Protecting you from illegal surveillance

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Every person in America has the right to an attorney when contacted by law enforcement of any level. CAIR’s lawyers nationwide stand ready to help when American Muslims are contacted by FBI or other law enforcement.

Just recently, an American Muslim man, who lives with his wife and three children and actively volunteers in interfaith and youth activities in his community, called CAIR to report that an FBI agent visited his home and left a business card asking him to call the agent back.

The man called CAIR knowing the importance of having an attorney contact an FBI agent and the importance of not speaking to an FBI agent without a lawyer no matter the reason the agent gives or even if he has ‘nothing to hide.’

CAIR’s lawyers contacted the FBI agent on the man’s behalf. As always, all of this work by CAIR on behalf of community members was fully free of charge. In the end there was no interview conducted and lawyer told the agents not to call the community member but to call the lawyer if they had any other questions or interviews they wanted to conduct.

The man later called CAIR-WA to tell us that prior to contacting us he had been worried about the FBI visit and unsure about how to proceed. He said that the CAIR attorney was incredibly helpful, knowledgeable and respectful. It had meant a lot to him to have our support and know that he was not the only one to have experienced this situation.

TAKE ACTION:  If an FBI agent visits you or someone you know, please follow these three simple steps:

  1. Tell the agents: "I don't want to speak with you without my lawyer. Please give me your business card (or if on the phone, "your full name, job title, and phone number") and my lawyer will contact you."
  2. Take the agents' business cards (or if on the phone, take their full name, job title, and phone number), and just end the conversation by saying, "Thank you. My lawyer will contact you. Good bye." (do not let them enter your home or business unless they have a warrant signed by a judge.) 
  3. Call CAIR’s Civil Rights Department at 202-742-6420 or file a report online at: www.cair.com/gethelp One of our expert lawyers may represent you free of charge so the lawyer can contact the FBI agent on your behalf to make sure your rights are protected

All of these services, including the lawyer's help, are provided free of charge to you. As always, we keep all of our clients’ information confidential—including their telephone number, address, email address and any other identifying information—unless they clearly give us permission to use it.


Protecting your right to work, free from discrimination

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Everyone has the right to practice their faith at work, free from discrimination or harassment. That is the promise of America and is also a basic Constitutional right.  CAIR stands ready to help when American Muslims face discrimination.

In 2015, Cargill began banning prayer in its Fort Morgan factory. Practicing Muslim employees who had worked and prayed at Cargill for many years were suddenly told that they could go home and pray or stay and work.

From December 21-23, 2015, about 150 American Muslim employees suffered a mass discharge when faced with the choice of abandoning their religion in order to work. When these employees asked their union for help, they were met with hostility and a refusal to help.  

Cargill also took a series of hostile, unlawful actions, including: Cargill supervisors began blocking the doors to the room in which Muslim employees prayed, barring anyone from entering; Cargill supervisors interrogated American Muslim employees after their bathroom breaks to ensure that they had not also prayed during their break; and upper management explicitly told American Muslim employees that they could go home and pray or stay and work.

From March through June 2016, Cargill spent more $1,000,000 in Colorado taxpayer money challenging the right of these individuals to unemployment benefits.

Then, things started to change.  On August 9, 2017, CAIR and the Rathod Mohamedbhai law firm welcomed the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) finding reasonable cause that Cargill Meat Solutions and Teamsters Local No. 455 in Colorado violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by discriminating and retaliating against hard working American Muslim employees seeking religious accommodations in December 2015.

CAIR and the Rathod Mohamedbhai law firm have been working together to help the workers. Based on these findings of egregious and widespread violations of federal civil rights law, the EEOC is trying to mediate the case among the Muslim employees, Cargill and the union. CAIR is continuing to work on this case to help the affected employees.

TAKE ACTION:  If you or someone you know experience any discrimination at work please call CAIR's Civil Rights Department at 202-742-6420 or file a report online at: www.cair.com/gethelp  All of CAIR’s services, including the help of our lawyers, is provided at zero cost to community members and we work. As always, we keep all of our clients’ information confidential—including their telephone number, address, email address and any other identifying information—unless they clearly give us permission to use it.


Protecting your right to travel freely

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Just a few months ago, CAIR was able to get two upstanding, law-abiding American Muslims removed from the unconstitutional “no fly list,” which prevents those on the list from returning to their families in the United States or from traveling on an airplane domestically or internationally.

One was Imam Yussuf Abdi, a loving husband, father and an imam of a mosque in Utah.  He was placed on the unconstitutional no-fly list and barred from returning to the United States from Kenya until CAIR and Refugee Justice League filed an emergency lawsuit on his behalf.

Another was Zijad Bosnic, a U.S. citizen and a loving husband and father from Florida, was prevented from boarding a flight back to his home in the United States from Bosnia.

Both men are glad they reported their cases to CAIR. The constitution is on our side. Our lawyers were able to help them and their families, and they are now able to travel without government interference. 

