As the year wrapped up, your legal team at CAIR-SFBA was active within the community in assisting individuals by providing direct legal services leading to timely representation and advocacy on a whole host of issues ranging from employment discrimination, travel complaints to filing asylum applications. We held another successful naturalization clinic as we wound down the year at the Muslim Community Association (MCA) in Santa Clara. Additionally, the team continued conducting its Know Your Rights Workshops for students who might be at risk of bullying based on protected characteristics such as racial/ethnic background and religious identity in places like the San Francisco Islamic School (SFIS) in the month of December.
CAIR-SFBA is currently representing a complainant in her complaint to California’s Department of Fair Employment & Housing (DFEH) claiming a denial of services and accommodation in a place of business by a landlord who refused to allow a Muslim woman wearing a niqab (religious garb covering the entirety of the face except for the eyes) from entering her place of employment and earning a living, as is the right of every individual protected by law . If you or anyone you know have been targets of workplace or employment-related bias incidents, please report these occurrences to CAIR-SFBA’s Civil Rights & Legal Services Department by visiting bit.ly/cairsfbareport.
While traveling within or outside the U.S. through airports or land borders, community members found that they had their electronic devices searched despite not consenting to it, which CBP agents are worryingly authorized to do so, or detained and seized for an expanded period of time. In an age of expanded data storage and access capabilities which benefit both users as well as governmental agencies seeking to pry into your life, CAIR-SFBA recommends that travelers use backup storage devices to store data; alternative and disposable electronic devices and to disable identification features like retinal scans throughout the process. If you are worried about encountering hostile CBP agents during secondary screening or extended questioning, please read through our traveler’s Know Your Rights materials that can be accessed on our website.
As a general reminder, if you find yourself or a loved one a target of discrimination and harassment while traveling, at your workplace, at healthcare facilities and on school premises, please reach out to us through our incident report form. More generally, we recommend contacting our legal department at 408. 986.9874 for personalized legal consultations or reading through our Know Your Rights materials found on our website.
Ammad Rafiqi, Esq.
Civil Rights & Legal Services Coordinator