CAIR-NY, CAIR-NJ Challenge Trump Administration’s ‘Digital Muslim Ban’ Cellphone Seizure

CAIR-NY, CAIR-NJ Challenge Trump Administration’s ‘Digital Muslim Ban’ Cellphone Seizure

Muslim civil rights group says customs officials kept cellphone for 130 days without any warrant or explanation

(NEW YORK, NY, 8/23/18) – The New York and New Jersey chapters of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY and CAIR-NJ), state chapters of the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights group, today filed a case in federal court challenging U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) warrantless and unconstitutional seizure of an American Muslim U.S. citizen’s cell phone. 

Rejhane Lazoja, a 39-year-old woman residing in Staten Island, N.Y., had her phone taken when she landed at Newark Liberty International Airport earlier this year.  CBP held Lazoja’s iPhone 6S Plus and SIM card for 130 days, never explaining why they were taken. When CBP finally returned the phone, they refused to destroy copies of the data.

SEE: Woman: My iPhone Was Seized at Border, Then Imaged—Feds Must Now Delete Data

https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2018/08/woman-my-iphone-was-seized-at-border-then-imaged-feds-now-must-delete-data/

“The Trump administration needs to understand that our border is not a Constitution-free zone,” said CAIR-NY Legal Director Albert Fox Cahn. “As the U.S. Supreme Court has recognized, there is nothing more invasive than searching and copying the data on our smartphones. These phones track our location, our conversations and even our passing thoughts. Muslim travelers must not be subjected to this warrantless electronic dragnet simply for practicing their faith. Americans don’t forfeit their Fourth Amendment rights against searches simply for going to the airport. If CBP wants to search our phones, or if they want to access our social media accounts and text messages, I have a simple answer: get a warrant.”

The CBP has been profiling Muslims for years as they cross the border,” said CAIR-NJ Legal Director Jay Rehman. “Their latest tactic of confiscating phones and attempting to retrieve data is a blatant violation of the Fourth Amendment privacy guaranteed under the Constitution.”

“It is astonishing that our government believes it is lawful to take phones for months from people who have done nothing wrong,” said CAIR-NY Attorney Carey Shenkman. “What happened to Ms. Lazoja, and so often does to Muslims who travel, is reprehensible.”

 

“When I came back to the U.S., I expected to be welcomed home,” said plaintiff Rejhane Lazoja. “Instead, I was questioned, degraded, and had my phone taken away. I expected better from my country and from customs officials.”

 

CAIR-NY and CAIR-NJ filed the case this morning in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey alleging that CBP violated the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution both by taking Lazoja’s iPhone, and by keeping it for months after she returned home to the United States on February 26, 2018. The case is styled as a motion for return of property under Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 41(g), and the Defendants include U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kristjen Nielsen, CBP Commissioner Kevin K. Mcaleenan, and CBP Newark Port Director Adele Fasano.
 

The motion argues that CBP violated Lazoja’s Fourth Amendment rights not only by seizing the phone, but by the length of time the phone was retained and by any copying of her personal data. In June the U.S. Supreme Court held in Carpenter v. United States that police need to obtain a warrant in order to seize cell tower location data.

According to the filing: “Seizing and searching a cell phone is unlike seizing or searching any other property. Cell phones are a uniquely intimate and expansive repository of our lives. They do far more than just make calls and send e-mails; they monitor and log much of our movement, activity, and even our thinking in real time. They enable us to stay connected with coworkers and loved ones -- losing a phone essentially cuts one off from modern society. In June, the Supreme Court recognized the indispensability of cell phones and the heightened privacy interests at stake when they are utilized in warrantless investigations.”

SEE: August 23, 2018 Brief Supporting Motion for Return of Property.

http://www.cair-ny.org/s/Lazoja-v-Nielsen-et-al-DNJ-FRCrP-Rule-41g-motion-8d5y.pdf

CBP has steadily increased electronic device searches at airports in recent years.  In fiscal year 2017, they searched 30,200 devices, up from 19,051 in the prior fiscal year. 

SEE: The Cybersecurity 202: Warrantless device searches at the border are rising. Privacy advocates are suing.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/paloma/the-cybersecurity-202/2018/08/07/the-cybersecurity-202-warrantless-device-searches-at-the-border-are-rising-privacy-advocates-are-suing/5b6883771b326b0207955f46/?

Meanwhile, Muslim travelers report that they are stopped for highly-invasive secondary inspection searches nearly three times as often as other Americans when traveling. According to a recent survey of Muslim travelers, 30 percent reported being subjected to secondary screening, which often includes cellphone searches, compared with 12 percent of overall travelers.

SEE: ISPU American Muslim Poll 2017

https://www.ispu.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/American-Muslim-Poll-2017-Report.pdf
 
The case comes as federal courts increasingly recognize that cellphones contain uniquely intimate data, and that searches of the data, apps, and other records they contain should require a warrant. 

The invasion was even more severe for Lazoja, whose phone contained confidential attorney-client communications and photos of her without her hijab (Islamic head scarf). Lazoja wears the hijab as an expression of her Islamic faith, covering her hair in front of men who are not relatives. CBP’s retention of such photos only compounds the trauma of this warrantless invasion of her privacy. Additionally, CBP may share this same data with local and other federal law enforcement agencies.

CAIR’s mission is to protect civil rights, enhance understanding of Islam, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.

La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.

END

CAIR-NY Welcomes Arrest in Islamophobic Hate Attack on Manhattan Street Vendor

(NEW YORK, NY, 7/25/18) - The New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY) today welcomed an arrest for the allegedly Islamophobic hate attack on a Manhattan street vendor Hassane Elbaz.


The attacker reportedly insulted and harassed Elbaz for days before the July 12 attack. The assailant allegedly snuck up behind Elbaz’s cart and attacked and injured both Elbaz and his colleague. The alleged attacker also reportedly shouted “I'm going to f--k you up, terrorist m----------r! Arab, go back to your country!” The suspect fled before the NYPD arrived. After initially declining to label the attack bias-motivated for a week, the NYPD reassigned the case to the Hate Crimes Task Force following CAIR-NY’s call for a hate crime investigation.


SEE: CAIR-NY Condemns Assault on Muslim Street Vendor, Calls for Hate Crime Probe  

http://www.cair-ny.org/news/2018/7/17/cair-ny-condemns-assault-on-muslim-street-vendor-calls-for-hate-crime-probe-

Manhattan Food Vendor Says Man Beat Him Outside His Cart in an Anti-Muslim Attack

http://www.ny1.com/nyc/all-boroughs/news/2018/07/17/manhattan-man-says-man-beat-him-after-days-of-racist-verbal-harassment  

 

SEE: Photos of Injuries

https://tinyurl.com/y7qtm7yn

https://tinyurl.com/y924746j

https://tinyurl.com/yayezx44

 

CAIR-NY Legal Director Albert Fox Cahn said in a statement. 


“We’re grateful to the NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force for its quick response to our call for a hate crime investigation. There is no place for this sort of hate or violence in our city. How have we become a place in which our neighbors are being stabbed and brutalized in broad daylight because of their faith or national origin? All New Yorkers must stand in solidarity with our Muslim neighbors and show that we’re better than this. Together we must show that New York is still a city in which we all can practice our faith in safety.” 

 

Cahn said his attack shows why it is dangerous for the NYPD to push anti-Muslim measures like Int. 0959 – 2018, which would ban predominantly Muslim vendors from large portions of Lower Manhattan.

 

“These anti-Muslim measures and the hatred from leaders in Washington is creating a climate of violence on our streets,” said Cahn.

This attack is the latest in a string of anti-Muslim attacks and incidents of harassment. From 2015-2017, CAIR-NY has recorded a 974 percent increase in the number of anti-Muslim acts of discrimination and violence that occurred across the state. Despite the acute uptick in bias incidents, a recent report by the NYC Commission on Human Rights found that up to 71 percent of victims don’t report these incidents to anyone.