TAKE ACTION:  If you experience any discrimination while traveling, please call CAIR's Civil Rights Department at 202-742-6420 or file a report online at: www.cair.com/gethelp  All of CAIR’s services, including the help of our lawyers, is provided at zero cost to community members and we work. As always, we keep all of our clients’ information confidential—including their telephone number, address, email address and any other identifying information—unless they clearly give us permission to use it.


Protecting your right to go to school

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When students or parents contact CAIR chapters for help, we are there to help them. 

Our civil rights attorneys and staff make sure that students who report bullying are protected and their cases are taken seriously. Our message is clear: Every student, including Muslim students, has the right to go to school without fear of harassment or bullying. Even if the harassment or bullying is done by a teacher.  We are there to help. 

In November, 2017, CAIR called on school officials in Virginia to protect a Muslim student who is facing cyberbullying after reporting that a teacher forcibly-removed her hijab.   See our letter and press release here: www.cair.com/press-center/press-releases/14803-cair-seeks-protection-for-va-muslim-student-facing-cyberbullying-for-reporting-hijab-removal-by-teacher.html

Also in November, 2017 CAIR called for a criminal investigation and firing of a teacher in Tennessee after we saw a video of the teacher forcibly removing a Muslim student’s hijab in the class room. WATCH the VIDEO and details of the case here: www.cair.com/press-center/press-releases/14778-cair-calls-for-police-probe-firing-of-teacher-after-tennessee-student-s-hijab-forcibly-removed-in-class.html

TAKE ACTION: If you experience any discrimination at school or anywhere else, please call CAIR's Civil Rights Department at 202-742-6420 or file a report online at: www.cair.com/gethelp  All of CAIR’s civil rights services, including the help of our lawyers, is provided at zero cost to community members and we work. As always, we keep all of our clients’ information confidential—including their telephone number, address, email address and any other identifying information—unless they clearly give us permission to use it.


Protecting Your Right to Compete

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On April 20, 2017, CAIR secured a religious exemption for Amaiya Zafar, a 16-year-old female American Muslim boxer in Minnesota who was previously barred from competition because she wears an Islamic head scarf, or hijab.

Amaiya Zafar, who’s from Oakdale, Minnesota, will be allowed to compete wearing hijab under a new rule covering religious exemptions that was formally adopted by the USA Boxing board of directors in June, 2017.  Under the new rule, which applies only to local "non-advancing matched bouts," a request for a religious exemption must be made for each event in which the boxer wishes to participate.

See USA Boxing’s guide: Religious Exemptions – Mandates Required by Your Religious Affiliation
See Mashable article: Amaiya Zafar's Mission to Break Stereotypes

Zafar was then scheduled to box at an event on Saturday, April 29, 2017 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She made boxing history by becoming the first boxer allowed to fight in a USA Boxing-sanctioned event while wearing hijab.

CAIR had repeatedly called for the Switzerland-based International Boxing Association (AIBA) and USA Boxing to grant a religious exemption to uniform regulations so that Zafar could wear hijab during competition. See the press release: CAIR Asks International Body to Allow Minnesota Teenage Muslim Boxer to Compete Wearing Hijab

USA Boxing is the governing body for Olympic-style boxing in the United States and a member organization of the United States Olympic Committee. The International Boxing Association (AIBA) is the worldwide governing body for the sport of boxing in all its forms.

Many international athletic organizations have already modified their rules and policies to account for the various religious needs of participants. For example, over the past few years, the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) and the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) have all lifted their respective bans on religious headgear, including hijabs.

CAIR is awaiting a decision by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) to lift its ban on religious headgear that bars Muslim, Sikh and Jewish athletes from competing on a professional level.

See: 50+ Groups Release Open Letter to FIBA Urging Religious Rights for Sikh, Muslim and Jewish Athletes

In the past, CAIR helped a Muslim wrestler at the University at Buffalo in New York obtain a waiver from the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) to wear a beard he believes is required by his faith.

See: CAIR Helps NY Muslim Wrestler Obtain NCAA Waiver for Beard

In 2011, CAIR welcomed a decision by the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) to modify its policy on competitor apparel to allow modest Islamic attire. The IWF policy change came following intervention by CAIR in the case of a Muslim weightlifter in Georgia who wished to compete while covering her hair, arms and legs.

Read about how Kulsoom Abdullah American Muslim female weightlifter from Georgia, is changing policies:

Also read about how Ja’Nan Hayes, an American Muslim varsity high school basketball player from Gaithersburg, Maryland helped change her school district policy allowing her to play basketball with her hijab:

TAKE ACTION: If you experience any discrimination in sports or anywhere else, please call CAIR's Civil Rights Department at 202-742-6420 or file a report online.

All of CAIR’s civil rights services, including the help of our lawyers, is provided at zero cost to community members and we work. As always, we keep all of our clients’ information confidential—including their telephone number, address, email address and any other identifying information—unless they clearly give us permission to use it.