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US: Muslim engineer sues after Kansas flap over Malaysian flag

20th Mar 2018
US: Muslim engineer sues after Kansas flap over Malaysian flag

Kansas, US ( AP & KansasCity.com): A Muslim aerospace engineer has sued the Spirit Boeing Employees Association for religious discrimination stemming from a party at a lake in Wichita, Kansas. This happened after his celebration of Malaysian independence was reported to the FBI as an ISIS meeting.

The FBI quickly ended its investigation after it determined that what had been described as an American flag desecrated with ISIS symbols was in fact a Malaysian flag.

Munir Zanial, an engineer for Spirit Aerosystems, was reported to the FBI last September after he rented a recreational lake operated by the Spirit Boeing Employees’ Association, according to the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Kan.

There was also a Malaysian flag to mark the 60th anniversary of that country’s independence, according to the suit, filed by the ACLU of Kansas.

But someone described in the lawsuit as a ranger or groundskeeper reported to the employees’ association that a group “dressed in Muslim garb” had an American flag “desecrated with ISIS symbols.”

The association reported the information to Spirit, which in turn contacted the FBI, according to the suit.

Several weeks later, Zanial received notice from Facebook that law enforcement was seeking information about his account.

And shortly afterward, he received a call from an FBI agent.

The agent told Zanial that he had determined that it was a Malaysian flag and that he would recommend that the investigation be closed.

But in January, Zanial was told he was barred from again renting the facility because of the previous party.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a federal lawsuit Friday on behalf of Munir Zanial, a Malaysian national of Indian ancestry.

The association declined to comment.

It alleged an American flag that had been “desecrated Daesh symbols.” But the flag was actually a Malaysian flag and the guests included people of Malaysian Indian ancestry, some wearing hijabs.

Spirit filed a complaint with the FBI, and the association terminated his rental benefits.

[Malaysian flag. Creative Commons]

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