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Friday, April 28th, is the First of Sha’ban al-Mu’atham

Friday , (April 28, 2017) will be the first of the month of Sha’ban 1438 AH.

Important dates in the month of Sha’ban:
3rd: Birth Anniversary of Imam Al-Hussain (as)
4th: Birth Anniversary of Abu Fadhl Al-Abbas (as)
5th: Birth Anniversary of Imam As-Sajjad (as)
15th: Birth Anniversary of Imam Al-Mahdi (atfs)
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Precautions to Protect Your Digital Privacy

In the last Justice360 bulletin, we discussed what airport security and border agents can search on your phone, laptop, and social media. This week’s Justice360 bulletin outlines precautions that you can take to ensure that your privacy is protected at the border. The key to protecting your privacy is to setup safeguards before you travel. Here are some general tips:

  1. Decide what information you need on your trip – If you do not need all your files and your personal devices on the trip, avoid taking your laptop or personal phone. Arrange to have a secondary laptop or phone that has only the essential information you need.
  2. Backup your information on a cloud system – Before you return from your trip abroad, consider backing up your information on a cloud system. This way, you can have your information secured on a backup and minimize the information saved locally on your digital device. However, please note that border agents might get suspicious if you have a completely wiped laptop or phone, which may lead to additional questioning. You have to determine what is best for your situation. Decide what information you are comfortable traveling with. For example, if you wear hijab and you do not want your private photos searched, consider backing up your pictures on a secure cloud system.
  3. Use encryptions – Encryptions makes information on your device look like code without the proper access key. Encryptions decrease the chance that someone can access your information without your knowledge if your device is lost, stolen, or seized.
  4. Use Private Browsing Mode – Private browsing mode means that your internet browsing history will not be saved.
  5. Delete Social Media Apps and/or Disable Automatic App Login – By deleting account information from your phone, this provides an extra step in protecting your social media information. At this time, border agents are not legally allowed to obtain your password information for your social media accounts. However, they can ask for your social media account names. Please see the last Justice360 bulletin for more on this topic.
  6. Turn off your device before reaching border control – By turning off your device, you can protect against programs that can bypass passwords to access digital information without your knowledge.
  7. Use strong passwords – As with encryption and turning off your phone, strong passwords help against programs that can break into your device without the password or your consent.
  8. Change your passwords – Changing your passwords soon after the encounter with border agents can minimize the window of access and will allow you more control over when and how your information can be viewed.  You can also use two-step password protection, which requires not only your password, but a code that is provided to a secondary device to log into your account. This way, the lack of login credentials is out of your hand if you do not travel with the secondary device.
  9. Consult your employer – If you are traveling with a work phone or laptop, speak with your employer regarding company policies and guidance regarding protecting confidential information. Many companies provide secondary travel devices that have encryptions and other protections. Additionally, companies can provide notices printed on the laptops stating that the traveler does not have the right to provide passwords to the device as the information on the device is company-owned and privileged.
  10. Do a Risk Assessment – Decide what precautions are best for you. U.S. Citizens and Legal Permanent Residents (green card holders) cannot be denied entry if they do not provide information to the border control; however, as discussed in the previous Justice360 bulletin, border control can make the situation more difficult. People with temporary visas (such as student visas) can be denied entry if they do not provide information that is requested. That said, this does not mean that you do not have rights and that your information can be openly searched. It is imperative that you know your rights and that you take proper steps to ensure that your information is not abused.

 

By taking precautions to protect your digital information beforehand, you can ensure your privacy and, at the same time, ensure your peace-of-mind in avoiding awkward situations with border control.

For more information about Justice360, visit www.muslimcongress.org/wp/j360.

 

–Najmeh Mahmoudjafari
Sister Najmeh is the Founder and Lead Immigration Attorney at ImmigraTrust Law (www.ImmigraTrust.com), an immigration law practice in Sacramento, California, representing individual and corporate clients in all 50 U.S. States and internationally. Sister Najmeh can be reached at Najmeh@ImmigraTrust.com.

 

DISCLAIMER:

Justice360 Legal Bulletins are meant to assist in the general understanding of the current law relating to the stated topics. JUSTICE360 LEGAL BULLETINS SHOULD NOT BE REGARDED AS LEGAL ADVICE. Organizations or individuals with specific questions should seek the advice of legal counsel.

