Muslim Advocates seek retraction of inflammatory report released by federal government

By Elizabeth Alt | Apr 22, 2018

LOS ANGELES - Attorneys for Muslim Advocates recently filed a lawsuit with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California against the United States departments of Justice and Homeland Security regarding a recent report they claim is another step in President Donald Trump’s” anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant agenda."

“If left uncorrected, the report is likely to contribute to this increase in violence and stigmatization experienced by Muslim communities," reads an excerpt from the complaint.

The plaintiffs claim the report does not comply with the Information Quality and the Administrative Procedure acts because it “misrepresents the threat that immigrants, especially Muslim immigrants, pose to the United States.” The group wants the report retracted.

Muslim Advocates, a civil rights organization, works to fight stereotypes about Muslim and ensure that national laws are not discriminatory toward Muslims. The Muslim Advocates claim that the recently released report, which was published in an executive order, includes Trump’s second attempt to ban Muslims from entering America.

Sirene Shebaya   Muslim Advocates

The group sent a petition asking for the report to be retracted in January and filed a lawsuit when the defendants did not respond after the 60-day deadline. The complaint calls the departments' failure to respond to their requests to comply  “an abuse of discretion."

The complaint alleges that the report is filled with misleading and incorrect information and will have significant impacts by perpetuating a stigma against Muslim that could lead to more of the violence against Muslims. The group claims the increase in violence against Muslims began when Trump began his presidency.

The complaint states that the report calls to end visas for families to reunite and “manipulates information to support its anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim conclusions," such as allegedly using irrelevant and debunked studies on violence toward women and analyzing terrorism incidents done by foreign-born Americans. 

"The Trump Administration has used the report to justify its sweeping ban on the entry of nationals from six Muslim-majority countries into the United States," the plaintiffs said.

The Muslim Advocates are suing for the DOJ and DHS to stop distribution of the report, and for the court to find the report fails to meet the guidelines of fair and objective information. The group also seeks declaratory and injunctive relief in the form of attorneys’ fees and related costs.

The plaintiffs are represented by Matthew Callahan of Muslim Advocates in Oakland, California; Johnathan Smith and Sirine Shebaya with Muslim Advocates of Washington, D.C.; and Robin F. Thurston of Democracy Forward Foundation in Washington, D.C.

United States District Court for the Northern District of California case No. 3:18-cv-02137-JSC

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