Civil rights group urges parents to speak with children about their constitutional rights when approached by law enforcement
(DALLAS, TEXAS, 5/25/2018) – The Dallas/Fort Worth chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-DFW) today called on the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice and the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) to investigate reports that FBI agents are interviewing Muslim students at a local high school without benefit of legal counsel or parental notification.
According to the reports received by CAIR-DFW, Muslim students at Plano West High School were called into the principal’s office and escorted by a police officer to another room. The students were then left alone with FBI agents who questioned them.
CAIR-DFW Executive Director John Janney is urging parents to talk with their children about the importance of securing legal representation before speaking with the FBI or any other law enforcement agency. He said this is especially concerning because schoolchildren may feel pressured to speak with FBI agents.
Janney said minors likely do not fully understand that any mistake in their answers to FBI questions could constitute a serious crime that may result in years of prison time.
“It is outrageous that the FBI would exploit the vulnerability of young people while they are attending school and are in no position to seek legal counsel or parental advice before submitting to interviews that could result in severe consequences for themselves and others,” said Janney. “Educational institutions should be safe places for students of all faiths and should protect the civil and constitutional rights of young people in their charge.”
CAIR-DFW is advising parents to:
- Inform their children’s school to not allow FBI or other law enforcement to question their children and to inform parents of any request or attempt by law enforcement to question their children,
- Talk with their children about the importance of legal representation when speaking with law enforcement, SEE: https://www.cair.com/know_your_rights
- Report attempts by FBI to question schoolchildren to CAIR-DFW at https://cairdfw.org/incident-report/
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
Earlier this month, CAIR issued a quarterly civil rights report indicating that FBI-related cases were the most frequent type of anti-Muslim incident in the first quarter of 2018. Such incidents constituted 31 percent of all bias reports from January to March.
CAIR: FBI Abuses Top Anti-Muslim Incidents in First Quarter of 2018
Community members are being urged to report any bias incidents to police and to CAIR’s Civil Rights Department at 202-742-6420 or by going to: https://www.cair.com/report
CAIR launched an app to share critical “know your rights” information and to simplify the process to report hate crimes and bias incidents. CAIR is urging American Muslims and members of other minority groups to download the app and utilize this resource to stay informed and empowered.
For a quick download of CAIR’s civil rights app, click here: http://www.cair.com/app
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.
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CONTACT: CAIR-DFW Executive Director John Janney, 469-998-2243, email@example.com