Tuesday, 31 January 2023

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L Learn About Your Rights

Know Your Rights

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The founding fathers of this nation gave their sweat and blood to establish a country based on profound principles such as freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom from unwarranted government harassment, and other great ideals. Knowing our rights is the first step to protecting these rights for ourselves and future generations to come.


You have the right to:


1. Practice your faith without harassment or discrimination

2. Be safe from unwarranted government harassment or intimidation


But you can only do that if you are aware of your rights! Read the sections below to learn more about your rights, contact us to schedule a free Know Your Rights Workshop for your community, or file a complaint if you feel your rights have been violated to get free legal assistance! 


Table of Contents 

► Your Rights as an Employee ► Reacting to Workplace Discrimination
► Your Right as a Student ► Your Rights as a Traveler
► Your Rights When Contacted by Law Enforcement ► Responding to Hate-Crimes
► Getting Involved Locally ► Writing a Letter to the Editor
► Making Our Voices Heard ► Communicating with Congress
► What is CAIR?  



Your Rights as an Employee

Federal law makes it illegal for an employer to discriminate against an employee on the basis of religion, race, or national origin.

Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act guarantees your right to:


  1. Reasonable religious accommodation. 
    The failure of an employer to reasonably accommodate your religious practices may constitute employment discrimination. ‘Religious practices’ include wearing a beard, prayer breaks, hijab and going to Jummah (Friday) prayers.

  2. Fairness in hiring, firing, and promotions. 
    Your employer is prohibited from considering religion when making decisions affecting your employment status.

  3. A non-hostile work environment.
    Your employer must ensure that you are not subjected to anti-Muslim insults, harassment or unwelcome and excessive proselytizing.

  4. Complain about discrimination without fear of retaliation. 
    Federal law guarantees your right to report an act of alleged employment discrimination. It is illegal for your employer to retaliate against you for your complaint.

Reacting to Workplace Discrimination

  1. Remain calm and polite.

  2. Inform the offending party that you believe his/her actions are discriminatory.

  3. Report the discriminatory action in writing to company management.

  4. Begin documenting the discrimination by saving memos, keeping a detailed journal, noting the presence of witnesses and making written complaints. Make sure to keep copies of all materials. It is important to keep a “paper trail” of evidence.

  5. DO NOT sign any documents or resign without an attorney’s advice.

  6. Contact CAIR to file a report.

Your Rights as a Student

You have the right to inform others about your religion. You have the right to pass out literature or speak to others about Islam, as long as it is not done in a disruptive manner.


You have the right to wear religious clothing. You also have the right to wear clothing with a religious message, as long as other clothes with similar messages are allowed.


You have the right to organize student-led prayer on campus, as long as the service is not disruptive to the function of the school.


You may have the right to attend Friday prayer. The Supreme Court has upheld the right of states to allow students “release time” to attend religious classes or services.


You have the right to be excused from school for religious holidays. You should be sure to inform the school that you will be absent in advance.


You have the right to form an extracurricular Muslim student group.


Your Rights as a Traveler

As an airline passenger, you are entitled to courteous, respectful and non-stigmatizing treatment by airline and security personnel. You have the right to complain about treatment that you believe is discriminatory. If you believe you have been treated in a discriminatory manner, immediately:

  1. Ask for the names and ID numbers of all persons involved in the incident. Be sure to write this information down.

  2. Ask to speak to a supervisor.

  3. Ask if you have been singled out because of your name, looks, dress, race, ethnicity, faith, or national origin.

  4. Ask witnesses to give you their names and contact information.

  5. Write down a statement of facts immediately after the incident. Be sure to include the flight number, the flight date, and the name of the airline.

  6. Contact CAIR to file a report.


Your Rights When Contacted by Law Enforcement 

American Muslims strongly support law enforcement and the protection of our national security. As Americans, we also value the civil rights of all Americans. 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.


If you are visited by federal law enforcement agencies, remember:


  1. You should have a lawyer present when speaking with federal law enforcement agencies. Under the law, you have the legal right to have a lawyer present when speaking with federal law enforcement agencies. This is true even if you are not a citizen. This is your legal right. Refusing to answer questions cannot be held against you and does not imply that you have something to hide.

  2. You do not have to permit them to enter your home or office if they do not have a warrant. Under U.S. law, law enforcement agents must possess a search warrant in order to enter your house. If they say they have a warrant, kindly demand to see it before allowing them to enter. The warrant will specify exactly what can be searched and if they have a warrant, be courteous and polite and remember that you are under no obligation to answer questions without a lawyer present.

