Notice to Third-Year Law Students and Recent Law School Graduates

Notice to Third-Year Law Students and Recent Law School Graduates

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is seeking to provide fellowship opportunities for recent law school graduates at its national headquarters as a Government Watchlist Fellow, Prisoners’ Rights Fellow, or Privacy and Surveillance Fellow. These positions are unpaid. However, we are willing and able to assist qualified applicants as they seek funding from outside organizations or law schools.

Qualifications:

  • 3L or recent law school graduate.
  • Preference given to candidates who can devote at least 20 hours per week.
  • Strong legal research and writing skills.
  • Excellent interpersonal and phone skills.
  • Interest in civil rights and liberties work and issues affecting the American Muslim community.
  • Preference given to students who have demonstrated a particular interest in constitutional law and/or federal litigation.

How to Apply:

  1. Download and fill out the CAIR application found online at http://www.cair.com/about-us/internships.html
  2. Email your application, resume, cover letter, and a writing sample to [email protected].
  3. Indicate the fellowship you are applying for in the subject line of your email.

About CAIR:

CAIR is a grassroots civil rights and advocacy organization. CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties organization, with regional offices nationwide. CAIR’s national headquarters is located on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.

Since its establishment in 1994, CAIR has worked to promote a positive image of Islam and Muslims in America. Through media relations, government relations, legal work, education, and advocacy, CAIR puts forth an Islamic perspective to ensure the Muslim voice is represented. In offering this perspective, CAIR seeks to empower the American Muslim community, encourage their participation in political and social activism, and to protect their rights. 

CAIR values a diverse and collaborative work environment. CAIR welcomes all individuals, and encourages all qualified applicants to apply regardless of religion, national origin, race, color, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, citizenship, and disability status. 

Government Watchlist Law Fellowship

Background:

According to recent reports, nearly half of the 690,000 people on the U.S. government’s database of terrorist suspects are not connected to any known terrorist group. Furthermore, according to the government’s watchlisting guidelines, officials need only “reasonable suspicion” to secretly place someone on the list; “concrete facts” are not required. Individuals placed on one of the government’s terrorist watchlists generally experience prolonged and intrusive screening, interrogation, and detention when traveling or are prohibited from boarding flights altogether. The rapidly expanding secretive terrorist watch list program not only raises serious concerns about ethnic and religious profiling, but also raises issues about due process under the U.S. Constitution.

Responsibilities:

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is seeking a government watchlist law fellow to join the civil rights department of its national headquarters. The fellow will work closely with our team of attorneys to handle a variety of substantive legal tasks pertaining to the rapidly evolving field of national security law and the implications on the civil rights and liberties of all Americans, with particular focus on the constitutionality of terrorist watchlist designation procedures. The fellow will gain in-depth, practical legal experience by working with CAIR attorneys and clients on complex government terrorist watchlist related issues and high-profile federal constitutional litigation.

In particular, this work will include:

  • Drafting legal memos, pleadings, motions, and briefs on unique issues of national security law relating to the designation of individuals on governmental watchlists and its implications for fundamental due process and other civil rights under the U.S. Constitution.
  • Conducting in-depth legal research and analysis of cutting-edge issues of national import.
  • Interviewing witnesses and potential clients.
  • Developing a comprehensive understanding of the federal government’s terrorist watchlist program and assisting CAIR’s attorneys in developing successful legal strategies to challenge violations to constitutional rights of individuals aggrieved by their unfair designation on government watchlists.

Prisoners’ Rights Fellowship

Responsibilities:

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is seeking a prisoners’ rights fellow to join the civil rights department at its national headquarters.  The fellow will work closely with our team of attorneys to handle a variety of substantive legal tasks pertaining to inmates’ religious practices in state and federal prisons. The fellow will gain in-depth and practical legal experience by working with CAIR attorneys to ensure that all inmates, regardless of religion, are allowed to observe and practice the religion of their choosing. The fellow’s responsibilities include:

  • Drafting legal memos, pleadings, motions, and briefs on unique issues of religious freedom and inmates’ rights to practice their religion.
  • Corresponding with inmates and conducting intakes to determine whether an inmate’s claim is actionable under the law and following up on potential claims and allegations through subsequent correspondence and interviews.
  • Developing a comprehensive understanding of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, national prison policy, the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, the Free Exercise and Establishment Clauses of the First Amendment, the Religious Freedom and Restoration Act, and the Prison Litigation Reform Act.
  • Producing reports and white papers on nuanced issues of inmate rights to religious freedom, with the possibility of publication in law reviews or online.

