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Know Your Rights

Know Your Rights
American Muslim Civic

“Your Rights and Responsibilities as an American Muslim”


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.


  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. Call the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) at 800-669-4000 or local county or state civil rights agencies to educate yourself about legal options.
  6. Contact a local attorney who is licensed to practice in your state to discuss your case.
  7. DO NOT sign any documents or resign without an attorney’s advice.
  8. Ask to be transferred to another department or job site.
  9. Ask for mediation.
  10. Contact CAIR to file a report.
  11. Consider looking for a new job.


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. You have the right to be excused from class discussions or activities that you find religiously objectionable. If you have any questions, please contact CAIR.
  7. You have the right to form an extracurricular Muslim student group.



  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. If you are visited by federal law enforcement agencies, remember:
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.


  1. If you believe that you have been the victim of a hate crime, you should:
  2. Report the crime to your local police station immediately. Ask that the incident be treated as a hate crime. Follow up with investigators.
  3. Report the crime to CAIR-GA. You can do this by emailing [email protected] or by calling (612) 206-3360. Inform CAIR-GA even if you believe it is a ‘small’ incident.
  4. 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.
  5. Act quickly. Each incident must be dealt with right away, not when it is convenient.
  6. 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.
  7. Mobilize community support. Make sure that the local mosque or prominent American Muslim organizations are aware of your situation.
  8. 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.
  9. Announce results. When the incident is resolved, make an announcement to the same people and organizations originally contacted.