Judge rules in favor of Muslim woman on no-fly list

Rahina Ibrahim, a mother of four with a doctorate from Stanford University, was waiting to board a flight from San Francisco to Hawaii en route to Malaysia in 2005 but was told she was on the no-fly list. Photo courtesy of McManis-Faulkner law firm

Rahina Ibrahim, a mother of four with a doctorate from Stanford University, was waiting to board a flight from San Francisco to Hawaii en route to Malaysia in 2005 but was told she was on the no-fly list. Photo courtesy of McManis-Faulkner law firm


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(RNS) A Muslim woman now living in Malaysia struck a blow to the U.S. government’s “no-fly list” when a federal judge ruled Tuesday (Jan. 14) that the government violated her due process rights by putting her on the list without telling her why. Muslims and civil rights advocates say the no-fly list disproportionately targets Muslims, and they hope the ruling will force the government to become more transparent about the highly secretive program. “Justice has finally been done for an innocent woman who was wrongly ensnared in the government’s flawed watch listing system,” Elizabeth Pipkin, a lawyer representing Rahinah Ibrahim, said in a statement. Ibrahim, 48, a mother of four with a doctorate from Stanford University, was waiting to board a flight from San Francisco to Hawaii en route to Malaysia in 2005 but was told she was on the no-fly list. She was eventually cleared to fly to Malaysia, but her visa was revoked soon afterward and she could not return to Stanford. She was never told why she was put on the list, and in 2006 she sued the government to find out. Government lawyers argued that Ibrahim, as a Malaysian citizen, had no standing in U.S. courts and that no-fly list information must be kept secret for security reasons. The government also asked U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup of the Northern District of California to seal his ruling. Instead, Alsup ruled that Ibrahim did have the right to sue and ordered the government to tell Ibrahim whether she is still on the list. The judge agreed to keep the full ruling sealed until April 15, pending a review of the government’s request for secrecy, but he did issue a summary of the ruling. Ibrahim’s case is the oldest of three lawsuits brought by Muslims challenging the no-fly list. Some media reports estimate that 20,000 people are on the list, which has been blamed for delaying many innocent travelers. In 2012, an 18-month-old Muslim girl was ordered off a Jet Blue flight from Fort Lauderdale. “Each year our offices hear from hundreds of individuals who are visited by the FBI and face related travel issues,” said Zahra Billoo, executive director of the California chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. “Many have lost hope about clearing their names, but this case will renew our collective desire to continue forward with the courts on our side.” Under the guidelines, people who have been stopped from boarding flights may file an inquiry with the Department of Homeland Security, but responses do not include information about whether the person is on the no-fly list, according to the ACLU. The only way to find out whether a person has been removed from the no-fly list is to buy a ticket and try to board a flight. YS/MG END SACIRBEY The post Judge rules in favor of Muslim woman on no-fly list appeared first on Religion News Service.

12 Responses to “Judge rules in favor of Muslim woman on no-fly list”

  1. nickbatt

    Profiling? I don’t remember any Quaker terrorists lately? Also, I suspect this woman knows full well what she has done to get on the list. Her friends at the ACLU are just trying to find out how she got caught. The US shouldn’t compromise our sources and methods so I doubt this ruling will be sustained on appeal.

  2. Denis Eble

    Profiling? I don’t remember any Quaker terrorists lately?

    Do you ‘remember’ any Christian terrorists lately?

  3. nickbatt

    Denis; Not recently but sure. Tim McVey of the Oklahoma City bombing would describe himself as a Christian but that was 20 yrs ago; he didn’t do it in the name of his Christian faith; and I think it’s fair to say that the Christian community (through it’s various hierarchies) did not embrace the militia movement so that it receded quickly. Same with the anti-abortion attacks. If either were significant today I’d profile them too.

  4. Denis Eble

    Nick- I suppose that we need to agree on the word, ‘terrorist.’ I suggest that it does not need to be international terrorism. In fact, our American schools have been the location of quite a bit of homegrown terrorism. Our shopping malls, college campuses and movie theaters as well.

    Of course, going back to my college days, there was quite a bit of terrorism in the South over Civil Rights. Lynchings, cross-burnings, beatings…

    Are any of these examples above terrorism? If so, them Christians were deeply involved.

  5. nickbatt

    Denis; I agree that it is important to agree on the definition of terrorism. When I use the term I mean mass violence (bombing, shooting spree, WMD etc.) directed to or arising from an ideological end. I’m not sure you can include school shootings etc. in that category. They seem to me to have more to do with mental health issues. As such, I view them differently from the Jihadism which is the object of the security measures in this story.
    Our nation is at war with organized forces that, by their own admission, seek our destruction and submission to their interpretation of Islam. These attacks are fundamentally different in type, scope and foundation from other violence which confronts us If you can’t admit that, then we have no discussion.
    It is a Red Herring to try to conflate Jihadism, with other violence.
    Finally, while it’s true that Klan activity was terrorism, It was a long time ago. It is a slander to attribute it to Christianity. I’m sure that most of the Klan were raised to be Christians So were Hitler and Stalin. So were you and I. Some of us kept the Faith and some didn’t. So what. It was the REV Martin Luther King and the Southern CHRISTIAN Leadership Conference that lead the fight for civil rights . Or have you forgotten?

  6. Denis Eble

    No, Nick I haven’t ‘forgotten,’ and I may be much closer to the civil rights issue than you. You cannot dismiss the following racist groups which are still functioning in 2014: Fraternal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, Council of Conservative Citizens [White Citizens’ Councils], National Alliance, American Freedom Party, American Renaissance, White Revolution, VDARE, Stormfront, Imperial Klans of America, League of the South, National Alliance, National Socialist Movement and the National Vanguard.

    Lily white and Christian men and women who work hard to foster white supremacy. If you think racism is dead, you haven’t been paying attention.

  7. nickbatt

    Denis; Again, so what. All those groups together, could meet in a phone booth (if they still have any phone booths) and we have more folks at daily Mass at my parish than they would. The civil rights battle is over and the good guys won. The late Sen. Robert Byrd, Gov. George Wallace, And Sen. Strom Thurmond among others all renounced their segregationist past. We have a black president pete’s sake. He carried Virginia and North Carolina. The sixties are over. Time for old hippies to grow up.
    I realize that you want to blame the church for all the ills of the world but this has nothing to do with Ms. Ibrahim, The Jihadist threat or much of anything else in the real world.
    ps. I’ll match my work with black folks with yours any day.

  8. Denis Eble

    Wrong, Nick. I am not attempting to “blame the church for all of the ills of the world.” Rather, I am pointing out that Christians do not have clean hands in the terror-business.

    Further, your phone booth analogy is absurd. How many klan members do you imagine exist today? A phone booth full! Dream on.

  9. nickbatt

    Denis; This is serious stuff. Our country is at risk. So you tell yourself whatever you need to get to sleep at night. The Jihadis will love you for it—till they force you to “convert” at knife point.

  10. Denis Eble

    Too much Fox News, Nick.

  11. nickbatt

    Denis; Fair and balanced. Try the Blaze. Buckeye just put it on 175.

  12. Denis Eble

    Nick, speaking of Fox News, here’s a quote from the newest post by Bob Yano:

    “We fear things in proportion to our ignorance of them.”
    – Livy, Roman historian

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