Privacy and Surveillance Law Fellowship

Responsibilities:

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is seeking a privacy and surveillance law fellow to join the civil rights department of its national headquarters.  The fellow will work closely with our team of attorneys to handle a variety of substantive legal tasks pertaining to the rapidly evolving field of constitutional privacy rights, with a focus on protecting the First and Fourth Amendment rights of all Americans in an era of pervasive surveillance.  The fellow will gain in-depth, practical legal experience by working with CAIR attorneys on high profile federal constitutional litigation.

In particular, this work will include:

  • Drafting legal memos, pleadings, motions, and briefs on unique issues of constitutional law relating to the protection of the privacy rights from overly broad and invasive governmental surveillance.
  • Conducting in-depth legal research and analysis of cutting-edge issues of national import.
  • Interviewing witnesses and potential clients.
  • Developing a comprehensive understanding of the federal government’s means of mass electronic surveillance and assisting CAIR’s attorneys in developing successful legal strategies to curtail the overreach of the modern American security state.

CAIR Civil Rights

Since CAIR’s founding in 1994, CAIR staff has worked tirelessly to advance the civil rights of all Americans, regardless of faith.  Starting with just a small office and a telephone, CAIR has developed into the preeminent organization that  Muslims contact when they require legal advice and assistance.  CAIR has grown into a preeminent civil rights advocacy organization that has been recognized for its work both in the United States and internationally.

Even now, civil rights advocacy remains at the center of CAIR's work. CAIR has served more than 25,000 victims of discrimination since its founding. Our nation-wide offices receive a total of approximately 3,000 inquiries a years and work to resolve them through mediation, negotiation, public pressure or, if necessary, through legal action. Our services are often provided free of charge to the community.
In 2011, CAIR updated our "Know Your Rights and Responsibilities" pocket guide. This wallet-sized pamphlet provides details of your rights as an employee, student or airline passenger, and teaches the reader how to react to an anti-Muslim hate crime and what to do if you are contacted by law enforcement. CAIR provides these guides free of charge and has distributed more than 1 million copies since it was first written.

Please continue reading to find out more about the work that we do.  

Contents:

1999 Civil Rights Report: Expressions of Faith

Executive Summary

The majority of complaints received by CAIR's offices in 1999 consist of incidents of religious accommodation denial. Complaints about the lack of accommodation to Muslim prayer in schools and the workplace accounted for the largest portion of cases. Hijab related complaints came in second place, a marked change from previous years, which implies an increased tolerance toward Muslim women's attire by the American public.

Still, a survey of Muslim parents and students in the public school systems shows that the majority shy away from requesting religious accommodation. Accommodation policies in most school districts surveyed in this report do not adequately address most of the religious requirements of Muslim students, suggesting that the problem of accommodating Muslim students is more structural than incidental in nature.

At the workplace, there has been a modest change, with some corporations adjusting their policies to accommodate the religious practices of their employees. Still, incidents of discrimination recur even at places where education and moral persuasion in the past have led to successful resolution of discrimination complaints.

In public schools, there has been little progress in the form of policy initiatives by some school districts in favor of religious accommodation. Yet most school districts surveyed in this report do not address most Muslim concerns. Local Muslim communities ought to be more active in providing input to school boards, so that school district policies regarding religious accommodation address the needs of Muslim students. Also, Congress and the Department of Education may take appropriate initiatives to address the needs of minority students, similar to what government did when the Equal Access Act was passed and implemented dealing with concerns raised by religious conservative Christians.

1999 Civil Rights Report: Expressions of Faith

2002 Civil Rights Report: Stereotypes and Civil Liberties

Executive Summary

Data gathered for this report demonstrate that Muslims in the United States are more apprehensive than ever about discrimination and intolerance. U.S. government actions after September 11, 2001, alone impacted more than 60,000 individuals. Muslims have charged that the government's actions violated the First and Fourth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution because they included ethnically and religiously-based interrogations, detentions, raids, and closures of charities.