Last month, CAIR-NY testified against Int. 0959 – 2018, a city council measure that would evict 22 street vendors from Lower Manhattan. Of the 22 vendors that would be affected, 18 are Muslim. At the same time, a farmer’s market with predominately non-Muslim vendors would be permitted to remain on the World Trade Center site itself.

SEE: CAIR-NY Testimony against Int. 0959 – 2018

https://static1.squarespace.com/static/57db6af7f7e0abec41695d80/t/5b2298c48a922dcebae2fa56/1528993988846/2018-6-14+WTC+Food+Vendors+Testimony+FINAL.PDF

Advocates Slam City Proposal Limiting Vendors Near WTC

https://patch.com/new-york/downtown-nyc/advocates-slam-city-proposal-limiting-vendors-near-wtc

Community members are asked to report any bias incidents to police and to CAIR-NY at (646) 665-7599, or by filing a report at: http://www.cair-ny.org/incident-report/

CAIR’s mission is to protect civil rights, enhance understanding of Islam, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.

La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.

--END--

CONTACT: CAIR-NY Legal Director Albert Fox Cahn; acahn@cair.com; 571-766-6273

CAIR-NY, Activists and Street Vendors to Hold Press Conference Following Anti-Muslim Attack

Media Advisory


(NEW YORK, NY, 7/18/18) – On Thursday, July 19, the New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY), advocates and street vendors will hold a press conference responding to a recent hate attack on Hassane Elbaz. 


CAIR-NY, Activists and Street Vendors to Hold Press Conference Following Anti-Muslim Attack

On July 12, the alleged assailant reportedly snuck up behind Elbaz’s cart and attacked and injured both Elbaz and his colleague. The alleged attacker reportedly shouted “I'm going to f--k you up, terrorist m----------r! Arab, go back to your country!” The suspect fled before the NYPD arrived. According to media reports, the NYPD has not yet classified the assault as a hate crime.
 
SEE: CAIR-NY Condemns Assault on Muslim Street Vendor, Calls for Hate Crime Probe   
http://www.cair-ny.org/news/2018/3/23/cair-ny-welcomes-conviction-of-oscar-morel-for-queens-double-homicide

WHAT: CAIR-NY, Activists and Street Vendors Hold a Press Conference Following Anti-Muslim Attack

WHO: CAIR-NY, The Street Vendor Project (a project of Urban Justice Center) and allies

WHEN: Thursday, July 19th at 11 AM

WHERE: Outside of 636 Broadway, New York, NY 10012
CAIR’s mission is to protect civil rights, enhance understanding of Islam, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.
 

La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.

- END –

CAIR-NY Condemns Assault on Muslim Street Vendor, Calls for Hate Crime Probe   

(NEW YORK, NY, 7/17/18) – The New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY), a leading Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today condemned an allegedly bias-motivated attack last week in Manhattan targeting Muslim street vendor Hassane Elbaz.

According to media reports, the attacker insulted and harassed Elbaz for days before the attack. On July 12, the alleged assailant reportedly snuck up behind Elbaz’s cart and attacked and injured both Elbaz and his colleague. The alleged attacker reportedly shouted “I'm going to f--k you up, terrorist m----------r! Arab, go back to your country!” The suspect fled before the NYPD arrived. According to media reports, the NYPD has not yet classified the assault as a hate crime.

SEE: Manhattan Food Vendor Says Man Beat Him Outside His Cart in an Anti-Muslim Attack

http://www.ny1.com/nyc/all-boroughs/news/2018/07/17/manhattan-man-says-man-beat-him-after-days-of-racist-verbal-harassment  

CAIR-NY Legal Director Albert Fox Cahn said in a statement. 

“There is no place for this sort of hate or violence in our city. How have we become a place in which our neighbors are being stabbed and brutalized in broad daylight because of their faith or national origin? All New Yorkers must stand in solidarity with our Muslim neighbors and show that we’re better than this. Together we must show that New York is still a city in which we all can practice our faith in safety.” 

Cahn said his attack shows why it is dangerous for the NYPD to push anti-Muslim measures like Int. 0959 – 2018, which would ban predominantly Muslim vendors from large portions of Lower Manhattan.

“These anti-Muslim measures and the hatred from leaders in Washington is creating a climate of violence on our streets,” said Cahn.

This attack is the latest in a string of anti-Muslim attacks and incidents of harassment. From 2015-2017, CAIR-NY has recorded a 974 percent increase in the number of anti-Muslim acts of discrimination and violence that occurred across the state. Despite the acute uptick in bias incidents, a recent report by the NYC Commission on Human Rights found that up to 71 percent of victims don’t report these incidents to anyone.

Last month, CAIR-NY testified against Int. 0959 – 2018, a city council measure that would evict 22 street vendors from Lower Manhattan. Of the 22 vendors that would be affected, 18 are Muslim. At the same time, a farmer’s market with predominately non-Muslim vendors would be permitted to remain on the World Trade Center site itself.

SEE: CAIR-NY Testimony against Int. 0959 – 2018

https://static1.squarespace.com/static/57db6af7f7e0abec41695d80/t/5b2298c48a922dcebae2fa56/1528993988846/2018-6-14+WTC+Food+Vendors+Testimony+FINAL.PDF

Advocates Slam City Proposal Limiting Vendors Near WTC

https://patch.com/new-york/downtown-nyc/advocates-slam-city-proposal-limiting-vendors-near-wtc

Community members are asked to report any bias incidents to police and to CAIR-NY at (646) 665-7599, or by filing a report at: http://www.cair-ny.org/incident-report/

CAIR’s mission is to protect civil rights, enhance understanding of Islam, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.

La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.

CAIR-NY Condemns Anti-Muslim Harassment on NYC Transit, Calls for Increased Bystander Education

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

(NEW YORK, NY, 07/12/18) – The New York chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY), a leading Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today condemned a recent act of anti-Muslim harassment on a NYC bus and called on the MTA to implement bystander-education programs.

In a YouTube video posted Wednesday night, a hate-spewing passenger on a Brooklyn-bound bus allegedly named “Ashley” can be seen viciously harassing a Muslim passenger who was wearing a headscarf. In the video, “Ashley” shouts at the Muslim woman “you f---ing speak English?” and “ICE is here for you.” She gives her name and says, “I’m fighting… because she thinks she has rights that she doesn’t have.” Many of the passengers can be seen ignoring the situation entirely.  

“It’s time the MTA got serious about combating acts of harassment that New Yorkers witness every day that pose just as much a threat to the system as the ongoing infrastructure woes,” said CAIR-NY Legal Director Albert Cahn. “This city prides itself on its commitment to diversity, and it cannot continue to lag behind others where it should be leading. Every New Yorker has a role to play in making public transportation safer for everyone.”

This latest incident is part of a well-documented pattern of anti-Muslim harassment on public transportation in New York City. A recent report by the New York City Commission on Human Rights found more than a quarter of Muslim women who wear the hijab have been pushed on the subway platform. Since 2016, CAIR-NY has recorded a 974% increase in the number of anti-Muslim acts of discrimination and violence. Despite the acute uptick in discrimination, the NYC Commission’s report also found that up to 71% of victims don’t report the incidents to anyone.

Given these statistics, CAIR-NY is calling on the MTA to implement bystander education programs, with a focus on preparing New Yorkers to intervene in acts of discrimination on public transit. Cities including Boston and San Francisco have already tackled similar problems by posting informational posters throughout their transit systems. The posters empower commuters to be prepared and diffuse volatile and hate-filled situations.

Community members are asked to report any bias incidents to police and to CAIR-NY at (646) 665-7599, or by filing a report at: http://www.cair-ny.org/incident-report/

Yesterday, CAIR’s national office released an update on anti-Muslim incidents nationwide in the second quarter (April-June) of 2018. CAIR’s quarterly report indicated that anti-Muslim bias incidents and hate crimes are up 83 and 21 percent respectively, as compared to the first quarter of 2018.

