FBI probe after Jalur Gemilang at Merdeka party mistaken for IS-defaced US flag

According to the lawsuit filed in the US District Court in Kansas City, someone who resembled a ranger or groundskeeper had reported that a group ‘dressed in Muslim garb’ had a US flag ‘desecrated with IS symbols.’ — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
According to the lawsuit filed in the US District Court in Kansas City, someone who resembled a ranger or groundskeeper had reported that a group ‘dressed in Muslim garb’ had a US flag ‘desecrated with IS symbols.’ — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

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KUALA LUMPUR, March 20 — A Malaysian engineer working in Kansas City in Missouri, United States has filed a discrimination suit after his Merdeka celebration last year was mistakenly reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) as a meeting of terrorist group, Islamic State (IS).

News outfit Kansas City Star reported yesterday that Munir Zanial, an engineer with Spirit Aerosystems, had a report lodged against him with the FBI last September after he rented a recreational lake operated by the Spirit Boeing Employees’ Association.

According to the lawsuit filed in the US District Court in Kansas City, someone who resembled a ranger or groundskeeper had reported to the employees’ association that a group “dressed in Muslim garb” had a US flag “desecrated with IS symbols.”

The association then reported the information to Spirit, which then reported the matter to the FBI.

Following the report, Zanial received a notice from Facebook that the authorities were seeking information regarding his account and he received a call from an FBI agent shortly afterwards.

The agent reportedly told Zanial that he had determined the “desecrated American flag” was actually Malaysia’s national flag — the Jalur Gemilang — and that he would recommend that the investigation be closed.

However, Zanial was still barred from renting the facility in January due to his Merdeka day celebration, leaving him “feeling stressed and anxious”.

His suit alleged that he was discriminated against based on race, ethnicity and religion.

Zanial is also reportedly concerned that the investigation could affect his lawful permanent residency status in the US.

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