In addition, the daily experiences of Muslims in schools, workplaces, public areas, and airports have often included incidents in which they were singled out, denied religious accommodation and otherwise discriminated against by reason of actual or perceived religion and ethnicity. In the past year CAIR received 1,516 complaints from community members, which represents a three-fold increase over the previous year. Individual claims reported directly to CAIR affected the lives of more than 2,250 people; most were subjected to incidents of bias-motivated harassment and violence. Unlike any other past crisis, the post-September 11 anti-Muslim backlash has been the most violent, as it included several murders.

Excluding the September 11 backlash incidents, this year's normal reporting period contains 525 valid complaints, up from 366 in 2000/2001--a 43 percent increase. These incidents included the termination or denial of employment because of religious appearance; the refusal to accommodate religious practices in the workplace, schools, and prisons; the singling out of individuals at airports because of their distinct names, appearances, and travel destination; the detention or interrogation of Muslims by federal and local authorities based on profiling criteria; and the denial of services or access to public accommodation facilities because of religious or ethnic identity. All of these experiences have common elements of setting religious and ethnic features of Muslim life or Muslim religious and political views apart from what is considered normal and acceptable. The fallout from the September 11 attacks continues to impact Muslim daily life in several ways, especially at airports and ports of entry. FBI agents and other local law enforcement authorities have sometimes responded to hearsay reports, and conducted raids and interrogations of legal immigrants and citizens. While the government has defended such actions as necessary for national security, none of these actions led to the arrest of terror suspects. Instead they disrupted the ability of thousands of Muslims to practice their religion freely, negatively impacted the careers and hopes of many individuals, and threatened democratic freedoms and the rule of law.

Two particularly encouraging developments are noteworthy. First, on April 3, 2002, a federal judge in Detroit, Michigan ruled that the Bush administration's policy of closed immigration hearings was unconstitutional. The ruling came in the case of Rabih Haddad, who had overstayed his immigration visa. In another case involving a hate crime, a Dallas, Texas jury convicted Mark Stroman for the murder of Vasudev Patel last October. Storman thought the Hindu man looked Middle Eastern and killed him to avenge the attacks on New York and Washington.

2002 Civil Rights Report: Stereotypes and Civil Liberties

2003 Civil Rights Report: Guilt by Association

Executive Summary

In 2002, Muslim community members in the United States reported 602 complaints of discrimination to CAIR. This represents a 15 percent increase over the previous year. More than any other year, the daily experiences of Muslims in schools, workplaces, public areas, airports, and in encounters with the courts, police and other government agencies included incidents in which they were profiled and singled out because of actual or perceived religious and ethnic identity. Anti-Muslim sentiment related to September the 11th has been cited in many reports. Never before had an international terrorist act had such a long-lasting impact on Muslim life in the United States.

When compared to the year preceding September 11th, this year's reports show a 64 percent increase. The fallout from September 11 continues to impact Muslim daily life, whether at schools, in the workplace or in general public encounters. Mistreatment at the hand of federal government personnel continue to be reported in substantial numbers. FBI agents and other local law enforcement authorities have sometimes responded to hearsay reports, and conducted questionable raids and interrogations.

In 2002, the Department of Justice has continued to take actions in the name of combating terrorism, when in fact they have targeted broadly Arabs and Muslims in this country. The investigation dragnet in 2002 included the special registration requirements that singled out students and visitors to America from Muslim-majority countries. Also, many Muslim homes and businesses were raided and private property seized pending investigation. Moreover, queries by some FBI agents about mosque membership lists and media reports about a proposed FBI counting of mosques raised widespread apprehension among community members who believed they were being scrutinized based on their religious association. Other profiling-based interrogations and searches continued throughout the year, though reported with less frequency than the few months immediately after September 11th. Critics of the government have charged that such actions violated the First and Fourth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

Singling out Muslims is increasing in all sectors of life. A significant number of cases took place at private businesses, places of residence, the Internet, and courts. Contributing to the rise of discrimination against Muslims is the continuing anti-Muslim rhetoric, especially by some evangelical leaders and neoconservatives. A segment of this report documents examples of their divisive language. The vilification of Islam and Muslims by such elements continues unabated.

 

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