In the months following the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center towers, New York City witnessed a noticeably heightened skepticism of Muslim individuals. In fact, according to the USA Today, anti-Muslim hate crimes increased throughout the country by nearly 1,600 percent.
Although the common American perception of Muslim individuals has shifted after several years of the government’s involvement in Middle Eastern conflicts, a negative perception of Islam is largely still present throughout society.
One Long Island couple recently felt the result of that perception after visiting the Empire State Building in New York City.
The couple, 32-year-old Fahad Tirmizi and his 30-year-old wife Amina, were on the observation deck of the Empire State Building in July of last year when they attempted to recite their evening prayers. In response to the sight of the couple praying, two building security guards forcibly escorted the two from the observation deck.
The couple has since filed suit against the owners of the Empire State Building.
The expected result of the lawsuit is uncertain. The couple’s religion dictated that they should be praying at a certain time, and the laws call for religious freedom. The couple were also praying on a private property, so the building employees may be justified in asking them to leave.
Still, the couple’s lawyer believes the incident represents an example of inequality and injustice.
“To most, the Empire State Building is one of the great landmarks of this city, but for my client and his family it is a building of ignorance and injustice,” said Tmirizi attorney Phillip Hines, according to the New York Daily News.