WASHINGTON, DC — Today, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a unanimous ruling in the case of Tanzin v. Tanvir in favor of Muslims who are suing FBI agents who attempted to coerce them to spy on their own community. Muslim Advocates, with the services of the law firm Holwell Shuster & Goldberg LLP, filed a brief in support of the plaintiffs. The following is a statement from Muslim Advocates Senior Staff Attorney Matthew Callahan:
“The Supreme Court’s unanimous ruling is a rare, unequivocal victory for religious freedom that sets an important standard: government officials can be held accountable for the harm they cause. More specifically, we now know with certainty that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act does allow people to sue the government for damages. This ruling closes a dangerous loophole that effectively gave government officials immunity for many violations of religious liberty, forcing courts to address only prospective or ongoing violations. This has major implications for the legal work of Muslim Advocates and countless other organizations and individuals fighting government wrongdoing in court.
This ruling also clearly shows how our government has targeted and hurt Muslims. It is plainly outrageous that the FBI would try and force Muslims to spy on their own community by placing them on the No-Fly List. For decades now, government surveillance and anti-Muslim policies have been an unavoidable fact of life for American Muslims. Because of this ruling, American Muslims now know that they can speak out and fight back in court against injustice.”
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.