Concert promoter sues Justice Department, demands removal from ‘No-Fly List’
By Ali Harb
Thursday, 05.09.2013, 07:02pm
In a press conference held on May 8, Attorney Nabih Ayad, in coordination with the Arab-American Civil Rights League (ACRL), announced that a lawsuit was filed against the FBI, the US Department of Justice and the Terrorist Screening Center, on behalf of Saeb Mokdad, a Lebanese-American concert promoter who has been placed on the government’s No-Fly List.
As reported by the Arab American News last week, Mokdad was initially prevented from boarding a plane, from Paris to Detroit last September. At that time, he consulted with the American Embassy and was cleared to return to the United States. However, since his return to Detroit, Mokdad has not been able to travel back to Lebanon and remains on the No-Fly List.
|Attorney Nabih Ayad (left) with Saeb Mokdad.|
Ayad states that over 500,000 people are on the No-Fly List and are usually not aware of this until they check in at an airport.
“We hear this over and over again. Arab Americans show their ticket at the counter in the airport, and law enforcement agents tell them, ‘sorry, you cannot board,'” He said. “They don’t tell them why they cannot board, and they don’t provide them with any explanation.”
Ayad explained that the Justice Department is violating a Fifth Amendment right by placing people on the No-Fly List, as travel is considered a fundamental right under the U.S. Constitution. He described Mokdad as a “prisoner in his own country,” because of his inability to leave the United States.
Ayad added that Mokdad has been cleared of any wrongdoing by the local FBI who have been cooperative and did not know why he was prevented from traveling.
Dawud Walid, Executive Director of the of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Michigan, who was also in attendance at the press conference, said that Arab and Muslim Americans constitute a great and disproportionate percentage of the people on the No-Fly List.