In the wake of 9/11, the FBI and Department of Homeland Security initiated sweeping programs that amount to racial profiling on a federal scale — ranging from suspicionless searches and arbitrary detentions of Arabs and Muslim Americans to counterterrorism financing and material support laws that unfairly target Muslim organizations and charities. No area of American Muslim civil society has been left untouched by discriminatory and illegitimate government action.

The ACLU advocates for an end to all forms of profiling and discrimination, and provides legal support to organizations and individuals who have been victims of racial and ethnic discrimination.

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Additional Resources

Mapping the FBI: Uncovering Abusive Surveillance and Racial Profiling: The Federal Bureau of Investigation is collecting racial and ethnic information and “mapping” American communities around the country based on crude stereotypes about which groups commit different types of crimes. Nationwide, the FBI is gathering reports on innocent Americans' so-called “suspicious activity” and sharing it with unknown numbers of federal, state and local government agencies. In response, the ACLU's “Mapping the FBI” initiative seeks to expose misconduct, abuse of authority, and unconstitutional profiling and other violations of Americans' rights and liberties across the country. 

Legal Challenge to NYPD Muslim Surveillance Program (2013 case): The ACLU, the NYCLU, and the CLEAR project have filed a lawsuit challenging the New York City Police Department's discriminatory surveillance of innocent Muslim New Yorkers. The plaintiffs include three religious and community leaders, two mosques, and one charitable organization, all of whom have been subject to the NYPD's unconstitutional religious profiling program

ACLU Challenges Government No-Fly List (2011 case): The ACLU and its affiliates in Oregon, Southern California, Northern California, and New Mexico have filed a legal challenge on behalf of several U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents who cannot fly to or from the United States or over U.S. airspace because they are on the “No Fly List”— a component of the government’s watch list system.

Grounded: Life on the No Fly List (comic): Picture this: You arrive at the airport, full of cheer ahead of a work trip to visit to a client. You wait in line to check in for your flight, but when you reach the counter, you’re told you won’t be able to board. Suddenly you’re surrounded by security guards and hauled off for questioning, with everyone gawking at you. 

Protecting the Religious Freedom of Muslims (2011 resource): Recently, Muslim communities in the U.S. have faced a disturbing wave of bigotry and outright hostility. From religiously motivated discrimination and attacks on existing and proposed Islamic centers to misguided congressional hearings, Muslims in America are being unfairly targeted simply for exercising their basic constitutional right to religious liberty.

ACLU Seeks Records About FBI Collection Of Racial And Ethnic Data Around the Country (2010 video): The ACLU has asked FBI field offices in 29 states and Washington, D.C. to turn over records related to the agency's collection and use of race and ethnicity data in local communities. According to an FBI operations guide, FBI agents have the authority to collect information about and create maps of so-called "ethnic-oriented" businesses, behaviors, lifestyle characteristics and cultural traditions in communities with concentrated ethnic populations.

ACLU And CAIR Urge Court To Uphold Ruling Blocking Oklahoma Sharia And International Law Ban (2011 press release)

ACLU Testimony For Congressional Hearing Urges Protection Of American Muslim Civil Rights (2011 press release)

Protecting the Civil Rights of Muslim Americans (2011 resource PDF)

Sikh Religious Musicians Settle with US Airways After Wrongful Removal From Flight (2009 press release)

Discrimination Against Muslim Women (2008 resource PDF)

Discrimination Against Muslim Women - Fact Sheet (2008 resource)

Medina v. County of San Bernardino (2008 case)

Facts On Airport Security (2002 resource)

Most Popular

Meet the Plaintiffs Challenging the NYPD's Surveillance of Muslim New Yorkers (2013 case)

Judge to Sikh Man: Remove "That Rag" (2013 blog)

Muslim Denied Citizenship Because of Discriminatory Practices in Naturalization Process (2010 press release)

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