Group sues Ill. police over Muslim chaplain flap

A Muslim advocacy group filed a federal discrimination lawsuit Monday over an Illinois State Police decision to revoke the appointment of the agency’s first Muslim chaplain.

Kifah Mustapha, a Chicago-area imam, was named a chaplain in December along with chaplains of other faiths. He underwent training, passed a background check and was issued state identification. But shortly after, the appointment was criticized by the Washington-based Investigative Project on Terrorism, which said Mustapha was a “radical fundraiser” and alleged he had links to Palestinian militant group Hamas.

Mustapha hasn’t been charged with any crimes and denied wrongdoing.

According to the lawsuit filed on his behalf by the Council on American-Islamic Relations‘ Chicago office, Mustapha was then told by Illinois State Police that he had passed only a preliminary background check and another should have been conducted before the training. Mustapha was asked to submit paperwork for another check.

In June, the police department revoked his appointment, citing only information revealed during a background check.

According to the lawsuit, Mustapha was told by a police employee that articles by the investigative think tank prompted the second background check.

The lawsuit claims the think tank is known for “anti-Muslim views” and alleges religious, national origin and racial discrimination on the part of police. Mustapha is a Lebanese Muslim of Palestinian descent. It also alleges Mustapha was denied his First Amendment right to freedom of association, which prohibits the government from imposing guilt by association.

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Religion News Blog posted this on Tuesday August 31, 2010.
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