Muslim families say they weren't allowed to board ferry

Three Muslim families say they were stopped from boarding a commuter ferry in Lower Manhattan because of a "security issue."

The New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations has filed a discrimination complaint against NYC Ferry over the Sept. 21 incident.

The families—three mothers and their respective children—rode an NYC Ferry boat from Bay Ridge in Brooklyn to Wall Street without any problems, according to CAIR-NY. But when they tried to board a ferry to Brooklyn's Pier 6, some ferry employees stopped them, according to CAIR-NY.

The moms said that when they asked why they couldn't get on the boat, the workers told them there was a "security issue," according to CAIR-NY. But they said the head of security told them there was no security issue.

"All New Yorkers, regardless of creed, deserve equal and fair service free of discrimination, especially when using public transportation like the NYC Ferry," Ahmed Mohamed, CAIR-NY's litigation director, said in a statement. "These families were humiliated and traumatized in public view and treated as suspect because they happen to be Muslim. That is unacceptable."

CAIR-NY said that two of the moms are of Pakistani descent and have accents. Two of them wear a hijab, a religious headscarf.

NYC Ferry is operated by a company through a contract with the city's Economic Development Corporation, which did not respond to a request for comment.