A group of 12 American Muslims including a mayor from New Jersey are taking the US Justice Department to court to stop the government from using a secret Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) watchlist that they believe is causing them harm.
They filed their lawsuit in Massachusetts, and they say that being on the Terrorist Screening Dataset makes them feel like they're not treated equally in America.
They term it 'a life sentence of suspicion'.
Being on the list brings a lot of problems. It can lead to embarrassment in public, constant spying, trouble while travelling, job rejections, and even feeling like they're not welcome in their own country.
The lawsuit says the watchlist is like a secret list of Muslims, with over 98% of the people on it being Muslim.
The troubling part is even if someone gets off the list, the issues don't go away.
The lawsuit says the harm lasts forever, even if the government decides later that someone shouldn't have been on the list.
One of the people suing is Mohamed Khairullah, the Mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey.
He was invited to a White House celebration, but at the last minute, he was told he couldn't go. This shows how being on the watchlist can have a big impact on someone's life.
The lawsuit names some important people as the ones being sued, like Attorney General Merrick Garland, FBI Director Christopher Wray, and others.
A lawyer from the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) talked about the case.
She said that the people on the list were put there because of unclear rules, and they often unfairly target Muslims.
In fact, more than 98% of the names on the list that were made public in 2019 are Muslim. This makes it seem like the government is treating Muslims unfairly just because of their religion.
The rest of the names on the list, about 1%-2%, are people who did bad things, like being part of terrorist attacks. So, it's not fair to group everyone together, she contended.