A Malaysian Muslim has filed a discrimination lawsuit after his celebration of his country’s independence was reported to the FBI as an “ISIS meeting”.
The FBI promptly concluded its investigation after it realised that what had been described as an American flag “desecrated with ISIS symbols” was in fact the flag of Malaysia.
Munir Zanial, who is an engineer for Spirit Aerosystems, was reported to the FBI last September after he rented a lake run by the Spirit Boeing Employees’ Association (SBEA), according to the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Kansas City.
Majority of 45 guests who attended the gathering were Muslim and some female attendees wore the hijab.
The Malaysian flag was raised to mark the 60th anniversary of the country’s independence, according to the suit, filed by the ACLU of Kansas.
But a “witness” believed to be a groundskeeper or ranger reported to the SBEA that a group “dressed in Muslim garb” had an American flag “desecrated with ISIS symbols”.
The SBEA reported the account to Spirit, who then informed the FBI, according to the lawsuit.
More than a month later, Mr Zanial received notice from Facebook that law enforcement agencies were seeking information about his personal account.
Shortly after, he received a call from an FBI agent.
The FBI agent told Mr Zanial that he had understood that it was a Malaysian flag and that he would recommend that the investigation to be terminated.
But in January, Mr Zanial was told he was banned from hiring the recreational facility because of the Malaysian independence party.
The entire episode left him feeling distressed and anxious.
The lawsuit claims that he was discriminated against based on race, ethnicity or religion.
It states: “He is concerned that the investigation could affect his lawful permanent residence status.
“He also feels distress and humiliation based on this experience of being singled-out because of his ethnicity, race and religion.”