 READ the Full CAIR Quarterly Report on American Muslim Civil Rights:

https://www.cair.com/cair_report_anti_muslim_bias_incidents_hate_crimes_spike_in_second_quarter_of_2018

 CAIR has reported an unprecedented spike in bigotry targeting American Muslims and members of other minority groups since the election of Donald Trump as president.

 The Washington-based organization’s recently-released 2018 Civil Rights Report, “Targeted,” showed a 17 percent increase in bias-motivated incidents against American Muslims from 2016 to 2017, and a 15 percent increase in the number of anti-Muslim hate crimes in that same time period.

 New CAIR Report: Trump's Muslim Bans Increased Anti-Muslim Discrimination, Violence

CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.

La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.

CAIR-NY Files Amicus Brief Challenging 2020 Census Citizenship Question.

July 11, 2018

CAIR-NY filed an amicus curiae as part of a group including former Secretary of Commerce, Secretary of Transportation and Congressman Norman Y. Mineta, Joy Sakamoto Barker, Eileen Yoshiko Sakamoto Okada, and Sharon A. Sakamoto, who were incarcerated along with tens of thousands of other Japanese Americans during WWII; the Council on American-Islamic Relations, New York, Inc.; and the Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality in filing a brief challenging the 2020 census citizenship question.

[NEW YORK, NY] joined an amicus curiae group in filing a brief today supporting the challengers in the ongoing 2020 census citizenship question litigation (New York Immigration Coalition v. United States Department of Commerce). The amici include the Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality at Seattle University School of Law (Korematsu Center), the Council on American-Islamic Relations, New York (CAIR-NY), and four American citizens of Japanese descent whose incarceration during World War II was partly due to the Census Bureau’s cooperation and sharing of data with the War Department.

In the brief filed today, the amici argue that the District Court can and should meaningfully review the Census Bureau’s addition of the citizenship question to determine whether it violates the Administrative Procedure Act and the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution. The amici remind the court that absolute deference to the political branches has permitted historical abuses of both individual and group-level census information. Further, they argue that the government’s insistence on such deference relies on a novel, untenable distinction between constitutionally-mandated enumeration and the manner of that enumeration. History shows that the form of the census can meaningfully stunt the quality of its enumeration results. 

With respect to the filing, Professor Robert S. Chang, executive director of the Korematsu Center, said, “Norman Mineta, Joy Sakamoto Barker, Eileen Yoshiko Sakamoto Okada, Sharon A. Sakamoto, and the tens of thousands of other Japanese Americans incarcerated during World War II experienced the effects of abuse by the political branches of the census process and know how important it is for courts to execute their constitutionally mandated oversight to prevent such abuses. Today, the Korematsu Center is proud to stand with them and with CAIR-NY to defend the rights of immigrants and their communities against the return of abusive census policies.”

Albert Fox Cahn, legal director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations said “History shows how dangerous census data can be when abused to target immigrant and minority communities. Our brief calls on the district court to fulfill its constitutional duty to block unlawful discrimination. If we fail to stop these abuses, it could damage our democracy for the next decade, if not a generation.”

Sharon Sakamoto on behalf of her sisters, Joy Sakamoto Barker and Eileen Yoshiko Sakamoto Okada, said “In 1940, the power of the census was levied against our family and our community, resulting in the incarceration of hundreds of thousands of Japanese Americans. Today, we and our fellow amici ardently urge the court to prevent a repeat of this abuse against today’s at-risk immigrant communities.”

Norman Y. Mineta, former Secretary of Commerce in the Clinton administration and Secretary of Transportation in the George W. Bush administration, said of the amicus brief “Public trust in the census is critical if we are to continue using it to determine political representation and the allocation of public funds. That trust cannot exist when the census is used as a tool of marginalization against immigrant communities as it was in 1940.”

Lead pro bono counsel, Robert H. Pees of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, said, “This court should exercise its constitutionally mandated role to subject the executive branch’s actions to meaningful judicial review under the Equal Protection Clause.”

The individuals and organizations joining the amicus brief today are: Norman Y. Mineta, Joy Sakamoto Barker, Eileen Yoshiko Sakamoto Okada, Sharon A. Sakamoto, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, New York, and the Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality at Seattle University School of Law.

Pro bono counsel on the brief are: Robert S. Chang and Lorraine K. Bannai of the Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality, Albert Fox Cahn of CAIR-NY and attorneys from Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, including Robert H. Pees, Alice Hsu, Martine E. Cicconi, Geoffrey J. Derrick, Bailey A, Pepe and Elizabeth G. Atkins.

The amicus brief filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York is available at http://www.cair-ny.org/s/Census-Amicus.pdf.

Procedural Background

 

The census provisions at issue are questions about the citizenship, country of origin, and naturalization of census respondents. Opponents of the policy, including ten former Census Bureau directors spanning 34 years of service under both Republican and Democratic administrations, note that such questions have not been asked of all census-takers since 1950 and could potentially cause a major undercount of certain communities. That, in turn, threatens federal funding and representation in the Electoral College for cities and states with significant immigrant populations. The Census Bureau has published internal research showing that the climate of fear created by the Trump administration has increased immigrant concerns about census confidentiality, which may disproportionately impact data quality and coverage of those immigrant communities on the 2020 Census.

In the instant case, plaintiffs, including the New York Immigration Coalition, assert that the Department of Commerce’s addition of the citizenship question violates the Administrative Procedure Act and the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution. They also contend that the question is designed to function as a tool in the Trump administration’s campaign of hostility and fearmongering towards immigrants and people of color.

In its defense, the federal government responded that the court should defer wholly to the executive branch because the citizenship question does not affect the constitutionally required enumeration of citizens. Instead, the government argues that the citizenship question is merely part of the manner of executing that enumeration. The government contends that because the Constitution gives Congress the power to “direct” the “[m]anner” of the decennial enumeration, and Congress has delegated that power to the Secretary of Commerce and the Census Bureau, the judiciary is unable to review the “manner” of enumeration.

Oral arguments on a Motion to Dismiss in a companion case, New York v. United States Department of Commerce, as well as discovery requests in both cases, took place on July 3, 2018. At the conclusion of those arguments, Judge Jesse Furman ordered significant discovery for the plaintiffs in the consolidated cases and indicated his intention to rule that at least some of the claims would survive the motion to dismiss. He also stated his finding that the New York plaintiffs had made a plausible prima facie case that the Secretary of Commerce’s justification for the citizenship question – enforcement of the Voting Rights Act – was pretextual.

CAIR’s mission is to protect civil rights, enhance understanding of Islam, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.

La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.

--End--

 

CAIR-NY Seeks Human Rights Probe of Laura Loomer’s Reported ‘Boycott’ of Muslim Uber Drivers

For Immediate Release

CAIR-NY Seeks Human Rights Probe of Laura Loomer’s Reported ‘Boycott’ of Muslim Uber Drivers


(NEW YORK, NY, 6/28/2018) – The New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY), a leading Muslim civil rights group, today issued a referral letter to the NYC Commission on Human Rights asking the commission to investigate whether Laura Loomer, a conservative commentator and creator of “ambush” videos, violated New York City Human Rights Laws prohibiting discriminatory boycotts, blacklists and related practices.
 
On November 1st, 2017, at 8:40 a.m., Loomer tweeted, “I’m late to the NYPD press conference because I couldn’t find a non Muslim[sic] cab or @Uber @Lyft driver for over 30 min! This is insanity.”
 
Later that day she posted, “Someone needs to create a non Islamic [sic] form of @uber or @lyft because I never want to support another Islamic immigrant driver” and “I generally try to not support Muslim owned business companies [sic] here in NY.”
 
