(NEW YORK, N.Y., 10/29/13) — The New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY) today welcomed a lawsuit filed on Friday against the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) after a then 10-year-old Muslim boy was called a “terrorist” by a bus driver and kicked off the vehicle last year.
CAIR-NY is calling for diversity training for all MTA employees to help ensure such incidents do not occur in the future.
The case originated from CAIR-NY and is currently being handled by Hyder A. Naqvi, Esq, partner at Ahmad Naqvi Rodriguez, LLP.
The Muslim boy, who was two days short of his 11th birthday, was boarding an MTA last October in Brooklyn on his way from school. Having misplaced his MetroCard, he recited the common prayer “Bismillah ir-Rahman ir-Rahim” (“In the name of God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful”) while searching for it.
When he heard the boy's prayer, the bus driver shouted the word “terrorist” and kicked the boy off the bus. The boy's family reported the incident to CAIR-NY, and was referred to Ahmad Naqvi Rodriguez, LLP.
“He was only 10 years old when this happened, but he was old enough to know what discrimination is, and unfortunately, now he knows what it feels like,” said Hyder Naqvi, the attorney handling the case.
The boy and his family cooperated with the MTA in their investigation of the incident but were never provided any information about the results of that investigation. The lawsuit was filed October 25 in federal court (Eastern District of New York).
In a statement, CAIR-NY Director of Operations Sadyia Khalique said:
“It's very disappointing to see how young children have become the targets of discrimination because of their religion. CAIR-NY applauds the filing of the lawsuit and we hope the MTA can take disciplinary action against the employee. We urge the MTA to provide diversity trainings to its employees to reflect cultural and religious competency in their attitudes, policies and services to ensure that no New Yorker becomes a victim of hate speech by MTA officials.”
CAIR-NY is a chapter of America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
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CONTACT: Hyder A. Naqvi, Esq 212-419 -0555, email@example.com; CAIR-NY Director of Operations Sadyia Khalique, 212-870-2002, firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, email@example.com