A Muslim family is suing the owners of New York City’s Empire State Building for $5m after they were allegedly forced to leave the tourism site’s observation deck as they were praying in public.
The Manhattan federal court suit, seen by the New York Post, claims that Fahad Tirmizi and Amina Tirmizi’s civil rights were violated when they were “assaulted, battered and forcibly removed” from the skyscraper’s observatory while praying at 23:00 on July 2 last year.
The case, against property manager Malkin and security company Andrew International, alleges that the Tirmizis were unfairly targeted “because they were Muslim, wearing traditional Muslim attire, and/or engaged in Muslim prayer”. They were with their two young children at the time, the suit says.
According to the New York Post, Fahad Tirmizi was “menacingly poked” by a security guard, before the entire family was “forcibly escorted from the building”.
“The defendants have an unlawful policy, custom, practice, procedure and/or rule, whether express or implied, of barring patrons from exercising their religious beliefs in the Empire State Building and/or the observatory,” it adds.
Requests for comment made by the newspaper to the Tirmizi family and Malkin were not immediately returned.