Tarek Hamdi, a national of Egypt, has lived in the United States for over 30 years. After marrying a U.S. citizen, he became a lawful permanent resident and, in 2001, he applied to naturalize as a U.S. citizen. Although the immigration code says naturalization applications must be decided in six months, Hamdi waited nine years for a decision on the merits of his application.

VIDEO: A good citizen.

Hamdi and his U.S. citizen wife and four daughters are practicing Muslims. Hamdi donates money to charitable organizations every year in accordance with Islamic charitable giving practices and teachings, including zakat, one of the five pillars of Islam and mandatory tithing for all observant Muslims.

The ACLU/SC filed suit on Hamdi’s behalf in June 2010, asking that the court finally review the matter of his eligibility to naturalize, after USCIS had lost, delayed and finally denied his application. The agency claimed that Hamdi was “associated” with Benevolence International Foundation, an Islamic charity, solely on the basis of a lawful charitable donation he made to the organization in 2000. In 2002, the Treasury Department designated the foundation as a financier of terrorism.

Case Developments

May 10, 2012
Tarek Hamdi was sworn in as an American Citizen.

March 1, 2012
Judge Phillips ruled that Hamdi was eligible to naturalize as a U.S. citizen. Read the rulingRead more about the ruling.

June 16, 2010
The ACLU filed suit against the USCIS seeking review of Hamdi's naturalization application. Read more about the suit.

Pro Bono Law Firm(s)


Date filed

June 15, 2010


United States District Court for the Central District of California


Hon. Virginia A. Phillips

Case number