Muslim on Watch List Stumbles With Lawsuit

     ORLANDO (CN) – A Muslim man chose the wrong court to fight inclusion on the terrorist watch list and the dozens of screenings that ensued, a federal judge ruled.
     Sadique Jaffer, a naturalized U.S. citizen, practicing Muslim and frequent traveler, said the government harasses and detains him every time he flies.
     The Zanzibar native allegedly appeared on the FBI’s radar after he filed a defamation complaint in 2007 against “certain members of the local Shia Muslim community board.”
     Jaffer said he is at odds with other members of his community because he is outspoken against those who would “use their faith as a political force.”
     He allegedly agreed to cooperate with the FBI and report any threat, but quickly found himself repeatedly detained while re-entering the United States.
     At the first stop, in August 2007, Jaffer had reached Bush International Airport in Houston, Texas, on a return flight from Costa Rica. He claimed to have been detained for four hours, during which time he was deprived of food and water and verbally abused if he “so much as turned his head.”
     Some time later, an FBI agent allegedly revealed that Jaffer’s name was on the government’s terrorist watch list.
     Jaffer said he wrote a letter to the Department of Homeland Security’s redress program for traveler complaints, requesting the detentions stop. It went on for several months without resolution before the harassment stopped in 2009.
     But in June 2012, the secondary screenings and detentions resumed.
     Though U.S. District Judge Gregory Presnell noted that Jaffer has been detained more than 50 times since 2007, he dismissed the complaint Wednesday.
     “Plaintiff claims that he seeks to challenge ‘only the fact that he is continually detained in violation of his Four (sic) Amendment rights,'” Presnell wrote. “Such a challenge is not supported by case law. Routine border searches are reasonable simply by virtue of the fact that they occur at the border. Secondary detentions of the length experienced by the plaintiff are also frequently found to be reasonable.”
     Ultimately the court has no jurisdiction, Presnell said.
     Those who seek judicial review of a Homeland Security order must bring their claims in the Court of Appeals for the circuit in which they reside, according to the ruling.
     For Jaffer, that is the 11th Circuit. Presnell said he could not transfer the case because Jaffer had not filed the appropriate motion.

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