These statements, if true, suggest that Loomer refused or cancelled rides when she perceived the driver was Muslim. Loomer has expressed similar sentiments in recent months. Last month, she tweeted that Uber drivers “commit terror attacks and rape on the daily.” In early June, she tweeted asking how many people are “going to be killed in Jihad” by Uber drivers.  
 
Link to referral letter
http://www.cair-ny.org/s/2018-06-28-NYCHRC-Referral-Letter-Re-Loomer-FINAL-y5r6.pdf
 
Link to Laura Loomer Social Media Posts
http://www.cair-ny.org/s/2018-06-28-Social-Media-Posts-By-Laura-Loomer.pdf
 
NYC’s Human Rights Law makes it illegal for a person to “refuse to buy from, sell to or trade with, any person, because of such person's actual or perceived. . .creed.” The law also provides for civil penalties of up to $250,000 for discriminatory conduct that is intentional or wanton. The commission has the authority to initiate investigations into claims of discrimination based on reports from the public, such as the referral letter sent by CAIR-NY today.
 
“The Supreme Court may be willing to ignore anti-Muslim bias, but our city must remain committed to fighting bigotry,” said CAIR-NY Legal Director Albert Cahn. “There simply should be no place in New York for anti-Muslim workplace discrimination. Sadly, the Commission’s own data shows that 72 percent of harassment, discrimination and hate crimes go unreported. That is why it’s essential for organizations like CAIR-NY to combat all forms of harassment and discrimination. New Yorkers have the right to say and believe whatever they want, no matter how biased. But our law is clear, you cannot boycott or discriminate against businesses because of their religion.”
 
Since 2016, CAIR-NY has recorded a 974 percent increase in incidents of harassment, discrimination, and violence against Muslims. The commission released a report this month finding that while 42 percent of Muslim New Yorkers had experienced some form of harassment, 72 percent of them did not report it. 
 
Muslim community members in New York are asked to report any bias incidents to the police as well as to CAIR-NY at (646) 665-7599 and/or by filing a report at: http://www.cair-ny.org/incident-report/
 
CAIR’s mission is to protect civil rights, enhance understanding of Islam, promote justice, and empower American Muslims. 
 
La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.
 
- END –

U.S. Supreme Court Ruling On Muslim Ban 3.0 - What You Need to Know  

Yesterday the U.S. Supreme Court issued a 5-4 decision in support of Trump's bigoted Muslim Ban. Now more than ever, it's important to know your rights. Since December 4, 2017, the Muslim Ban has been in full effect for certain individuals from: Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen. All are facing great difficulty in their applications for visas to be united with family, study in the U.S., get urgent medical treatment, or to visit for tourism.

In this advisory we cover the current status of the Muslim Ban, who is impacted, as well as information about the so-called waiver process. Please note that this information is subject to change based on the various legal challenges. We will update you should changes happen.

Timing

The Supreme Court allowed Muslim Ban 3.0 to go into effect on December 4, 2017. On June 26, 2018 the Supreme Court issued a decision allowing the Muslim Ban to remain in effect.

Who Is Impacted?

Certain nationals of seven countries - Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen.

Muslim Ban 3.0 only applies to individuals who are 1) outside of the U.S. on the effective date, 2) who did not have a valid visa on that date, and 3) who have not obtained a waiver (discussed below).

Muslim Ban 3.0 does not apply to:

●       U.S. Lawful permanent residents (green card holders);

●       People admitted or paroled into the U.S. on or after the effective date of the new Muslim Ban;

●       People with a document other than a visa that allows them to travel to the U.S., if the document is dated on or after the effective date of the new Muslim Ban;

●       Dual-nationals traveling on a passport from a non-designated country;

●       People who have been granted asylum by the U.S.;

●       Refugees already admitted to the U.S.; or

●       Individuals granted withholding of removal, advance parole, or protection under the Convention against Torture.

Unlike past decisions, this decision does NOT allow for an exception for “Bona Fide Relationships” (i.e. close family ties such as a parent, spouse, child, sister, brother, fiancé(e), etc.)

 

Details on Impacted Countries

●       Iran

o   All immigrant and nonimmigrant visas are suspended for Iranian nationals except for those with F, J, or M visas.

o   Those with F, J, or M visas will most likely be subject to heightened screening.

●       Libya

o   All immigrants and nonimmigrant visas, including business (B-1), tourist (B-2), business/tourist (B-1/B-2) visas are suspended for Libyan nationals.

●       Somalia

o   All immigrant visas are suspended for Somali nationals.

o   Non-immigrant visas are permitted, subject to heightened screening.

●       Syria

o   All immigrant and nonimmigrant visas for Syrian nationals are suspended.

●       Yemen

o   All immigrant and nonimmigrant visas, including business (B-1), tourist (B-2), and business/tourist (B-1/B-2) visas are suspended for Yemeni nationals.

●       North Korea

o   All immigrant and nonimmigrant visas are suspended for North Korean nationals

●       Venezuela

o   Visa issuance for officials of government agencies of Venezuela involved in screening and vetting procedures and their immediate family members, as nonimmigrants on business (B-1), tourist (B-2), and business/tourist (B-1/B-2) visas, is suspended. Additionally, nationals of Venezuela who are visa holders are subject to heightened screening.

o   Venezuelans traveling on diplomatic visas are not affected by this order.

 

Waivers Seeking an Exception to Muslim Ban 3.0

A “waiver” is permission to obtain a U.S. visa, even though the Muslim Ban says you are not eligible to get one. Muslim Ban 3.0 states that banned individuals can ask for a waiver to request an exception that would allow the visa to be issued as long as they can show that:

1) Denying entry would cause the visa applicant undue hardship;

2) Entry to the U.S. would not pose a threat to the national security or public safety of the U.S.; and

3) Entry would be in the national interest of the U.S.

The law states that a consular officer or Customs and Border Protection official has the authority to grant a waiver on a case-by-case-basis. The law also lists several examples where a waiver can be granted (such as needing urgent medical care, reuniting with immediate family members in the U.S., business ties etc.).

Unfortunately the waiver process has been very unclear and applied unevenly. The government has provided very little guidance on the waiver process.  Here are some trends we have seen:

●        There is no formal process to request a waiver. There is no available form online to fill out. Any documents submitted to the consulate outlining why you qualify for a waiver may or may not be accepted.

●        Many consulates have been notifying individuals that either:

o    (1) The consulate is denying the waiver for their case, stating that the visa is “refused under 212(f)”:

▪          In this case, there is no appeal process for the decision. Many individuals are submitting waiver requests, however, it is unclear if they are being accepted.

o    (2) The consulate is considering their case for a waiver:

▪          In this case, the consulate may or may not ask you about the above criteria in the interview; the consulate may or may not accept a written letter outlining why you meet the above criteria either during your interview or if you try to email/mail it in; the consulate may or may not refer your case to Washington D.C.

If you have an upcoming interview before a consulate, please seek legal advice about the waiver process.

As of May 15, 2018, 655 waivers have been confirmed to have been granted since the Ban went into effect. At this point it is very unclear how these cases will be processed and what the next step is until the government issues more guidance. Information around waivers can change very quickly, so seek legal help (while watching out for scams) and please check back frequently.

 

How to Get Legal Help

Our organization can provide information and legal services free of charge. You can contact our organization if:

●       You or someone you know is impacted by this Muslim Ban and would like free legal advice or assistance;

●       Your community would like to request a “Know Your Rights” presentation.

 

CAIR New York:

646.665.7599 or online.

CAIR-NY DENOUNCES SUPREME COURT’S DECISION ALLOWING MUSLIM BAN TO REMAIN IN EFFECT

For Immediate Release

CAIR-NY DENOUNCES SUPREME COURT’S DECISION ALLOWING MUSLIM BAN TO REMAIN IN EFFECT

NEW YORK, NY, June 26, 2018 -- the New York chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY), the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today denounced the Supreme Court’s decision to allow Muslim Ban 3.0 to remain in effect.

