WASHINGTON, DC — The following is a statement from Sirine Shebaya, interim legal director for Muslim Advocates, on a report that a Muslim man detained by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) was only given access to pork sandwiches for basic sustenance against his sincerely held religious objections. Yesterday, Muslim Advocates and Americans for Immigrant Justice filed a suit against U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for similarly refusing to accommodate the religious needs of immigrants detained by the agency:
“CBP’s gratuitous violation of Mr. Parveen’s religious rights is part of a broader pattern of discrimination against Muslims by immigration enforcement authorities. Beyond what appears to be a very problematic decision to detain Mr. Parveen, CBP has an obligation not to obstruct the ability of immigrants in its custody to freely practice their religion. Forcing Mr. Parveen to eat pork or go hungry is a flagrant violation of his constitutional and statutory rights.
This is far from the only example of immigration authorities robbing Muslims of their rights and dignity. For example, a group of Somali Muslim immigrants detained by ICE sued the agency yesterday for denying them the ability to pray and not providing them religiously-compliant food, as well as other basic religious items like Qur’ans and prayer rugs. Like with Mr. Parveen, ICE refused to take even the most rudimentary steps to ensure that these men could freely practice their chosen faith.
The disrespectful treatment of Mr. Parveen, the Somali immigrants and many others is part of a widespread pattern of discrimination against Muslims that pervades every aspect of our immigration system, and that goes against our most fundamental American values. Muslim Advocates will continue to fight on all fronts to ensure that Americans of all faiths have the ability to freely practice their religion, regardless of the circumstances.”
Muslim Advocates is a national civil rights organization working in the courts, in the halls of power and in communities to halt bigotry in its tracks. We ensure that American Muslims have a seat at the table with expert representation so that all Americans may live free from hate and discrimination.