(WASHINGTON, DC, 8/10/17) – Last night, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) offered a "Know Your Rights as a Hajj Traveler" community training webinar for those taking part in the upcoming annual pilgrimage to Mecca. The webinar focused on travel issues related to the Trump administration’s “Muslim ban” executive orders. Hajj travelers, group leaders and others are encouraged to watch/listen to the webinar posted on CAIR’s YouTube site.
The training also provided information about the rights of American citizens and green card holders, airport security agencies, “secondary” screening, body scanners, your rights at customs and U.S. entry points, the terrorist screening database, no-fly and selectee lists, the complaints process, and more. Common scenarios were discussed.
Trainers included CAIR National Litigation Director Lena Masri, CAIR-Oklahoma Civil Rights Director Veronica Laizure, and CAIR-Florida Executive Director Hassan Shibly. The webinar was facilitated by CAIR National Chapter Director Lori Saroya.
NOTE: This webinar is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.
CAIR is also urging American Muslims traveling for Hajj to download its civil rights app and to utilize this resource to report any problems that occur during outbound travel and the return to the United States.
For a quick download of CAIR’s civil rights app, click here: http://www.cair.com/app
[MEDIA NOTE: Each year, thousands of American Muslims take part in religious observances associated with the annual Hajj, or pilgrimage to Mecca. Hajj is one of the "five pillars" of the Islamic faith. (The other pillars include a declaration of faith, daily prayers, offering regular charity, and fasting during the month of Ramadan.) Pilgrimage is a once-in-a-lifetime obligation for those who have the physical and financial ability to undertake the journey. When the main portion of the pilgrimage is completed, Muslims worldwide will gather for communal prayers on the first day (on or about September 1) of Eid ul-Adha (eed-al-ODD-ha), the second of the two major Muslim holidays.]
CAIR offers an informational pocket guide, "Your Rights and Responsibilities as an American Muslim," which states in part:
"As an airline passenger, you are entitled to courteous, respectful and non-stigmatizing treatment by airline and security personnel. It is illegal for law enforcement officials to perform any stops, searches, detentions, or removals based solely on your race, religion, national origin, sex, or ethnicity."
SEE: CAIR Know Your Rights Guide: Your Rights as an Airline Passenger
Other CAIR Hajj-specific travel recommendations for Muslim travelers include:
* Check any baggage containing Zamzam water bottles that you bring back to the U.S. Airlines will NOT allow you to carry liquids in large quantities on the plane, so be sure to check Zamzam and other liquids. (Zamzam water is drawn from a well within the Masjid al-Haram in Mecca and has religious significance for Muslims.)
* If you are bringing back dates, make sure they are processed and sufficiently dry. You may consider vacuum sealing your dates to ensure freshness and to minimize the likelihood of contamination.
* When packing, ensure that your shoes are cleansed of any soil. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has strict rules regarding entry of soil and chemicals into the country.
* If you are bringing back items worth more than $800 per person, declare them using the CBP Declaration Form made available by airline staff when landing. If you do not declare items worth more than $800, CBP may confiscate them.
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
La misión de CAIR es mejorar la comprensión del Islam, fomentar el diálogo, proteger las libertades civiles, capacitar a los musulmanes estadounidenses, y construir coaliciones que promuevan la justicia y la comprensión mutua.
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