In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court reversed a lower court’s injunction that had—until December 2017—prevented the Trump Administration from using Muslim Ban 3.0 as a basis for denying visas to foreign nationals from eight affected countries. 

 In her dissent, Justice Sotomayor wrote: ““A reasonable observer would conclude that the Proclamation was driven primarily by anti-Muslim animus, rather than by the Government’s asserted national-security justifications. Even before being sworn into office, then-candidate Trump stated that ‘Islam hates us.’”

"Today thousands in NY and more across the nation unite in rejection of the SCOTUS ruling and to affirm our continued struggle against President Trump's attack on our nations religious freedom, said CAIR-NY Executive Director Afaf Nasher.  Where the SCOTUS ruling has failed to safeguard religious freedom, the people of our communities remain undeterred to fight against discrimination and abuse, even if that abuse stems from the highest office in the land. Families egregiously separated and denied entry just because they are Muslim can rely on the fact that Americans will forever insist on the promise of equality for all."

Today, our highest court ratified the lowest sort of bigotry,” said CAIR-NY Legal Director Albert Fox Cahn.  “But history teaches us that this fight is far from over. In 1857, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that African Americans ‘had no rights which the white man was bound to respect.’ In1944, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the imprisonment of more than 120,000 Americans for their Japanese ancestry. Today, that same court upheld President Trump’s Muslim Ban.  Like its predecessors Dredd Scott and Korematsu, today’s decision was unjust. And like its predecessors, this ruling will be condemned by future generations as a betrayal of the promise of equality and justice for all. The injustice of the Muslim Ban would have been too extreme for the Court to ignore if it had faced the facts, but they focused on technicalities instead. The ornate wording sounds lovely, but underneath them is a crude truth: the Court didn’t do its job.  Today is certainly a setback, but history teaches us that the fight is far from over. Muslim activists and allies will continue to push back against this ban in Congress and use whatever other avenues available in order to achieve justice.”

In its decision, the Supreme Court granted extreme deference to the Trump Administration, which gives the administration the green light to inject discrimination back into our immigration system.

CAIR-NY will be participating in a number of actions today in response to the SCOTUS ruling, including a press conference and rally at Foley Square.

SEE media advisory: https://bit.ly/2KpGpIW
SEE #StandWithMuslims rally information: https://www.facebook.com/events/453428295110555

Since the Trump administration’s first attempt to ban Muslim immigration to the United States, CAIR has filed legal challenges to each of the ban’s permutations.

In the Supreme Court, CAIR had filed an amicus brief on behalf of six individuals who successfully obtained an injunction against Muslim Ban 3.0 from a federal court in Maryland.

READ CAIR'S BRIEF: https://tinyurl.com/CAIRAmicusBrief

The brief -- filed in the wake of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit's decision in February declaring Trump's Muslim ban unconstitutional – states in part: "The injuries suffered by the [plaintiffs] are beyond the pale. If they are beyond the power of the courts to remedy, we fear for what is yet to come."

[NOTE: CAIR and the Brennan Center for Justice filed the lawsuit in October 2017. On appeal, that case, Zakzok v. Trump, was consolidated with two others and was jointly decided by the Fourth Circuit.]

SEE: 'The Words of the President' Doom Trump Travel Ban, Fourth Circuit Says

In December of last year, CAIR applauded the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals' unanimous decision against the Trump administration's "Muslim Ban 3.0."

SEE: CAIR Welcomes Another Court Ruling Against Trump's 'Muslim Ban 3.0'

CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, capacitar a los musulmanes estadounidenses, y construir coaliciones que promuevan la justicia y la comprensión mutua.

The U.S. Supreme Court upholds Trump's Muslim Ban

As with previous wrongly decided Supreme Court decisions, 

it is up to the people of this country to determine our nation's future. 

trump muslim ban breaking.jpg

History has shown that progress and change come from the unwavering demand of the people. Social justice campaigns do not stop when our path to justice is partially obstructed. Instead, we work together to overcome the obstruction and march determinedly forward.

Today’s decision in Trump v. Hawaii upholding the President’s Muslim Ban adds a shameful chapter to our history. Make no mistake: the president’s executive order is a Muslim Ban. But this decision will not stop us from fighting for justice. 

Our predecessors refused to stop working against the 1857 Supreme Court ruling in Dred Scott that asserted no people of African descent could be considered citizens of the United States. Our predecessors refused the injustice of the 1944 Korematsu decision that validated the removal and internment of over 100,000 people of Japanese descent. We too will refuse the injustice. We too will keep going. 

We have the power to demand change. Politicians --- our public servants --- can be made to fight back with statutory solutions. New litigation will emerge, further demonstrating what we already know: the Muslim Ban has nothing to do with national security and everything to do with hatred of Muslims

Your help and support is needed now more than ever. From pushing through the injustice of this Muslim Ban ruling, to combating emboldened xenophobes who use the president's rhetoric and policies as a green light to perpetrate hate crimes and harassment of Muslims, there is so much work to be done.  

And you can make it happen.

CAIR-NY is on the front lines of the fight for Muslim New Yorkers’ civil rights. We are the only ones on the ground, every single day, fighting with you. We will never give up, but our work is far from over.  

In solidarity,

Afaf Nasher, Esq. 

Civil Rights, Community Groups Welcome NYPD Spying Report

For Immediate Release

Civil Rights, Community Groups Welcome NYPD Spying Report
 
[NEW YORK, NY, 6/8/2018] -- Today, a coalition of community and civil rights organizations welcomed a report on the New York City Police Department’s (NYPD) intelligence operations from Stephen Robinson, the Civilian Representative on the NYPD’s “Handschu Committee.” Last year, Mayor de Blasio appointed Robinson as the Civilian Representative, implementing reforms resulting from community mobilization in reaction to widespread NYPD spying on Muslim communities. This was Judge Robinson’s first public report on NYPD compliance with the revised Handschu Guidelines, negotiated to settle legal claims in Raza v. City of New York and Handschu v. Special Services Division, and limiting surveillance of religious and political activity.
 
“Judge Robinson’s report is an important milestone, providing the first detailed, public explanation of how the NYPD internally reviews requests to surveil constitutionally-protected activity,” said AAANY Executive Director Rama Issa. “The report also showcases Robinson’s efforts to protect religious and political activity. In just one year, Judge Robinson helped reduce the average length of NYPD surveillance operations by 87 days. The Handschu Committee, during Judge Robinson's tenure, has delayed or denied almost 4 times as many requests than the previous year. These significant changes demonstrate the necessity and importance of having an independent voice to participate in important decisions that weigh heavily on the rights and lives of Muslims and Muslim communities in New York City.”
 
“We are heartened that Judge Robinson takes his role as the Civilian Representative seriously, demanding real evidence before allowing these highly intrusive investigations,” said Tarek Z. Ismail, Senior Staff Attorney at the CLEAR Project at CUNY School of Law. "For too long, claims of ‘connectivity’ and ‘social media posts’ have been used as an excuse to target innocent New Yorkers for the race and faith. We have heard directly from the Judge that this demand for transparency has already exposed some investigation requests as factually insufficient, and we trust he will continue to insist on the accountability described in the report.”
 
“While we appreciate the progress that Judge Robinson has been able to achieve thus far, we remain dismayed about the activities of the Intelligence Bureau, particularly as it relates to American Muslims in our city and beyond,” said CAIR-NY Legal Director Albert Cahn. “The NYPD Inspector General found in August 2016 that 95 percent of the NYPD’s surveillance activities were focused on Muslims. Nothing in today’s report from the Civilian Representative’s disabuses us of that notion. We believe that this pattern of focus on one faith-based group further underlines the dire need for a tireless Civilian Representative. We do not anticipate that need changing anytime soon, and we are glad Judge Robinson has enthusiastically taken on that mantle. We will continue our engagement with him to make sure our communities’ concerns are met.”
 
