The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the United State’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organisation, has released “a “Know Your Rights” set of community advisory guidelines, in light of American-Iranian tensions. The guidelines are directed at all those who may be impacted by the threat of war between the two countries, including Iranian-Americans, Syrian-Americans, and Iraqi-Americans.
CAIR has said this has been prompted by the reported targeting of Iranian-Americans for special scrutiny at the U.S. border. More than 60 Iranians and Iranian-Americans were held at Washington State’s Border with Canada last week, after returning from work trips and holidays, for additional questioning regarding their political views and allegiances. Unsubstantiated speculation surrounding possible Iranian attacks on American targets, allegations of “sleeper cells”, after Iran threatened to retaliate against the United States for its killing of top Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, also led CAIR to issue this advisory. CAIR’s Washington Chapter has also assisted those reportedly detained on the ground.
Gadeir Abbas, Senior Litigation Attorney at CAIR, has warned that “Policy-makers and opinion leaders should exercise caution at this tense and critical moment”, and not allow for “fear-mongering war rhetoric to endanger our fellow Americans, whatever their faith or heritage.”
If visited by federal law enforcement agents, advice includes a reminder of the legal right to have a lawyer present, even if the person held is not an American citizen, nor has been arrested or detained; and that they are under no obligation to permit any law enforcement officer to enter their home or office without a search warrant.
CAIR has similar “Know your Rights” Guidelines for students, employees, while traveling, and knowing what to do after a hate crime/Incident.