Now Reading
The U.S. Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Muslims Put On No-Fly List

The U.S. Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Muslims Put On No-Fly List

This week brought a huge win against religious discrimination in Tanzin v. Tanvir. The 8-0 U.S. Supreme Court ruling said that the Muslim men could sue the FBI over the FBI’s retaliation of placing them on the no-fly list after they refused to spy on their communities. 

In individual situations, the FBI asked Muhammad Tanvir, Jameel Algibhah, and Naveed Shinwari to spy on their friends and fellow congregants at mosques in New York. They refused, and as a result, the FBI harassed them and placed them on the no-fly list, which is a list that often discriminates against people based on racial and religious bias by claiming people on it have ties to terrorism. After the 9/11 terrorist attack, innocent Muslims have especially been placed on this list. 

Justice Clarence Thomas, who authored the ruling, wrote: “The question here is whether ‘appropriate relief’ includes claims for money damages against government officials in their individual capacities. We hold that it does.” 

Justice Clarence Thomas, who authored the ruling, wrote: “The question here is whether ‘appropriate relief’ includes claims for money damages against government officials in their individual capacities. We hold that it does.” 

In the October oral arguments, a lawyer for the men, Ramzi Kassem, explained to the Supreme Court how this discrimination caused harm and violated his clients’ religious beliefs. 

“Federal agents put my clients on the no-fly list because they refused to spy on innocent co-religionists in violation of their Islamic beliefs,” Kassem said. “My clients lost precious years with loved ones, plus jobs and educational opportunities.” 

This ruling exemplifies some of the struggles the Muslim community experiences with government officials’ discrimination, especially regarding surveillance and national security. 

See Also

It also highlights the correct way to implement the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), which helps protect people’s religious freedom in the United States without burdening their religious beliefs. 

In the past, we’ve seen people misuse RFRA to discriminate against the LGBTQ community, women, and more in the name of “religious freedom.” This ruling truly highlights how RFRA should be helping those being discriminated against rather than assisting people in using their religion to harm others. 


This is a step forward, but we still have ways to go, as Muslims continue to be surveilled more than any other religious group federally and in states and cities. Until the U.S. government recognizes the humanity of Muslim Americans and not just the “threat” of us, we are not treated as equal citizens.

Scroll To Top