  3. You should never lie or provide false information to any law enforcement agencies. Lying to law enforcement agents is a federal crime and should never be done under any circumstance.





Responding to Hate Crimes

If you believe that you have been the victim of a hate crime, you should:

  1. Report the crime to your local police station immediately. Ask that the incident be treated as a hate crime. Follow up with investigators.

  2. Report the crime to CAIR. You can do this by clicking here or202-488-8787. Inform CAIR even if you believe it is a ‘small’ incident.

  3. Document the incident. Write down exactly what was said and/or done by the offender (including dates, times and places). Save all of the evidence and try to take photographs.

  4. Act quickly. Each incident must be dealt with right away, not when it is convenient.

  5. Decide on the appropriate action to be taken. Consider issuing a statement from community leaders, holding a news conference, organizing a peaceful protest, meeting with local officials or starting a letter writing campaign.

  6. Mobilize community support. Make sure that the local mosque or prominent American Muslim organizations are aware of your situation.

  7. Stay on top of the situation. Make sure you follow up with police, local media and community leaders to make sure that your case is receiving the attention that it deserves.

  8. Announce results. When the incident is resolved, make an announcement to the same people and organizations originally contacted.

Getting Involved Locally


  1. Introduce yourself to your neighbors of all faiths, races and ethnicities.

  2. Join your children’s school Parent Teacher Association (PTA) and other organizations.

  3. Donate well-written books or audio cassettes about Islam to the local public and school libraries.

  4. Make sure that you are registered to vote in local, state and national elections.

  5. Join or start a local CAIR chapter.

  6. Attend school board meetings and city council meetings. Check newspaper calendars for dates and times.

  7. Put together a Ramadan or Hajj display at a local school or library.

  8. Submit an opinion piece to your newspaper about an issue of local importance.

  9. Invite local community leaders and public to a mosque open house. (Contact CAIR for tips).

  10. Host civic events for the public such as blood drives and health fairs at your local mosque.

  11. Get yourself and your mosque involved in local issues affecting all Americans.

  12. Schedule local and national officials to speak about community issues at your local mosques. (Congressperson, police chief, mayor, city council members, etc.)

Writing a Letter to the Editor

Most letters to the editor do not get published. To increase your chances of publication, be sure to follow the following guidelines:


  • Keep your letter to no more than 150-250 words.

  • React quickly to news of the day, negative coverage or views you support. If possible, have the letter in the hands of an editor on the same day.

  • Be authoritative. If possible, speak on behalf of a local organization in which you are involved.

  • Pick one main topic and focus only on that one issue.

  • Address the letter to “The Letters Editor.”

  • Be passionate or even controversial, but avoid rhetoric and defamation.

  • State the PURPOSE of the letter in 25 words or less.

  • Give background information on the issue or misconception. Cite impartial and objective sources.

  • Offer a reasonable and fair solution to the problem you are addressing in your letter.

Making Our Voices Heard

(Remember to be polite.)





ABC News



CBS News




NBC News








Fox News
















NY Times




USA Today




WS Journal




Washington Post












U.S. News











http://www.house.gov |http://www.senate.gov

White House





Communicating with Congress

The letter is the most popular choice of communication with a congressional office.


If you decide to write a letter, this list of helpful suggestions will improve the effectiveness of your letter:


  1. Your purpose for writing should be stated in the first paragraph of the letter. If the letter pertains to a specific piece of legislation, identify it accordingly, e.g., House bill: H.R. __________________, Senate bill: __________________.

  2. Be courteous, to the point, and include key information, using examples to support your position.

  3. Address only one issue in each issue letter. If possible, keep the letter to one page.

Addressing Correspondence
To a Senator: The Honorable (full name)
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510
Dear Senator (last name):


To a Representative: The Honorable (full name)
House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515
Dear Representative (last name):


Note: When writing to the Chair of a Committee or the Speaker of the House, it is proper to address them as: Dear Mr. Chairman or Madam Chairwoman.


What is CAIR?

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is a nonprofit, grassroots membership organization.


CAIR’s mission is to enhance general understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims and build coalitions that promote social justice and mutual understanding.


Become part of CAIR’s network
Join our “CAIR-NET” e-mail list to receive updates on issues impacting Muslims in America and around the world. Join CAIR-NET by clicking "Subscribe" at the top of this page.


How can I help CAIR?
Membership in CAIR is open to individuals and organizations that support our work.


You can help us achieve our goals by: 
1) becoming a member or renewing your membership, 
2) helping establish a local chapter for CAIR, and 
3) donating generously to help defray the expenses involved in this work. Monthly automatic deductions, even in small amounts, are best. Click here to support our work,




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