Muslim couple sue Empire State Building owners for discrimination

March 20, 2014 at 12:48 PM
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NEW YORK, March 20 (UPI) -- A Muslim couple filed a $5 million lawsuit against the owners of the New York's famed Empire State Building, claiming they were forced to leave as they prayed.

Fahad Tirmizi, 32, and his wife Amina, 30, of Long Island, said security guards interrupted their prayers July 2, 2013, and forced them to leave the building, the New York Daily News reported Wednesday.

The Tirmizis and their two children were enjoying the majestic view on the building's observation deck until it was time for them to pray, the lawsuit filed by the Farmingville couple said. The family found an "isolated" area "and began to pray silently."

While the wife was allowed to pray, a guard "menacingly poked" Tirmizi, the suit alleged. Two guards "forcibly escorted" the family out.

The New York Post reported the suit seeks $5 million and was filed against Malkin Properties, security company Andrews International Inc. and others.

"We weren't doing anything wrong," Fahad Tirmizi said. "We just wanted to enjoy the view like everyone else."

Fahad told the Post that he has prayed in public before, including earlier that day, and tries to be respectful.

"Earlier that same day at the Staten Island Ferry terminal, I needed to pray the afternoon prayer and wanted to make sure I'm not in the way," he said.

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