On September 24, 2012, a Muslim man living in rental housing was informed that on Sept. 27, there would be a canine bed bug inspection of all apartments in his building.Not wanting to contaminate his home with dog saliva, the man immediately called his resident manager and left several messages asking for another method of inspection to be used on his unit because of his family’s religious abstention to contact with dogs.

On September 26, the housing manager finally replied and stated that in order to be excused from canine inspections the man would have to complete a form and provide a letter from a religious leader to confirm his religious beliefs. However, even then the manager would be unable to prevent a canine inspection of his home the next day because of the short notice. Feeling desperate, the man contacted CAIR-WA and spoke with a member of its Civil Rights Department.

With a short timeline and a very nervous family, CAIR-WA immediately drafted a letter to the executive director of the housing company to explain the religious belief of many observant Muslims that dogs are ritually unclean and therefore to be avoided. Furthermore, CAIR-WA respectfully requested that the pending canine inspection be cancelled and that tenants be given earlier notice of future inspections so that necessary paperwork can be filled out in a less urgent timeframe. The man approved this letter and gave CAIR-WA permission to send it on his behalf. After doing so, CAIR-WA followed the letter with a phone call to draw the housing company’s executive director’s attention to the urgency of the letter’s content.

Later that day, CAIR-WA received a call from the executive director of the housing company who said that she had received our letter and would comply with the man’s request to keep canines out of his home.She explained that in accordance with the lawful observance of an anti-discriminatory policy, their association had also made accommodations for Muslim tenants in the past. CAIR-WA then called the man to inform him of the good news.

In addition, the man informed us that in the meantime, his resident manager had sent an email in response to another message he had left on her machine. She expressed understanding of his frustrations and reluctantly agreed to have his canine inspection cancelled provided that he submit the necessary paperwork before the next scheduled inspection, which will occur in approximately six months. The man expressed deep gratitude for CAIR-WA’s swift and immediate action, and relief that the canine inspection was cancelled.

Remember, when it comes to protecting the civil rights of American Muslims, no case is too small for CAIR-WA!