The Malaysian flag was described as an American flag “desecrated by ISIS insignia”

A group in the US is being sued after mistaking a Malaysian flag for an ISIS symbol.

According to NBC, a Malaysian man is suing a group that reported his country’s flag as an ISIS symbol.

The incident occurred at a recreational lake in Kansas on 2 September 2017, where around 45 people attended a rented area of the lake to celebrate the end of the Muslim holiday Ramadan. One guest brought a Malaysian flag to commemorate the 60th anniversary of Malaysian Independence Day.

Senior stress engineer at Spirit AeroSystems and practicing Muslim Munir Zanial had rented the area from non profit group Spirit/Boeing Employees’ Association, of which he is a member.

However, a lake ranger allegedly filed a complaint with the Assosciation that the lake was being used to hold an ISIS meeting. It was alleged that the guests had possessed an American flag “desecrated by ISIS insignia” and the incident was reported to the FBI. The flag was in fact the Malaysian flag.

An FBI special agent told Zanial that an investigation was being launched against him, saying that a groundskeeper of the association had seen “a ‘group dressed in Muslim garb’ and ‘an American flag desecrated with ISIS symbols’”.

Although the FBI investigation was eventually closed, Zanial’s membership was restricted due to “an incident that occurred during his September 2nd party” — specifically the one “involving a guest holding a flag.”

In response, Zanial has filed a lawsuit, accusing the group of engaging in “an act of egregious racial profiling and blatant religious discrimination” after his membership rights were restricted. An employee “had deemed him ‘suspicious,’” according to the lawsuit.

“To label someone a terrorist due to their appearance and their celebration of their heritage is shameful, but to continue to use that mislabel as grounds for blatant discrimination — even after it had been discredited by the FBI — is downright reprehensible,” Micah Kubic, executive director of the ACLU of Kansas, said in a statement.

 

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