CAIRO: A Muslim family that was “assaulted, battered and forcibly removed” from the Empire State Building in July 2013 filed a U.S. $5 million lawsuit, obtained by The Huffington Post Wednesday.
Fahad and Amina Tirmizi filed the lawsuit Tuesday against the Emipre State Building Company, Empire State Realty, Malkin Properties, security company Andrews International Inc. and others, according to The Huffington Post.
While on the 86th floor of the Empire State, the Tirmizis say in their suit they went to “a quiet spot” to pray, but a security guard “menacingly poked” Fahad and loudly told him he was not allowed to pray on the Observatory deck.
The manner of the security guard prompted the Observatory visitors to watch the family and their children escorted from the deck down to the lobby then outside the entire building, according to the suit.
The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights released a statement Wednesday in solidarity with the Tirmizis.
“Muslims who pray in public, including in public accommodations, are simply exercising their constitutional rights. In play are two First Amendment rights: freedom of speech and freedom of religion,” the statement read.
“We weren’t doing anything wrong,” Fahad told the New York Post Tuesday. “We just wanted to enjoy the view like everyone else.”
Fahad also told the New York Post that he has previously prayed in public accommodations without blocking the way. In one incident, a police officer at Staten Island Ferry terminal told him “go for it, it’s not illegal to pray,” according to the New York Post.
The Termizis are U.S. nationals, who reside in Long Island, according to the New York Post.