Muslim Advocates Asks Secretary Buttigieg to Disavow ‘No-Fly List’ Comment

Washington, DC — On Sunday, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said that enacting a new federal No-Fly List for people who violate airline policies “should be on the table.” Muslim Advocates has challenged the No-Fly List in court and supported efforts to bring accountability and transparency to the list. 

The following is a statement from Muslim Advocates Senior Policy Counsel Sumayyah Waheed:

“Secretary Buttigieg’s willingness to put yet another No-Fly-List ‘on the table’ risks legitimizing and further entrenching a government policy that robs Black and brown people of their constitutional rights. The harassment and abuse of airline workers is reprehensible, and we agree that perpetrators should face serious consequences. But a government No-Fly-List is an inherently flawed model that should not be repeated or expanded. The existing No-Fly List is far too sweeping, lacks due process, is rife with errors and has been challenged in court multiple times. Repurposing this discriminatory tactic would give the government yet more unnecessary power that will ultimately be used to further threaten already marginalized and targeted communities.

There is a critical distinction between government and private authority. Airlines already have the ability to ban passengers who threaten airline workers and fellow travelers and we strongly agree that they should do so. However, giving the federal government the ability to put more people on another No-Fly List would not make air travel any safer. Instead, it would create new opportunities for the government to profile Muslims and other people of color.

Two full decades after 9/11, it should be unthinkable that a CNN anchor would suggest that the government consider a new No-Fly List without any discussion of civil liberties and that a Democratic secretary of Transportation would readily agree. The fact that this happened so easily shows the degree to which anti-Muslim government overreach has become normalized and accepted. We urge Secretary Buttigieg to reject efforts to enact a new No-Fly List and instead address longstanding civil liberties concerns with the existing list.”


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.