When did we stop being the good guys? This is the kind of thing we used to denounce communist dictatorships for doing.
Abe Mashal is a 31-year-old man who lives in a suburb of Chicago. He’s a veteran — an honorably discharged ex-Marine. Married, with kids. Owns his own business. Fairly normal in most respects except for one — he is Muslim. Last time I checked, that is not a crime in America, but you can’t be sure.
Mashal’s wife is Christian, and over a year ago he sent an email to a Muslim cleric asking for advice about raising children in a mixed-religion household. What he didn’t know is that this particular cleric was being monitored by the FBI.
At that point, his previously normal life became complicated, but he didn’t find out about it until he tried to fly to Spokane, WA, for a job. He had been placed on the no-fly list. He was questioned by the FBI, first at the airport, then at his home. His friends and family were questioned. Even though he hadn’t done anything even remotely illegal, the FBI refused to take him off the no-fly list. His business suffered, since he was not allowed to fly.
Now here’s the weird part. Mashal says that agents offered to get him off the no-fly list, but on one condition — that he would become an undercover informant at mosques. He refused, saying “I feel like I’m living in communist Russia, not the United States of America”.
Mashal is now one of 17 plantiffs in a lawsuit filed in June by the ACLU over abuse of the no-fly list.
UPDATE 2: Mashal himself has made some comments on this post.