The coalition includes (listed in alphabetical order): 
Arab American Association of New York
Arab American Bar Association (AABA)
Association of Muslim American Lawyers (AMAL)
The Campaign to Take on Hate
CLEAR Project, CUNY School of Law
Communities United for Police Reform
Council on American-Islamic Relations, New York (CAIR-NY)
Jews for Racial and Economic Justice
Jewish Voice for Peace – Northern New Jersey  
MPOWER Change
Muslim Community Network
Muslim Social Justice Initiative (MSJI)
South Asian Fund For Education, Scholarship and Training (SAFEST)
 
Originally ordered by consent decree in 1985, the Handschu Guidelines are the result of a class action lawsuit, Handschu v. Special Services Division, which established important limits on NYPD intelligence operations. Additional safeguards—including the placement of a Civilian Representative within the Handschu Committee overseeing Intelligence Bureau surveillance of constitutionally protected religious and political organizing—were introduced into the Guidelines as part of the joint settlement process of an enforcement motion in the Handschu class action and the Raza v. City of New York case.
 
 SEE: After Spying on Muslims, New York Police Agree to Greater Oversight
 
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/06/nyregion/nypd-spying-muslims-surveillance-lawsuit.html
 
As part of his duties, the Civilian Representative is required to file an annual report on the NYPD’s compliance with the Handschu Guidelines. Community and civil rights organizations look forward to continuing to meet on a regular basis with the Civilian Representative.
 
--End

CAIR-NY Welcomes Life Sentence for Oscar Morel in Queens Double Homicide

For Immediate Release

 

CAIR-NY Welcomes Life Sentence for Oscar Morel in Queens Double Homicide

Morel was convicted in March of killing two Muslim men in case that gained global attention

(NEW YORK, NY, 6/6/18) – The New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY), the state’s leading Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today welcomed the sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole for Oscar Morel for the 2016 double murder of Imam Maulana Ala’Uddin Akonjee and Thara Uddin.

On August 13, 2016, the two Muslim men were killed as they returned home from prayers at their local mosque. The brutal crime, which corresponded with a nationwide surge in anti-Muslim hate crimes, triggered massive demonstrations in the men’s Ozone Park neighborhood and gained worldwide media attention.

Morel was convicted on March 23 on one count of murder in the first degree, two counts of murder in the second degree, and criminal possession of a firearm.

SEE: CAIR-NY Welcomes Conviction of Oscar Morel for Queens Double Homicide

www.cair-ny.org/news/2018/3/23/cair-ny-welcomes-conviction-of-oscar-morel-for-queens-double-homicide

CAIR-New York serves as civil counsel and media representative for the Akonjee and Uddin families.

In response to the verdict, CAIR-New York Legal Director Albert Fox Cahn said:

“Rather than explaining what drove these hateful murders, Mr. Morel has done nothing more than divert attention through his fantasies and fairy tales about conspiracies against him.  The facts of this case are painfully clear: two of our Muslim neighbors were gunned down in broad daylight, in the middle of New York City, while doing nothing more than walking home from prayers.  Today, the court showed that our Muslim neighbors are protected by the full force of the law, that they cannot be attacked without the perpetrators being brought to justice.
 

The civil rights organization also released the following statement on behalf of the Aknojee and Uddin families:

“Today’s verdict brought justice, but not closure.  Our families, communities, and city will never fully heal from the wound Mr. Morel inflicted.  This horrific murder reverberated around the world, shocking Muslims and allies who could not believe that two men, including an Imam, could be murdered in cold blood, on a sunny New York street.”

The 2016 double murder came amidst a spike in anti-Muslim hate crimes across New York State. CAIR-NY noted a 974% increase in such reports from 2015 to 2017.
 

SEE: CAIR-NY Reports 74% Increase in Anti-Muslim Hate Crimes Since Trump’s Election

http://www.cair-ny.org/news/2018/3/5/cair-ny-reports-74-increase-in-anti-muslim-hate-crimes-since-trumps-election

Press Release: Civil Rights Report 2017

http://www.cair-ny.org/news/2017/5/10/press-release-civil-rights-report-2017
 

CAIR’s mission is to protect civil rights, enhance understanding of Islam, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.

La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.

END

 

CAIR-NY, Muslim Community Leaders to Gather for Oscar Morel First Degree Murder Sentencing

Media Advisory

 
CAIR-NY, Muslim Community Leaders to Gather for Oscar Morel First Degree Murder Sentencing

(NEW YORK, NY, 6/6/18) -- Today, the New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY) and other Muslim community leaders will hold a press availability following Oscar Morel’s double murder sentencing. On March 23rd, Morel was convicted of murder in the first degree for the 2016 deaths of Imam Maulana Ala’Uddin Akonjee and Thara Uddin. CAIR-NY serves as civil counsel and media representative for the Akonjee and Uddin families. Morel faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, without the possibility of parole
 
FOR BACKGROUND ON THE CASE, SEE: CAIR-NY Welcomes Conviction of Oscar Morel for Queens Double Homicide
http://www.cair-ny.org/news/2018/3/23/cair-ny-welcomes-conviction-of-oscar-morel-for-queens-double-homicide

WHAT: Press Availability – Oscar Morel First Degree Murder Sentencing
WHO: CAIR-NY and Muslim Community Members
WHEN: Wednesday, June 6th, 2018 at approximately 4:00 pm (sentencing beginning at 2:00 PM, expected to conclude at approximately 4:00 pm)
WHERE: Steps of Queens County Supreme Court, 125-1 Queens Blvd, Kew Gardens, NY 11415

 
CAIR’s mission is to protect civil rights, enhance understanding of Islam, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.
 
La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.

- END –
 

CAIR-NY Expresses Solidarity with Jewish Community After Attacks in Crown Heights

(NEW YORK, NY, 4/25/18) -- The New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY) today expressed solidarity with Jewish New Yorkers after a second violent potentially anti-Semitic attack in Crown Heights, Brooklyn in just 10 days.

Police say that last weekend a suspect attacked Menachem Moskowitz, beating and choking the victim and leaving him with a black eye.  The attack is the second reported assault on the largely orthodox Jewish enclave in a 10-day period. 

SEE: UPDATE: Police Release Video of Suspect in Anti-Semitic Crown Heights Attack

https://bklyner.com/crown-heights-attack/

“Anti-Semitism has no place in this city, and if these attacks were motivated by bias, they must be vigorously prosecuted as hate crimes,” said CAIR-NY Legal Director Albert Cahn “It is heartbreaking to see this violence targeting New Yorkers of faith. Now is the time for all New Yorkers to come together in denunciation of both this violence and the ideologies that can lead to bias-motivated attacks.”

CAIR and the American Muslim community have in the past expressed solidarity with Jewish, Christian, Native American, African-American, and Sikh communities in New Mexico, Florida, South Carolina, Maryland, Alabama, Massachusetts, Kansas, South Dakota, Ohio, Texas, and other states following acts of hate, threats, violence, vandalism, arson, or bombings.

Individuals in New York are asked to report any bias incidents to police and to CAIR-NY at (646) 665-7599, or by filing a report at: http://www.cair-ny.org/incident-report/

CAIR’s mission is to protect civil rights, enhance understanding of Islam, promote justice, and empower American Muslims. 

La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.

- END –

CAIR-NY Decries NY Appeals Court Ruling on NYPD’s Unconstitutional Surveillance of Muslims

(NEW YORK, NY, 3/29/18) – The New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY) today decried a ruling by the New York Court of Appeals permitting the NYPD to thwart requests under New York’s freedom of information law (FOIL).  Under today’s ruling, the NYPD can make a "Glomar defense," neither confirming nor denying the existence of information relevant to a FOIL request.
 
Today’s decision came in a case brought by two Muslim men, Imam Talib Abdur-Rashid and Samir Hashmi, who filed FOIL requests seeking information on the NYPD's warrantless and unconstitutional surveillance of Muslims and Islamic organizations. The NYPD has also recently used the Glomar Defense to block FOIL requests connected to surveillance of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. 

