Friday, December 16, 2005

Muslims Seek Advance Relief To Prevent Border Searches

Seeking to avoid a repeat of problems they faced last year (see prior postings 1, 2 ), a group of Muslim-Americans, represented by the New York Civil Liberties Union, asked a federal judge Thursday to allow them to travel to and return from a religious conference in Toronto later this month without being fingerprinted, photographed and held for hours at the border. The Associated Press reported yesterday that the plaintiffs are seeking a court order prohibiting border agents from stopping and searching Muslim-Americans based solely on their attendance at the annual Reviving the Islamic Spirit conference in Toronto. Homeland Security officials acknowledged subjecting those returning from last year's conference to lengthy security checks, but said they had reason to believe that people associated with terrorism planned to attend the conference. Judge William Skretny said he would rule on the request before the December 23 start of the conference.