M'sian in Kansas sues after Jalur Gemilang reported as ISIS flag

PETALING JAYA: A Malaysian engineer in Wichita, Kansas, is suing an employee association in the US for discrimination after he was reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for flying the Malaysian flag.

Munir Zanial who works with Wichita-based Spirit Aerosystems held a gathering beside a lake to celebrate the end of Ramadan and Hari Merdeka last Sept. Around 45 guests reportedly attended the gathering including some women wearing hijabs.

In October, Zanial learned he was being investigated by the FBI after a Spirit Boeing Employees' Association employee had complained about a "group dressed in Muslim garb" and "an American flag desecrated with ISIS symbols", the Wichita Eagle reported on March 19.

The FBI investigation was closed in Oct, but Zanial found out in Jan that his membership in the association had been restricted after the report to the FBI

This week, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Kansas filed a legal complaint on behalf of Zainal on the basis he had been discriminated against due to his race, ethnicity and religion.

"He was in a situation where he was celebrating the end of Ramadan and the 60th anniversary of Malaysian independence, there was absolutely no basis for assuming anything negative was going on in broad daylight at the SBEA's lake," the newspaper quoted Lauren Bonds, the legal director at the ACLU, as saying.

"It's just illogical how something so small snowballed into this and the only way you can explain this is prejudice and discrimination. He is concerned that the investigation could affect his lawful permanent residence status.

"He also feels distress and humiliation based on this experience of being singled-out because of his ethnicity, race and religion."