Belleville News Democrat: Ten Muslim men file federal lawsuit alleging civil rights violation

Ten Muslim men have filed a federal lawsuit alleging the government has violated their civil rights by denying them U.S. citizenship.

The men, who are legal permanent residents, allege in the lawsuit filed Thursday that the government has denied them citizenship for up to two years even though they have passed every test and interview.

They claim the government has discriminated against them based on their gender and religious beliefs. Some of their wives applied for citizenship at the same time they did and have been approved.

The men are natives of Syria, Morocco, Jordan, Pakistan and Egypt, said Chuck Roth, an attorney with the Midwest Immigrant and Human Rights Center.

The lawsuit seeks a court order for the men to be sworn in as citizens, unspecified damages and attorney fees.

“They’re in limbo,” said Christina Abraham, civil rights coordinator for the Chicago chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which is representing the men. “These are people who don’t have any criminal record whatsoever. … They don’t know why they’ve been delayed. They’ve done everything they can do.”

The lawsuit names Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, Homeland Security Department officials and the FBI as defendants.

Federal officials had not yet reviewed the lawsuit and could not comment on Thursday, said Justice Department spokesman Charles Miller.

Abraham said CAIR in Chicago has received about 80 other similar complaints this past year. Other chapters also have had complaints, she said.

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