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Hadhrat Zainab (a): A role model for all

Condolences to the Imam of our time Imam al-Mahdi (atfs), our righteous scholars, the Leader of the Muslim World, and all human beings on the martyrdom anniversary of Aqeelatu Bani Hashim Umm ul-Masaaib Hadhrat Zainab (alyha as-salam)

While Hadhrat Zainab (as) was not technically one of the fourteen masoomeen, she was perfect and grew up surrounded by the flawless five.
She had Rasoolullah (saawa) for a grandfather, Amir ul Mumineen (as) for a father, as-Sayyedah Fatimah (as) as her mother, and Imam Hasan (as) and Hussain (as) as her brothers. She was still a perfect and infallible human being and one of the best examples for mankind.

The purpose of creation is the worship of Allah and to submit to His will in all aspects of life.

A person reveals who they truly are when they are faced with trials and difficulties. In Karbala, on the day of Ashuraa, Hadhrat Zainab (as) watched as the male members of her family and Imam Hussain’s (as) supporters were brutally slaughtered. The tents were loud with the cries of the frightened children and women. No adult male was left to look after them except Imam Zainul Abideen (as) , a man who was seriously ill.

Hadhrat Zainab (as) put her own emotions aside and shouldered the most agonizing and difficult responsibility of caring for them. She stood steadfast and strong when the enemies snatched her veil, and when she had to see the mens’ heads on spears.

Imam Zainul Abideen (as) testified that she never missed any wajib or recommended prayers during her journey from Karbala to Kufa and from Kufa to Sham even when she was not able to pray standing because of hunger and thirst.

ان عمتى زینب كانت تؤدى صلواتها، من قیام الفرائض والنوافل عند مسیرنا من الكوفة الى الشام وفى بعض منازل كانت تصلى من جلوس لشدة الجوع والضعف

Lady Zainab (as) resembled her father in her speech and bravery. When she was in the court of Ibn Ziyad (lanatullahi alyhi), he said, “What did Allah do to your family?”

She replied, ما رایت الا جمیلا
“I have not seen anything except beauty.”

These words show her love and recognition of her lord.

When Ibn Ziyad decided to martyr Imam Zainul Abideen (as) she became a shield for him.

“O son of Ziyad! You have shed enough of our blood. By Allah! I shall not part with him. If you desire to kill him, kill me along with him too”.

In the court of Yazid (lanatullahi alyhi), a Syrian asked to have Fatimah, a daughter of Imam Hussain, as a slave. When Yazid tried to grant his request, Hadhrat Zainab (s.a) replied to Yazid, “By Allah! You lie! And you revealed your mean nature. You nor he has any authority to do so”.

Yazid was enraged and said,”It is you who lie! By Allah! I do have the right to do so”.

Syeda Zainab (a.s.) replied,”No, by Allah! Allah has not given you the authority”.

She challenged Yazid, “O son of freed slaves, is this your justice that you keep your own daughters and slave-maids veiled while the daughters of the Prophet of Allah are being paraded from place to place exposed? You have dishonored us by unveiling our faces.”

She recited a verse from the Quran to show Yazid his fate: “Let not those who disbelieve think that Our giving them respite is good for their selves; We only give respite to them that they may increase in sins, and for them is a disgraceful chastisement.’ (Surah aal-‘Imraan, 3:178).

Needless to say, the story of Karbala is incomplete without mentioning the role of Hadhrat Zainab (as). Imam Hussain (as) took her with him for a reason. Without her, his sacrifice and message would have ended in Karbala. Her task was to protect the essence of his message. She preached in city after city as she and the survivors were taken to Shaam. She ensured the story of Karbala was not questioned or forgotten like Ghadeer e khumm. She is a faithful servant of Allah and a protector of true Islam. She sacrificed everything to ensure its survival. Her life serves as an example of what it means to be a Muslim. She is a true role model for all Muslims and non-Muslims, men and women.

Wassalam
Syed Sartaj Zaidi

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Congratulations on the Birth of Imam Ali ibn Abi Taleb (a)

Congratulations to the Imam of our time Imam al-Mahdi (atfs), our righteous scholars, the Leader of the Muslim World, and all human beings on the birth anniversary of Ameer ul-Mumineen Imam Ali (as).

Imam Ali (as) was born on the 13th of Rajab month, thirty years after the Year of the Elephant.

One of the many distinctions he enjoyed is that he was the first and last person to be born inside the Kabah, the House of Allah.

The birth of Imam Ali (as) filled the heart of the Holy Prophet (saawa) with boundless happiness.

When Imam Ali (as) was five years old, the Holy Prophet (saawa) and Hadhrat Khadijah (as) raised him after the death of their own sons. From that moment on, they were never to part with each other.

