- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 20, 2014

A Muslim family has launched a lawsuit claiming security guards wrongfully booted them from the Empire State Building after catching them on the observation deck at a late hour and in an isolated spot, bent over and reciting prayers.

Court documents filed this week indicate that Fahad Tirmizi, his wife, Amina, and their two young children were trying to pray on the observation deck July 2 around 11 p.m., CNN reported. They claimed in court filings that their “religious beliefs require them to recite evening prayers wherever they may be at the time.” Guards discovered them huddled in an isolated area, where few tourists travel, CNN said.

Mr. Tirmizi alleged that one guard “menacingly poked” him “with his hands and feet several times in various parts of his body,” court documents said. The guard then allegedly told Mr. Tirmizi he couldn’t pray in the observatory, and supposedly “forcibly” escorted the family from the skyscraper.

The family now wants an unspecified amount of monetary damages. And in court documents, they name the Empire State Building’s management company, the skyscraper’s security company and two unnamed guards, accusing them of violating both First and 14th Amendments, and various civil rights protections, CNN said.

Empire State Reality Trust spokeswoman Brandy Bergman said to CNN that “the claims are totally without merit and we will respond to them in court.”

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