Monday, October 29, 2012

NY Muslim Stranded by No-Fly List Returns to U.S.
(NEW YORK, NY 10/22/12) -- The New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY) today announced that an American citizen who had been stranded in Europe for 22 days by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP), has been allowed to return to the U.S.
Samir Suljovic, a 26-year-old who was born and raised in Queens, NY, boarded a flight to the United States from Munich Germany today at noon. Upon his arrival in Philadelphia, Suljovic reports that he was interrogated by government officials for an hour and a half and consequently missed his connecting flight to New York. He will now take a train for the final stretch of his journey.
[MEDIA AVAILABILITY: Suljovic is expected to arrive in New York at Penn Station around 9 p.m., where he will be met by the director of CAIR-NY; both will be available to talk to media. Contact CAIR-NY Director Muneer Awad, 347-296-7966,]
Suljovic, a New York resident and American citizen, traveled to Montenegro this summer to visit family and friends. When he tried to fly home to New York on October 1, he was informed by airline agents in Austria that the DHS and CBP had asked foreign authorities to prevent him from boarding his flight.
Over the past 22 days, Suljovic has been repeatedly denied the right to fly home. He contacted the DHS and CBP liaison at JFK International Airport, but received no response. Suljovic sought help from the U.S. embassy in Germany, but reported that embassy personnel instead interrogated him and searched his cell phone without his permission.
CAIR-NY had contacted Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano, and the United States Embassy in Munich seeking an explanation of this violation of Suljovic's constitutional rights. CAIR-NY also called on other Americans to contact Samir's elected officials to ask them to reach out to the federal agencies responsible for his exile. Suljovic was born and raised in Oakland Gardens, Queens.

SEE: CAIR-NY Action Alert: Bring Samir Home

"We are glad to welcome Samir back home, and to reaffirm that American Muslims have the same right to due process as all other Americans," CAIR-NY Executive Director Muneer Awad. "Samir is back in the United States because it is his right to be here. It is his right today, and it was his right twenty-two days ago when our government prevented him from boarding any return flight home."
Earlier this year, CAIR called on the Department of Justice (DOJ) to investigate acts of "coercion and intimidation" allegedly used by the FBI to pressure Muslim citizens into giving up their constitutional rights if they wished to return to the United States from overseas.
Last year, CAIR filed a lawsuit against the DOJ and the FBI seeking a court order to allow a Virginia Muslim teenager who had been detained in Kuwait and placed on a U.S. government no-fly list to return to the United States.
CAIR-NY is a chapter of America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

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CONTACT: CAIR-NY Executive Director Muneer Awad, 347-296-7966,; CAIR National Communications Manager Amina Rubin, 202-744-7726,

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