Prophet Muhammad (saawa) picked out Imam Ali (as) to raise and transfer knowledge to him – he himself became Imam Ali’s (as) guide, teacher and instructor.

This is another distinction that Ali (as) enjoyed alone.

Although he was still a child, he swore to help the Prophet in his mission to spread the message of Tauheed, Islam and its great Divine ethical values.

There is no part of the Imam’s (as) life that is hidden from the spotlight of history. His destiny was inseparably linked with the destiny of Islam. He was there at its onset, and every significant event onward, playing the key role.

Imam Ali (as) was the idol breaker who removed all the illegally occupying idols from the Ka’bah-the house of Allah. On Laylat al-Mabeet, the night of the Hijrah, he put his life on the line for the Messenger of Allah by sleeping in his bed and facing the real threats posed by forty armed intruders representing forty disbelieving tribes.

He was courageous and valiant in the battlefields, fought in defending the noble cause of justice, truth and peace, serving as the right hand and the shield of the Prophet (s) in every defensive war that was fought – the pillars of Islam were strengthened by the Zulfeqar of Imam Ali (as).

In this relation, no one preceded him nor did anyone reach this highest status after him.

The Holy Prophet’s (saawa) love for Imam Ali (as) was also well known. He has been quoted as saying “Ali (as) is from me and I am from Ali (as). His flesh is my flesh and his blood is my blood. Hence, whoever loves Ali (as) loves me, and whoever is hostile to him, is my enemy.”

In the battle of Tabuk, when the Holy Prophet (saawa) was leaving the city of Madinah al-Munawwarah, he said “Are you not happy that you are to me like Aaron was to Moses (peace be upon him), except that you are not a prophet?”

On another occasion, he said to Imam Ali (as), “You are the leader of every believer after me.”

Most famously, at ghadeer of Khumm, while returning frim the farewell Hajj, the Holy Prophet (saawa) said “For whomever I am his ruler, so this Ali (as) is his ruler”.

The Imam’s (as) conduct and character were such that he was a living reflection of the Qur’an – a complete walking and talking Qur’an.

It is evident to everyone that Imam Ali (as) was the most pious of his time and all times (like the Holy Prophet). He left behind a heritage of night prayers and supplications. He lived a life so absorbed in Allah and His deep love that he could not be seduced at all by the temptations of this world and its temporary material gains and attachments.

The virtues and merits of the Imam (as) are such that they cannot be counted or encompassed in its totality by human beings.

The Holy Prophet (saawa) said “Should the sky-touching trees turn into pens, and the seas turn into ink, and should the Jinn become counters, and humans become writers, they cannot possibly enumerate the virtues and merits of Ali ibn Abi-Talib (alyhimaa as-salam).”

We know of the many difficulties the Imam (as) faced during his lifetime. He was a person who was despised by his enemies, not because he was a tyrant, but because of his firmness in justice, truthfulness and moral character. His enemies were ruthless in their persecution of him, his family, and his followers. While they tried to conceal his merits and enforced laws forbidding the mention of Imam’s (as) merits, some of his loyal friends could not speak of his virtues out of the fear for their lives. Despite all the obstacles, his flawless character and great virtues were such that his reputation eventually spread, not only through out the East, but to the West as well. He is more remembered by Allah and the angels in the heavens than on earth.

May Allah (swt) help us in following the teachings of this infallible personality.

Wassalam
Syed Sartaj Zaidi

Chairman
Muslim Congress
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What Airport Border Agents Can Search on Your Laptop, Phone, and Social Media

Border control agents at the airport have great leeway on what they can search from persons to belongings. The 4th Amendment of the Constitution protects against unreasonable searches. However, searches at the border fall under a special exception that allows border agents to have a greater ability to search you and your belongings.

 

In the age of electronic devices that store nearly our entire lives, the issue of how far the border search exception can reach into our digital world has not been fully settled. Thus, there is no uniform implementation and your experience can vary based on the airport and the border control agent. However, there are some general rules, precautions, and tips that you should know if you ever encounter this situation.

 

What Border Agents Are Allowed to Search

Border agents are allowed to search you and your belongings. As to your digital devices, they are allowed to ask for passwords to unlock your laptop and phone. You are allowed to refuse to provide a password to unlock your laptop or phone; however, this may lead to other problems. Agents can detain you to ask you more question, and if they deem it necessary, they are allowed to seize your devices, make copies of the digital content using forensic technology, and return the device to you weeks after your trip (and at times, the device is returned without any content). This is a double-edged sword dilemma: If you comply, they can scrutinize all the information on your device and ask you questions about anything they find from your social media posts to your emails. If you do not comply, they can escalate the encounter by asking you additional questions, detain you longer, and seize your devices.

