Feature Photo: Knowing your rights

By Sara Krimm
On February 23, 2012

Zahra Billoo, civil rights attorney and executive director of the Council on American-Islamic relations in the San Francisco Bay area, spoke to a group of students Wednesday night on knowing their rights when interacting with law enforcement officers.

"We are concerned with the direction our country is going in terms of the erosion of civil liberties," Billoo said.

She talked about working with people whose civil rights and liberties are violated because they are Muslim or perceived to be Muslim, and explained the proper steps of how to handle a situation when a law enforcement officer comes to your home to ask questions.

"If you remember nothing else that I say, always remember you have a right to remain silent and a right to an attorney," she said.

Billoo said that these are important rights for every American to remember, not just Islamic Americans whose civil liberties are being violated.

"The Bill of rights are not there for innocent people versus. guilty people - they're there for all of us," she said. "As Americans, I strongly believe we have an obligation to assert our rights.

Billoo will give another lecture tonight at 7 p.m. in the Fine Arts Recital Hall titled, "Islamophobia: Religious Freedom in the U.S."

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