CAIR-Florida, the state's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization announced the filing this week of 10 complaints with the U.S. Customs & Border Protection Agency (CBP), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the Department of Justice (DOJ), reporting the systematic targeting of American-Muslim citizens for enhanced screening by CBP. The complaints were filed in coordination with CAIR-National, CAIR-SFBA, and CAIR-NY. The complaints reported increased scrutiny of American-Muslim's social media accounts and contents of their mobile phones along with invasive questions regarding their religious beliefs and political opinions about American Citizens. One complaint noted the denial of entry of a Canadian citizen after he informed agents he prayed 5 times a day in response to their questioning.
Among the questions asked by the CPB to Muslim-American citizens as reported in the complaints are:
- Are you a devout Muslim?
- Are you Sunni or Shia?
- What school of thought do you follow?
- Which Muslim scholars do you follow?
- What current Muslim scholars do you listen to?
- Do you pray five times a day?
- Why do you have a prayer mat in your luggage?
- Why do you have a Qur'an in your luggage?
- Have you visited Saudi Arabia?
- Will you every visit Saudi or Israel?
- What do you know about the Tableeghi-Jamat (a non-political Islamic propagation group)?
- What do you think of the USA?
- What are your views about Jihad?
- What mosque do you attend?
- Do any individuals in your mosque have any extreme/radical views?
- Does your Imam express extremist views?
- What are the views of other imams or other community members that give the Friday sermon at your mosque? Do they have extremist views?
- Have you ever delivered the Friday Prayer? What did you discuss with your community?
- What are your views regarding [various terrorist organizations]?
- What social media accounts do you use?
- What is your Facebook account username?
- What is your Twitter account username?
- What is your Instagram account username?
- What are the names and telephone numbers of parents, relatives, friends?
In one case, CBP officers choked an American-Muslim after he refused to provide them with his cell phone number again after they had accessed it on a previous occasion.
CAIR-Florida's complaints also document how a Canadian citizen of the Muslim faith attempting to visit the US was asked by CBP the following questions before he was denied entry:
- Are you Sunni or Shia?
- Do you think we should allow someone like you to enter our country?
- How often do you pray?
- Why did you shave your beard?
- Which school of thought do you follow?
- What do you think of America's foreign policy towards the Muslim world?
- What do you think of killing non-Muslims?
- What do you think of [various terrorist groups]?
All individuals were asked by the CBP to provide their unlocked cell phone numbers or took them away for searching. Individuals were held between 2 to 8 hours by CBP.
CAIR-FL's Chief Executive Director and civil rights attorney, Hassan Shibly, stated that, "This targeting of Americans based on their faith and pressuring them to answer questions about their religious and political beliefs, runs contrary to the fundamental principles of freedom of speech and freedom of religion enshrined in the U.S. Constitution. It reflects a nationwide trend of the CBP targeting American-Muslims; it subjects them to disparate treatment and it reeks of the 'Muslim registry' and 'Muslim ban' proposed by President-Elect Trump."
National media outlets are covering CBP's irregular activities with the American Muslim community:
In response, CAIR-Florida Encourages all those subjected to discriminatory treatment or asked invasive questions by the CBP to contact CAIR to file formal complaints at 813-514-1414.
CAIR-Florida is the state's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties of all people, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
La misión de CAIR-Florida 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.