Action Alert: Reminder of Your Legal Rights if Visited by the FBI

Recent events in Gaza may prompt increased visits by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)/Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) and other law enforcement agencies.  CAIR-TX, Houston reminds community members of your legal rights if visited by the FBI/JTTF at their home or workplace.

  • Understand that providing information to the FBI or any law enforcement agency is strictly voluntary.  You are not obligated under the law to answer any of law enforcement’s questions, other than giving your name.  You can decline to be interviewed.
  • We recommend that if you decide to speak with law enforcement you do so with an attorney present. Note that lying to an agent or officer is considered perjury and can result in a prison sentence. CAIR-TX, Houston can refer you to an attorney.
  • If an FBI/JTTF agent shows up at your home or workplace and they do not have a search or arrest warrant, you have no obligation to let them in.
  • If they do have an arrest or search warrant, you can still exercise your right to remain silent.  Comply with all directives and do not physically resist an officer.  Be polite and respectful at all times. Remember that you do not have to comment or respond to any inquiries and you have the right to an attorney.
  • If an agent or officer says they have some questions for you, you have the right to refuse to speak with them and/or you may tell the agents or officers that you will have your attorney contact them if they wish to speak to you.  CAIR-TX, Houston can refer you to an attorney.
  • Should you decide to speak to agents alone despite the risks, note that you may set the conditions of the interview, including choosing when and where the interview is to take place. You may cancel the interview at any time.
  • Be sure to get the names, agencies, badge numbers and business cards of ALL agents or officers.
  • Contact your attorney and/or CAIR-TX, Houston to report an interview/incident and to discuss next steps.  If you feel that your civil rights were violated, you may also file a complaint with the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division.  CAIR-TX, Houston can help you with this process.

American Muslims and CAIR strongly support law enforcement and the protection of our national security. As Americans, we value the civil rights of every individual.  All Americans have the constitutional right of due process.  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.

Please note: The above is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Should you have any questions about the material herein or about a specific case, please consult with your attorney.

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