New lawsuit says FBI used no-fly list to get Muslims to become informants

By Aileen Graef  |  Updated April 23, 2014 at 1:23 PM
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NEW YORK, April 23 (UPI) -- A lawsuit filed Tuesday in New York accuses the FBI of using the no-fly list to coerce Muslim-Americans to become informants.

The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court in New York on behalf of 4 Muslims who are American citizens or legal permanent U.S. residents. The lawsuit not only asks for the removal of the plaintiffs' names from the no-fly list but also to change the procedures to get off the no-fly list.

One of the plaintiffs, Awais Sajjad, didn't even know he was on the no-fly list until he was blocked from boarding a flight to Pakistan in September 2012.

The plaintiffs were put on the no-fly list and the FBI then attempted to coerce them into spying on Muslim-American communities in New York, New Jersey, and Nebraska. One of the plaintiffs said he was put on the list as retribution for refusing to be an informant on the basis of religious reasons.

"This policy and set of practices by the FBI is part of a much broader set of policies that reflect over policing of Muslim-American communities," said Diala Shamas, the attorney for the plaintiffs.

NYPD announced this month the end of a controversial unit that would spy on Muslim-American communities in the city. It was one of the many controversial policies instated after 9/11 that many considered discriminatory towards Muslims.

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