SOUTHFIELD (WWJ/AP) – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security will investigate a Muslim rights advocacy group’s complaints that border agents have harassed dozens of U.S. Muslims who were returning from Canada.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations got a letter from a Homeland Security official saying the agency takes such civil rights violation complaints “very seriously” and will investigate, the group said Wednesday in a statement from its Michigan office in the Detroit suburb of Southfield.
On March 24, the group filed complaints with the federal Homeland Security and Justice departments “seeking civil and potentially criminal investigations into dozens of reports from constituents who reported that (Customs and Border Protection) agents pointed firearms at them, detained and handcuffed them without predication of crimes or charges, and questioned them about their worship habits,” the group said.
Homeland Security spokesman Chris Ortman said the department will investigate the complaints and take corrective action if needed.
The Department of Homeland Security “does not tolerate religious discrimination or abusive questioning – period,” Ortman said.
Council lawyer Lena Masri said her group welcomes the federal government’s decision to investigate the allegations of “civil rights violations and ethnic and religious profiling.”
Among other things, some people returning to the U.S. were asked how many times a day they pray, whether they pray in a mosque and who else prays with them, the group said.
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