Claiming that their civil rights were violated when they were “assaulted, battered and forcibly removed” from the observation deck for attempting evening prayers, a Muslim family is suing the Empire State Building for $5 million.
Fahid and Amina Tirmizi of Farmingville, Long Island, contend that they merely sought a quiet spot on the 86th floor to recite evening prayers, when a security guard brusquely confronted Fahad and “menacingly poked” him, the New York Post reported.
The guard then exclaimed that praying was not permitted and joined by another guard, the parents and two children were “forcibly escorted” from the premises.
The suit alleges the “Empire State Building of having an unlawful policy, whether express or implied, that subjects Muslims to greater and/or heightened suspicion, security and/or surveillance compared to others, religious and non-religious individuals,” according to the Huffington Post.
Named as defendants were Malkin Properties, the famed tourist site’s owners, security firm Andrews International, Inc., and others.
“Earlier that same day at the Staten Island Ferry,” Fahad told the Post, “I needed to pray the afternoon prayer…and confirmed it with a police officer who was standing right there…and he said, ‘Go for it, it’s not illegal to pray.’”
The family’s attorney said the day’s outing became an experience of intolerance, and that the city landmark was but a building of ignorance and injustice to his clients.
An Empire State Realty Trust spokeswoman told CNN in response, that “the claims are totally without merit and we will respond in court,” the Washington Times reported.
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