SEE: Court of Appeals allows NYPD to hide records of possible Islamic surveillance

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/court-nypd-hide-records-islamic-surveillance-article-1.3903652

NYCLU and Activists File Lawsuit After NYPD Refuses to Respond to Records Requests about Anti-Protest Activities

https://www.nyclu.org/en/press-releases/nyclu-and-activists-file-lawsuit-after-nypd-refuses-respond-records-requests-about

"Today’s decision is a blow for all New Yorkers who support government accountability," said CAIR-NY Legal Director, Albert Fox Cahn. "This goes far beyond the NYPD, setting a precedent that can be abused by law enforcement agencies across New York State. Our courts are allowing the NYPD to keep secrets our lawmakers never intended to remain hidden, and it’s now incumbent on Albany to fix the problem. We cannot let the NYPD use unconstitutional intelligence tactics without the public oversight New Yorkers demand.”  

On July 13, 2017, CAIR-NY sent Mayor de Blasio a letter urging him to support the use of FOIL requests as an important oversight tool, noting his past criticism to NYPD's failure to honor such requests when he was the NYC Public Advocate.   

SEE: https://static1.squarespace.com/static/57db6af7f7e0abec41695d80/t/595a50732994ca95c983a6be/1499091059870/2017-6-22+GLOMAR+Letter+-+FINAL+-+public.pdf

On March 16, CAIR-NY and the law firm of Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady LLP (ECBA) filed a class action civil right lawsuit in federal court alleging that the NYPD photograph policy forcing women to remove religious head coverings (like a hijab) is violation of the law. 

SEE COMPLAINT http://bit.ly/NYPD_Hijab

NY-Times - Hijab Removal by the New York Police Prompts a Lawsuit

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/16/nyregion/hijab-police-lawsuit-new-york.html

CAIR’s mission is to protect civil rights, enhance understanding of Islam, promote justice, and empower American Muslims. 

La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.
 
END

CAIR-NY Welcomes Conviction of Oscar Morel for Queens Double Homicide

For Immediate Release

CAIR-NY Welcomes Conviction of Oscar Morel for Queens Double Homicide

Morel was convicted of killing two Muslim men in case that gained global attention


(NEW YORK, NY, 3/23/18) – The New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY), the state’s leading Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today welcomed the conviction of Oscar Morel for the 2016 double homicide of Imam Maulana Ala’Uddin Akonjee and Thara Uddin.

 

On August 13, 2016, the two Muslim men were killed as they returned home from prayers at their local mosque. The brutal crime, which corresponded with a nationwide surge in anti-Muslim hate crimes, triggered massive demonstrations in the men’s Ozone Park neighborhood and gained worldwide media attention.

 

Morel was convicted on one count of murder in the first degree, two counts of murder in the second degree, and criminal possession of a firearm. He is scheduled to be sentenced on April 18 and faces life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.

 
SEE: CAIR-NY Welcomes Charges Against Alleged Killer of Queens Imam and Associate, Urges Hate Crime Probe
http://www.cair-ny.org/news/2016/8/16/cair-ny-welcomes-charges-against-alleged-killer-of-queens-imam-and-associate-urges-hate-crime-probe

 

CAIR-New York serves as civil counsel and media representative for the Akonjee and Uddin families. The civil rights organization released the following statement on behalf of the Aknojee and Uddin families:

 

“We are grateful that Mr. Morel has been brought to justice for this horrific crime. Maulana and Thara came to this country in search of a better life, instead they found Mr. Morel’s hatred. Nothing can ever replace what Mr. Morel took from us, but this verdict helps show that this city will never accept this sort of heartbreaking violence.”

 

In a statement, CAIR-New York Executive Director Afaf Nasher said:

 

"It has been over a year and a half since the double murders of Imam Akonjee and Mr. Uddin. Many lives have been seriously impacted with the grief and continuing consequences of losing their loved ones. We pray that the conclusion of this trial allows the healing process to begin."

 

CAIR-New York Legal Director Albert Fox Cahn said:
 
“We congratulate the Queens County District Attorney for bringing Mr. Morel to justice for his heinous crimes. In recent years, as we saw unprecedented hate crimes against Muslim New Yorkers, this attack stood out for its singular cruelty. It is intolerable to think that our neighbors can be gunned down in broad daylight, in the middle of New York City, for doing nothing more than practicing their faith.”
 

The verdict came less than a week after the New York civil rights organization announced a settlement on behalf of a wrongfully terminated Muslim employee and comes amid a surge in anti-Muslim harassment, discrimination, and hate crimes in New York State. CAIR-NY noted a 974% increase in such reports from 2015 to 2017.

 

SEE: CAIR-NY Reports 74% Increase in Anti-Muslim Hate Crimes Since Trump’s Election

http://www.cair-ny.org/news/2018/3/5/cair-ny-reports-74-increase-in-anti-muslim-hate-crimes-since-trumps-election

Press Release: Civil Rights Report 2017

http://www.cair-ny.org/news/2017/5/10/press-release-civil-rights-report-2017

 

CAIR’s mission is to protect civil rights, enhance understanding of Islam, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.

 

La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.

 

END

 

CAIR-NY, Lloyd Patel Law Firm Secure $50K Settlement for Fired Muslim Worker

For Immediate Release

CAIR-NY, Lloyd Patel Law Firm Secure $50K Settlement for Fired Muslim Worker

Newly-arrived immigrant fired from first U.S. job, forced to pray outdoors in middle of winter
 
(NEW YORK, NY, 3/22/18)
– The New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY), a leading Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, and Lloyd Patel LLP, a leading employee-side labor and employment firm, today announced a $50,000 settlement with a Queens company for wrongfully terminating a Muslim man.
 
The 29-year-old South Asian green card holder, who prefers to remain anonymous, was wrongfully fired in 2017 simply for asking to pray. As a newly-arrived immigrant, this was the man’s first job in the United States, but he worked less than a week before being terminated.
 
The man’s supervisor reacted negatively to the revelation he was Muslim and became increasingly hostile once they learned about his faith. In his short time at the company, the man’s supervisor reportedly began to target him, sabotaging his work assignments and making derogatory statements about his faith.  
 
This same supervisor refused to let him spend a few minutes a day praying in an empty part of the office, forcing him to pray in a nearby park in the dead of winter. In addition to providing compensation for lost wages and emotional damages, the employer is also required to conduct non-discrimination training for both management and employees.
 
“No New Yorker should be forced into the cold, or fired from work, simply for wanting to pray,” said CAIR-NY Legal Director Albert Fox Cahn. “Our laws are clear: New Yorkers have the right to reasonable accommodations to practice their faith. You don’t have to choose between your religion and your job. This settlement helps send a signal to employers that Muslim New Yorkers will not accept workplace discrimination or harassment. Our laws protect the right to take reasonable breaks, to pray, to wear the hijab, and to keep a beard.”
 
“Our client made the difficult and courageous decision to take a stand against unlawful religious discrimination by taking legal action, and we could not be more proud to have represented him,” said Lloyd Patel LLP Partner Erin Lloyd. “We are pleased with the monetary award for our client and that future employees at this company will be made aware of their legal rights and protections.”
 
The announcement came less than a week after the New York civil rights organization filed a civil rights class action lawsuit against New York City, accusing the NYPD of mistreating Muslim women. The suit alleged that the NYPD’s policy of forcing Muslim women and other detainees to remove religious head coverings was unlawful and unconstitutional.
 
SEE: CAIR-NY, ECBA File Civil Rights Class Action Lawsuit to Block NYPD From Removing Arrestees’ Hijabs for Booking Photos
http://www.cair-ny.org/news/2018/3/16/cair-ny-ecba-file-civil-rights-class-action-lawsuit-to-block-nypd-from-removing-arrestees-hijabs-for-booking-photos
 
The settlement comes amid a surge in anti-Muslim harassment, discrimination, and hate crimes in New York State.  The group noted a 974% increase in such reports from 2015 to 2017.
 