 

Can they ask for your social media usernames and passwords? This is unsettled. There were recent media reports that travelers were being asked for their social media handles (i.e., their account names) to view the public posts. However, providing this information was only voluntary; travelers were not ordered to provide the information. Also, note that if you provide your passcode for your phone and you have apps with automatic logins, then border agents can look through your app accounts. Therefore, to avoid this situation, you may want to disable automatic logins for apps and delete social media apps from your phone.

 

How to Protect Your Rights

As mentioned, you can refuse to provide passwords to your digital devices, but then, border agents can subject you to more questions, seize your device, and use forensic technology to view contents on your device. However, there are ways that you can ensure that you are protected.

 

Assume that border agents ask for your social media password in order to access your posts and messages beyond the publicly available posts, what can you do? First and foremost, you want to avoid implicit consent. You should ask the border agent whether he or she is asking or ordering you to provide a password. If the agent states that he or she is only asking or that it is only voluntary, then politely decline to provide the information. If the agent states that he or she is ordering you to provide that information, then if you choose to comply, state that you are complying under protest and that you do NOT give consent to this search. This is a very important detail as it legally preserves your right to challenge the border agent’s actions. You should document the border agent’s name, badge number, and the agencies that you interacted with as well.

 

Second, if pressed for your login credentials for your social media, you can state: “You are welcome to look at the public information of my social media accounts. However, I will only give my social media password, upon issuance of a warrant. It is my intellectual property, and I need assurance of a warrant.”

 

Alternatively, you can state: “Access to my private social media information goes beyond your right under the border search exception. I will be happy to comply upon issuance of a warrant.”

 

How you handle this situation depends truly on your own comfort level. Do you believe in standing up for your rights, or do you want to make sure your trip is as hassle-free as possible?

There is no one-size-fits-all solution. You have to determine what approach is best for you based on your own risk factors. Some factors to consider include immigration status, privileged work information, travel frequency and history, etc. As to immigration status, U.S. citizens and Legal Permanent Residents (green card holders) cannot be denied entry if they refuse to provide access to digital information. Nevertheless, border control can still detain you longer for additional questioning and more probative searches of your belongings. Travelers with temporary immigrant visas (such as a visitor’s visa or student visa) can be denied entry if they refuse access to border agents.

 

For the next Justice360 Bulletin, we will discuss what precautions you can take before you travel to protect your digital information.

For more information about Justice360, visit www.muslimcongress.org/wp/j360.

 

Najmeh Mahmoudjafari

Sister Najmeh is the Founder and Lead Immigration Attorney at ImmigraTrust Law (www.ImmigraTrust.com), an immigration law practice in Sacramento, California, representing individual and corporate clients in all 50 U.S. States and internationally. Sister Najmeh can be reached at Najmeh@ImmigraTrust.com.

 

DISCLAIMER:

Justice360 Legal Bulletins are meant to assist in the general understanding of the current law relating to the stated topics. JUSTICE360 LEGAL BULLETINS SHOULD NOT BE REGARDED AS LEGAL ADVICE. Organizations or individuals with specific questions should seek the advice of legal counsel.

 

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Thursday, March 30th, is the first of Rajab al-Murajab

Thursday (Mar 30, 2017) will be the first of the month of Rajab 1438 A.H.

 

Important Islamic Dates in this month:

  • Wiladat of Imam Mohammad Al-Baqir (as)…………………………….1 Rajab
  • Laylatul Raghaib…………………..………………………First Thursday of Rajab
  • Shahadat of Imam Ali An-Naqi (as)……………………….………………3 Rajab
  • Wiladat of Imam Mohammad Al-Taqi (as)……………………..…….10 Rajab
  • Wiladat of Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib (as)……………………..………….13 Rajab
  • Shahdat of Hadhrat Zainab bint Ali (sa)……………………………….15 Rajab
  • Shahadat of Imam Musa Al-Kazim (as)………………………………..25 Rajab
  • Be’that and Me’raj………………………………………………….………….27 Rajab
  • Journey of Imam Hussain (as) towards Karbala…………………..28 Rajab
  • Shahadat of Ayatullah Baqir Al-Sadr (ra)………………………………9 April

 

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