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CAIR Sues Feds for Barring Utah Imam from Returning to U.S. After Being Placed on ‘No-Fly List’

screenshot 2017 06 16 14 02 06(WASHINGTON, D.C., 6/16/17) — The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today announced that it filed an emergency lawsuit on behalf of a Utah imam (Muslim religious leader) who was prevented from boarding a flight back to his home in the United States from Kenya. 

CAIR’s lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the District of Utah. Among the defendants are the FBI, the Terrorism Screening Center (TSC) and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

[NOTE: The imam will try to board a flight home tonight. CAIR’s lawsuit seeks to have the imam allowed to board his flight.]

Imam Yussuf Awadir Abdi, an American citizen and imam of Madina Masjid in Salt Lake City, Utah, traveled to Kenya to bring his wife and children to the United States. All members of his family are either United States citizens or have permission to enter and reside in this country.  Imam Abdi was added to the no-fly list after he left the country and was therefore prevented from boarding his flight home.

SEE: Muslim Utahn ”” and U.S. citizen ”” Prevented From Boarding Plane by Kenyan Officials

As a result of being denied boarding, Imam Abdi was unable to return home in time for the last 10 nights of the holy month of Ramadan — the most important nights of the month — when he is expected to lead prayers each night at his mosque.  The last 10 nights of Ramadan began on the evening of June 15.

A motion filed in conjunction with the lawsuit seeks an emergency court order compelling the United States to allow Imam Abdi to board a flight and return to his home in Utah.

Parker & McConkie is co-counsel in the lawsuit.

“The federal government has used the no-fly list as a tool to attack the constitutional rights and liberties of innocent American Muslims around the country,” said CAIR National Litigation Director Lena F. Masri, Esq. “In the case of Imam Abdi, the federal government wrongfully placed him on the list without notice or due process after he left the country, which effectively exiled him by preventing him from returning to his home in Utah.”

Masri noted that CAIR has assisted a number of other American Muslim citizens who have been stranded overseas by government actions.

”ŽSEE: CAIR Calls No-Fly Policy Change a ‘Step in the Right Direction’

CAIR Welcomes Ruling that No-Fly List Appeals Process is Unconstitutional

CAIR is 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.

La misión de CAIR es mejorar la comprensión del Islam, fomentar el diálogo, proteger las libertades civiles, capacitar a los musulmanes estadounidenses, y construir coaliciones que promuevan la justicia y la comprensión mutua.

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

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