SEE: CAIR-NY Reports 74% Increase in Anti-Muslim Hate Crimes Since Trump’s Election
http://www.cair-ny.org/news/2018/3/5/cair-ny-reports-74-increase-in-anti-muslim-hate-crimes-since-trumps-election
Press Release: Civil Rights Report 2017
http://www.cair-ny.org/news/2017/5/10/press-release-civil-rights-report-2017
 
CAIR’s mission is to protect civil rights, enhance understanding of Islam, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.
 
La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.
 
Lloyd Patel LLP, a leading a New York City-based labor and employment law firm representing workers in unlawful discrimination, harassment, and retaliation actions.
 
END
 

 

CAIR-NY Expresses Solidarity with Christian Community After Vandalism of Virgin Mary Statue

(NEW YORK, NY, 3/19/18) -- The New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY) today expressed solidarity with the Suffolk County Christian community following vandalism of a statue of the Virgin Mary.

Police say the statue of the Virgin Mary at the Church of Saint Gerard Majella was vandalized sometime between Friday and Sunday. A similar incident at another local church is also being investigated as a possible hate crime.

“Whenever a house of worship is targeted by an act of violence, Americans of all faiths must speak out in defense of religious freedom and in solidarity with one another,” said CAIR-NY Executive Director Afaf Nasher.

She noted that Muslims hold the Virgin Mary in the highest honor as the mother of Jesus.

The Quran, Islam’s revealed text, states: “There came the time when angels said: ‘O Mary! Surely God has exalted you, purified you, and preferred you for His service over all the women of the worlds.’” (The Holy Quran, 3:42)

CAIR and the American Muslim community have in the past expressed solidarity with Jewish, Christian, Native American, African-American, and Sikh communities in New Mexico, Florida, South Carolina, Maryland, Alabama, Massachusetts, Kansas, South Dakota, Ohio, Texas, and other states following acts of hate, threats, violence, vandalism, arson, or bombings.

Individuals in New York are asked to report any bias incidents to police and to CAIR-NY at (646) 665-7599, or by filing a report at: http://www.cair-ny.org/incident-report/

CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.

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CONTACT: CAIR-NY Executive Director Afaf Nasher, Esq. (917) 669-4006, anasher@cair.com or Legal Director Albert Fox Cahn, Esq.  (571) 766-6273, acahn@cair.com

CAIR-NY, ECBA File Civil Rights Class Action Lawsuit to Block NYPD From Removing Arrestees’ Hijabs for Booking Photos

For Immediate Release

CAIR-NY, ECBA File Civil Rights Class Action Lawsuit to Block NYPD From Removing Arrestees’ Hijabs for Booking Photos
Lawsuit claims NYPD policy traumatizes Muslim survivors of domestic violence
 
(NEW YORK, NY, 3/16/18) – The New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY) and the law firm of Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady LLP (ECBA), a leading civil rights firm, today filed a class action civil rights law lawsuit in federal court seeking an injunction to block the New York City Police Department (NYPD) from removing arrestees’ religious head coverings (like hijabs) for their booking photos.
 
The lawsuit claims that NYPD Patrol Guide Order 208-03 and 208-07 forces religiously-observant women to remove their head coverings for a booking photo, even when these garments leave the face completely unobstructed, as the hijab does. 
 
CAIR-NY and ECBA filed the lawsuit this morning in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York alleging that the NYPD photograph policy violates the New York State Constitution, the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA). 
 
SEE COMPLAINT HERE: 
http://bit.ly/NYPD_Hijab
 
As the lawsuit notes, municipalities across the country allow arrestees to retain religious head covering for their booking photos. In addition, the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles allows women to retain their hijab for driver’s license photos, and the U.S. State Department allows women to retain their hijab in passport photos. 
 
SEE: NY-Times - Hijab Removal by the New York Police Prompts a Lawsuit

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/16/nyregion/hijab-police-lawsuit-new-york.html
 
The city of New York recently settled similar claims by Muslim women who were forced to remove their hijabs, paying $180,000 to three arrestees. However, the NYPD continues to force New Yorkers to uncover against their will, and current NYPD policy requires the hijab and other religious head coverings to be removed. 
 
NYPD booking photos are kept in arrestees’ files and computer databases where they are readily visible to officers and other men, compounding arrestees’ sense of violation.
 
SEE: Three Muslim Women Forced to Remove Hijabs for Mug Shots Snag $180G Payout from City

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/women-forced-hijabs-mugs-settle-city-article-1.3845434
 
“Our city is quick to make progressivepromises, but slow to enact reforms,” said CAIR NY Legal Director Albert Fox Cahn. “This is a moment when Muslim New Yorkers need our support, not abuse. In just the past two years, New York State saw a 974 percent increase in anti-Muslim harassment, discrimination and hate crimes. It is intolerable that our officers force Muslim women to uncover against their will. It’s time for New York City to live-up to our promise of being a sanctuary for all faiths – we’ve fallen short for too long.”
 
“No New Yorker should be mugged for a mug shot,” said ECBA Partner O. Andrew Wilson. “Stripping New Yorkers of religious head coverings that do not obscure their faces serves no legitimate purpose.”
 
“There is a rapidly-consolidating consensus among police departments across the United States that religious head coverings should not be removed for mug shots,” said ECBA Associate Emma L. Freeman. “New York should be leading this trend, not following it.”   
 
“When they forced me to take off my hijab, I felt as if I were naked, I’m not sure if words can capture how exposed and violated I felt,” said plaintiff Jamilla Clark.
 
“I expected to be celebrating the holidays with my family, but instead I found myself being forced to undress in a room full of men, my beliefs being trampled,” said plaintiff Arwa Aziz
 
“I fear this policy makes it harder for victims of domestic violence that we serve to report their abusers to the police,” said Turning Point for Women and Families’ Founder and Executive Director, Robina Niaz.
 
The lawsuit names two individual plaintiffs, including Jamilla Clark, a survivor of domestic violence, who was allegedly arrested on charges fabricated by her abuser. Even though the charges against Clark were later dropped, during the course of her arrest she was forced to remove her hijab. 
 
According to the complaint,a “NYPD officer took a photograph of Ms. Clark as she wept and begged to put her hijab back on.  The officer ignored Ms. Clark, stored the photograph in an online database and on Ms. Clark’s paper file, and showed it to numerous male officers.”  An officer also allegedly mocked Clark’s Muslim faith.
A second named plaintiff, Arwa Aziz, is a mother of two who was detained on the eve of the Eid holiday (an Islamic religious holiday) just as she planned to prepare the family’s holiday meal. Instead of celebrating with loved ones, she was held on charges allegedly fabricated by an estranged relative. The charges against Aziz were later dismissed, but she too was forced to remove her hijab. 
 
According to the complaint, “officers refused to allow Ms. Aziz to keep her hijab on while having her picture taken. . . They told her, falsely: ‘It’s the law.’  Frantic, weeping, and bareheaded in a hallway full of men who do not belong to her immediate family, Ms. Aziz felt broken.”
 
A third plaintiff is the organization Turning Points for Women and Families (TPNY), a non-profit that works on behalf of Muslim women who have survived domestic violence.  TPNY has expressed concern about how the NYPD policy, and the threat of retaliatory arrest, could deter survivors from contacting police when help is most needed.
  
Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady LLP is a litigation boutique that focuses on civil rights, commercial, criminal, and ethics matters. ECBA represents individuals, businesses, and institutions in all aspects of litigation and pre-litigation dispute resolution, from negotiation, mediationand arbitration, through hearings, trials, and appeals. More about their practice can be found at
www.ecbalaw.com.
 
CAIR’s mission is to protect civil rights, enhance understanding of Islam, promote justice, and empower American Muslims. 
 
La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.
 
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