In response to multiple requests from community leaders and organization, CAIR-San Diego is providing this email to answer questions regarding the anti-Muslim protests planned for this weekend, while offering general safety advice that all communities should be aware of in light of the increase in violence we have seen this year.

CAIR-San Diego is in communication with community leaders and we have offered Community Safety Workshop for the Muslim Leaders Council of San Diego.

We also have an emergency hot-line (858) 774-9991 for all to use in case they need to speak with live person.

If you would like more information, or would like to schedule a Community Safety Workshop, please contact Hanif Mohebi, hmohebi@cair.com, or read more online
 
We encourage everyone to remain calm 
I know some members of our community are worried about these planned protests. It is important both that we do not let a minority of hateful individuals interfere with our daily lives nor should we give them the attention they crave.
 
Simply ignoring those who promote hate while at the same time taking basic precaution we should be practicing anyway is the best approach. We will use this as an opportunity to provide important general safety information we should be aware of independent of the planned protests..
 
Please understand that the ones organizing these protests are doing so to intimidate and scare our community.  Their hope is to provoke us into a counter-productive physical response.

As a community we cannot allow them to succeed. CAIR-San Diego stands with all of our San-Diego and Imperial Counties Islamic institutions and service providers.  InshaAllah, we will ensure that our community knows their rights and has the tools and resources available to remain safe and successful.
 
Who is organizing the Protests?
Basically, a loosely organized Anti-Muslim group is calling for nationwide protests of various Islamic centers and institutions. You can read about the group's plan by clicking the links below:
 
IB Times: Anti-Muslim Protests Scheduled
 
Anti-Muslim "Global Rally for Humanity" Stands in Contrast to Events Promoting Coexistence  
 
These protests have gained only "slim" support of ignorant disorganized incoherent individuals. They are definitely not representative of our fellow Americans.
 
So far, we only have information about two scheduled protest in the California.  To our knowledge, so far, no organized protests are taking place in San Diego and Imperial counties.  This does not mean that other protests may not be organized later this week or spontaneously occur on Friday or Saturday. Again, this is simply a small but vocal group of individuals seeking to promote hate.
 
What has CAIR -San Diego Done?
CAIR-San Diego has taken extra precautionary measures and has directly notified all the necessary local, state, and federal agencies about the upcoming protests. We are happy to report that law enforcement is very aware of the protests and are actively monitoring these groups through social media and other resources. We have been reassured that the government takes our community's safety and security seriously.  These agencies are on standby in case anything happens.
 
What should you do?

  1. If you are aware of a protest that is scheduled in your area, immediately contact your local law enforcement agency and CAIR-San Diego.  Feel free to call me directly at 858-774-9991.
  2. Have extra personnel on site and have them greet people as they come into the mosque/center.  
  3. These extra personnel should be vigilant and aware of their surroundings and quickly report any suspicious behavior, activity, and people.
  4. Regardless if there is a scheduled protest in your area or not, you may request a "Directed Patrol" from your local law enforcement agency. (This request will increase the amount of times a marked police car will circulate the area.)  If you need help contact CAIR-San Diego at 858-278-4547 or contact our emergency hot-line at 858-774-9991.
  5. You may hire a "Special Detail" from your local law enforcement agency to have an officer or deputy onsite with a marked patrol car during Jummah or any other event you have scheduled. Simply call your local agency and ask for the "Special Detail Unit" or "Off-duty Security" and they will get you all the information you need. Prices vary throughout the state and usually have a two to three hour minimum for the service.  This is a worthwhile investment in your safety.
  6. Educate your community as to the precautionary steps you have taken and the resources that are available to them.
  7. Important:  Please encourage everyone to stay calm and let them know that the administration of your center, CAIR-San Diego, and law enforcement throughout the state are well aware of these protests.
  8. It is important that protesters are not given the attention they seek. Ignoring them, while taking necessary safety precaution that are good general best practices anyway, is the best approach.
  9. Again if you need more information simply call CAIR-San Diego's emergency hot-line at 858-774-9991.
  10. Contact CAIR-San Diego to request a "Safety and Security Know Your Rights Session" that goes over various safety scenarios issues including active shooter, personal safety, Islamic Center safety, and home safety. This training is important for all mosques and schools to have.

 
Information about carrying firearms in San Diego
San Diego County does not permit individuals to openly carry guns.  The San Diego Sheriff's Department allows some individuals to have concealed firearms, upon city approval.  An applicant for a concealed weapon must apply on good faith that a concealed weapon is needed for his or her safety or for a legitimate business interest.  Individuals that have a concealed permit are prohibited from showing a gun.  Also, these same individuals may only carry a firearm to the extent it was approved in their permit. 

 
Frequently Asked Questions and Answers
Question:  Can people protest against Islam and/or the Muslim community?
Answer :  Yes.  People have a Constitutional right to assemble and protest, even if the reason for their protest is hateful.  However, they do not have the right to threaten you or your community, hurt anyone, or damage your property.
 
 
Question: What should we do if we see someone or something suspicious?
Answer:  Immediately call 911 and report the suspicious activity. Try to gather as much information as you can to give to the dispatcher good information.  For example note the person's sex, height, weight, clothing description, race, vehicle description (color/make/model of vehicle, and importantly, license plate number), and a description of the suspicious activity.
 
IMPORTANT NOTE:
You can call and report ANY suspicious behavior. You are not bothering law enforcement and it is "better to be safe than sorry!"
               
Simple Example: " I am calling to report a white Nissan with CA license plate # … there is a White Male wearing a red shirt sitting inside the vehicle and watching our community. Please send an officer to make sure we are safe".
 
After the situation is resolved, please report the incident to CAIR-San Diego.
 
Question: Should we have a counter protest?
Answer: We advise against having counter protests.  While you have the right to counter protest, this will likely create unsafe conditions for the community and will not accomplish anything productive.  In fact, by having a counter protest you will draw more attention to their hateful rhetoric and help them accomplish their goals.
 
Question: What happens if we are not aware of a protest but protesters show up at our Islamic Center?
Answer: Remain calm and instruct your community to stay away from the protesters. Immediately contact your local law enforcement agency and ask for an officer to respond to the scene.  Law enforcement should ensure that protesters are not breaking any laws and your community is safe. After contacting local law enforcement, contact me, Hanif Mohebi, CAIR- San Diego Executive Director, at 858-774-9991. I will assist you to determining additional steps that can be taken based on your particular situation.
 
Question: What can the Muslim Community do to be proactive and stand up against this bigotry?
Answer: A proactive approach to serving the community, developing relationships, and educating about our faith through good conduct is the best approach. Contact CAIR-San Diego to develop a proactive civic engagement and community service and relations plan to promote a better understanding and respect of our faith and community.

Additional Resource
CAIR also publishes "Best Practices for Mosque and Community Safety".  The publication was created in  response to previous attacks on American mosques. A free copy of the booklet may be requested by going to: http://www.cair.com/mosque-safety-guide.html  
CAIR-San Diego has sent these guides to each Mosques, if you need an extra please contact. 

CAIR-San Diego is here for you 24/7 and we are on the forefront of defending our community. Our staff will be in our office ready to answer any of your questions, contact our office at 858-278-4547.  If you have a safety concern, call me anytime at 858-774-9991.