Government agents searching for evidence of terrorist funding acted reasonably when they broke down a Muslim family's front door, entered with guns drawn and handcuffed a frantic woman and her teenage daughter, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday.
A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously upheld a lower court's decision rejecting the family's claims of false imprisonment, assault and battery, conspiracy, and unconstitutional search and seizure.
The raid on the Herndon home of Iqbal and Aysha Unus and their daughter, Hanaa, was one of several conducted in northern Virginia in 2002, months after the 9-11 terrorist attacks. No charges were filed as a result of the search, part of a federal anti-terrorism investigation called "Operation Green Quest."
Agents targeted the home of Iqbal Unus, an employee of the Islamic Institute of Islamic Thought, because he was an officer or adviser in three organizations the government suspected of supporting international terrorism.
According to Aysha and Hanaa Unus, authorities knocked loudly on their door and demanded entry. Aysha Unus said she saw a gun through the window and screamed for her daughter, who called 911. That's when agents, weapons drawn, knocked down the door with a battering ram and handcuffed the residents.