Press Releases

CAIR Calls on DHS to Investigate Improper TSA Touching of American Muslim Woman at BWI Airport

(WASHINGTON, DC, 11/6/18) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today called on the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Baltimore-Washington International Airport (BWI) to investigate and take corrective action after Sanam Malik, an American Muslim woman, was subjected to an extensive and violating search by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) at BWI.

After going through a body scanner, Malik was pulled aside by TSA personnel for what she thought was simply a pat down. Instead, the TSA agent repeatedly pressed a hand scanner against Malik’s buttocks while laughing and mocking her. Throughout this search, the TSA agent repeatedly body-shamed Malik. At one point, the TSA agent, while pressing against Malik’s buttocks, told Malik that “that’s not your butt.” Malik was humiliated.  The TSA agent continued by mocking Malik and publicly informing the other TSA agents, “[She said she’s] wearing Spanx but that don’t feel like Spanx!” 

The TSA agent then proceeded with an invasive full body pat down. The TSA agent started by rapidly sliding her hands up Malik’s right leg and up into her private areas.  Malik froze and instinctively closed her legs.  She was petrified and immediately felt violated.  While Malik was visibly shaken, the TSA agent proceeded to violate her again. Immediately after the incident, Malik ran to the nearest restroom crying. She felt violated, humiliated, and dehumanized by this experience. 

Read Request for Investigation and Corrective Action Regarding September 21, 2018 TSA Incident:

“TSA personnel not only violated Ms. Malik and subjected her to a humiliating search, but repeatedly mocked her discomfort and purposely humiliated her,” said CAIR National Litigation Director Lena Masri. “No individual should feel violated during routine security checks. DHS and TSA must conduct a transparent investigation and take corrective action to ensure that no traveler is made to feel harassed or violated in the future.” 

CAIR has reported an unprecedented spike in bigotry targeting American Muslims and members of other minority groups since the election of Donald Trump as president.

The Washington-based organization’s recently-released 2018 Civil Rights Report, “Targeted,” showed a 17 percent increase in bias-motivated incidents against American Muslims from 2016 to 2017, and a 15 percent increase in the number of anti-Muslim hate crimes in that same time period.

Community members are being urged to report any bias incidents to police and to CAIR’s Civil Rights Department at 202-742-6420 or by going to:

CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.

La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.


CONTACT: CAIR National Litigation Director Lena Masri, 248-390-9784,; CAIR Senior Litigation Attorney Gadeir Abbas, 720-251-0425,; CAIR Trial Attorney Ahmed Mohamed, 202-742-6440,; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726,



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