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CAIR-LA: Visited by an FBI Agent? Know Your Rights

American Muslims strongly support law enforcement and the protection of our national security. As Americans, we also value the civil rights of every individual. All Americans have the constitutional right of due process and to be politically active.

If you know of any criminal activity taking place in your community, it is both your religious and civic duty to immediately report such activity to local and federal law enforcement agencies.

Considering recent events and the increase in FBI/Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) related incidents reported to our office in the last two months, we suggest to the Muslim community the following steps if visited by FBI/Task Force at their home or workplace:

  1. Understand that your speaking to the FBI/JTTF, absent a subpoena, is strictly voluntary. You are not obligated under law to answer any of their questions, other than giving your name and sometimes your address.
  2. If an FBI/JTTF (including officers from the Department of Homeland Security, local police, sheriff or fire departments) agent shows up at your residence or workplace, and they do not have a search or arrest warrant and absent exigent circumstances, you do not have to let them in or speak to them.
  3. If they do have an arrest or search warrant, you may exercise your right to remain silent. Comply with all directives and do not physically resist an officer.
  4. Be polite and respectful at all times.
  5. If an agent or officer says they have some questions for you, you may refuse to let them into your home or workplace, and you may ask them what their questions are regarding.
  6. If the questioning is regarding a matter that is of a legitimate law enforcement interest, you may choose to assist law enforcement.
  7. If the questioning is regarding a vague matter, or something you do not feel comfortable discussing, you may tell the agents or officers that they may contact your attorney if they wish to speak to you.
  8. Get the names, agencies, badge numbers, and business cards of any and ALL agents or officers who approach you.
  9. Contact your attorney and CAIR to report the incident and to discuss next steps.
  10. Note that anything you say to an agent or officer can be used against you in a court of law, and lying to an agent or officer is considered perjury and is a criminal offense.

Please note: This is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Should you have any questions about the material herein or about a specific case, please consult with your attorney.

ALSO SEE: FBI Interviews: Knowing the Law Can Protect You (InFocus)


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