Civil Rights, Community Organizations File ‘Muslim Ban’ Amicus Brief in 4th Circuit

A group of organizations serving the Muslim community filed an amicus (friend of the court) brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit on the government’s attempt to remove a block placed on President Donald Trump’s “Muslim Ban” by a federal judge in Maryland.

The groups include the Council on American-Islamic Relations, California (CAIR-CA), Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus (AAAJ-ALC), the Muslim Justice League (MJL), the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), and the Islamic Circle of North America Council for Social Justice (ICNA).

The ban on six majority Muslim countries violates the Establishment Clause of the Constitution by creating a disproportionately negative effect on the freedom, health and well-being of the Muslim community while escalating the current culture of Islamophobia within the U.S. and beyond. The brief, prepared by the law firm of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP, states in part:

“Only a nationwide injunction can effectively protect the religious freedom of those targeted by the Executive Order (E.O.) and mitigate its injurious effects which include significant restraint on travel and day-to-day activities, the promotion of harmful anti-Muslim stereotypes, and psychological harm. Compounding these injuries is the fact that the ‘Muslim Ban’ has no basis in evidence.”

AAAJ-ALC Staff Attorney Elica Vafaie noted, “The Muslim Ban unlawfully and injuriously restrains travel and freedom of movement for Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim and South Asian (AMEMSA) communities. We have been approached by a surge of concerned community members since the ‘Muslim Ban’ who are afraid to travel to their countries of origin for family celebrations, afraid they won’t be able to return home.”

“It is our hope that the 4th Circuit will agree with the lower court and issue a nationwide injunction further stopping the ‘Muslim Ban’ E.O. and preventing additional harm to the American Muslim community,” said Brittney Rezaei, CAIR-SFBA Civil Rights Attorney.

The amicus brief specifically notes:

  • “Despite attempts to sanitize its text, the clear intent of the ‘Muslim Ban’ is to disfavor and burden Muslims.”
  • “The Muslim community may still face impermissibly invasive interrogations at the border even after the Muslim Ban portion of the E.O. is lifted.”
  • “The E.O’s focus on Muslims and Muslim-majority countries is divorced from evidence, ill-conceived, and ill-advised.”

Today also marks the first day of a National Week of Resistance. The #NoMuslimBanEver Campaign seeks to raise awareness and continue the resistance against the Muslim and refugee bans.