the observatory and took them down to the ground floor exit of the building.

“An unwritten rule or policy was being enforced by security when they removed these people,” the family’s lawyer, Phillip Hines, told CNN. "They weren't bothering anybody, they were out of the way, and for them to be thrown out of the building is just an ignorant and shameful exercise in discriminatory conduct.”

Empire State Realty Trust -- the ESB's management company -- as well as the security firm and two security guards are named as defendants.

"The claims are totally without merit and we will respond to them in court,” said Empire State Realty Trust spokeswoman Brandy Bergman.

The suit is seeking unspecified monetary damages.

"We weren't doing anything wrong, we just wanted to enjoy the view like everyone else," the family said in a statement.


[CNN]

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