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Anti-Muslim Incidents Jump 70 Percent in 2003

A report released today by a prominent national Islamic civil rights and advocacy group indicates that anti-Muslim incidents in the United States increased by almost 70 percent in 2003.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations' (CAIR) report - the only annual study of its kind - outlines 1019 incidents and experiences of anti-Muslim violence, discrimination and harassment in 2003, the highest number of Muslim civil rights cases ever recorded by the Washington-based group. According to the report, called "Unpatriotic Acts," hate crimes alone jumped by an unprecedented 121 percent.

CAIR said factors contributing to the sharp increase in reported incidents included a lingering atmosphere of post-9/11 fear in America, pro-war rhetoric leading up to and following last year's invasion of Iraq, a disturbing increase in anti-Muslim rhetoric, and abuses associated with the implementation of the USA PATRIOT Act.

An executive summary of the report and an order form for the complete study are available online at:

The report recommends a number of actions designed to help reverse the tide of anti-Muslim discrimination. These recommendations include a public inquiry to post-9/11 policies impacting the Muslim community, legislative actions to curb the use of profiling by law enforcement agencies, strengthening of hate crime prosecutions, and modifications to the USA PATRIOT Act.

Muslims and those perceived to be Muslim in Arizona, New York, California, and New Jersey experienced the greatest increase in reported incidents, ranging from a jump of 233 (Calif.) to 584 percent (Ariz.). Along with religious and ethnic profiling and denial of religious accommodation, workplace discrimination was the largest category of complaints. California (22 percent), New York (19 percent) and Virginia (7 percent) reported the largest percentage of total complaints. The report does show a significant drop in reports of passenger profiling and unreasonable arrests.

"The disturbing jump in reports of anti-Muslim incidents is a wake-up call to those commentators who use their public positions to spread anti-Muslim hate," said CAIR Research Director Dr. Mohamed Nimer, the report's author.

In response to a recent surge in anti-Muslim incidents nationwide, CAIR launched a "Hate Hurts America" campaign designed to counter Islam-bashing on radio talk shows.

CAIR began documenting anti-Muslim incidents following the 1995 attack on the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. The council is America's largest Islamic civil liberties group, with 26 regional offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada.


GA Muslim police officer files discrimination suit

GA Muslim police officer files discrimination suit

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today announced that a Muslim police officer has filed a discrimination lawsuit against the city of Decatur, Ga., over allegations of racial and religious harassment.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in the Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta Division, claims the Muslim officer faced harassment "almost immediately from his start of work." (The plaintiff is of Mauritian heritage, but was apparently perceived to be Arab or Iranian by co-workers.)

According to papers filed with the court:

"[The officer's] supervisors and co-workers persistently hurled racial epithets at him, calling him 'Taliban' and shouting at him, 'that's what you get for bombing us, you damn Taliban!'…Plaintiff's supervisor, superimposed [the officer's] picture onto a 'Seeking Information' of a Saudi national…suspected to be associated with the September 11, 2001 bombing…The poster with [the officer's] name and face superimposed over that of [the wanted Saudi national] was placed in the break room for the entire police force to see…At roll call, while both shifts were present, [the supervisor] passed out to each employee the flyer he had prepared."

In September 2002, the Muslim officer filed a formal grievance and was placed on administrative leave. He later resigned from the force after concluding his complaint was not being taken seriously.

According to the lawsuit: "The City of Decatur continued to insist that the…remarks were made in good-natured fun, were not intended to be discriminatory and were only teasing that [the officer] should expect from the Decatur Police."

The lawsuit alleges that the City of Decatur and its employees failed to provide the plaintiff with a safe work environment and intentionally inflicted emotional distress. It seeks unspecified punitive and compensatory damages.

"Any officer of the law should be treated with utmost respect, particularly by his colleagues and supervisors," said CAIR Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper. Hooper said workplace discrimination is one of the largest categories of discrimination cases CAIR deals with. He added that CAIR publishes a booklet called "An Employer's Guide to Islamic Religious Practices." (The booklet is available by e-mailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..)

In March, The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced the $1.11 million settlement of a harassment lawsuit against a California steel company over workplace harassment of Pakistani-American employees.

CAIR, America's largest Islamic civil liberties group, is headquartered in Washington, D.C., and has 26 regional offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada.


FBI probes threat against Texas Muslims

FBI probes threat against Texas Muslims

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today said the FBI is investigating the latest in a series of incidents targeting the Muslim community in Texas.

CAIR said the Islamic Center of El Paso in El Paso, Texas, ( received an e-mailed threat of violence on Sunday, April 18. The e-mail, from a person called "freedom lover," said that if hostages in Iraq were not freed within three days, "your islamic (sic) center will become the center of death and destruction." The message went on to say: "The will of the people has been portrayed to you and your Satan worshiping faith."

Local law enforcement authorities told CAIR they will step up police patrols in the area of the mosque.

"Islamophobic rhetoric is unfortunately on the rise in our society, prompting a minority to act out their bigoted views through threats and violence," said CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad. He called on political and religious leaders in Texas to speak out strongly against anti-Muslim hate.

Awad noted that earlier this month, an arson suspect was arrested at the scene of a fire at a Muslim business in San Antonio. It was the fourth arson fire at a Muslim-operated business in that city. In March, vandals scrawled racist graffiti on the interior of a Lubbock mosque.

An official with the Islamic Center of El Paso told CAIR that Sunday's threat was the first since the anti-Muslim backlash following the 1995 attack on the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. After the 9/11 terror attacks, when other American Muslim communities faced threats and attacks, citizens of El Paso brought cards and flowers to the center.

Last week, CAIR announced a new campaign designed to counter anti-Muslim hate on radio talk shows. The campaign, called "Hate Hurts America," is based on the premise that the increasing attacks on Islam by conservative talk show hosts harms the United States by creating a downward spiral of interfaith mistrust and hostility.

CAIR, America's largest Islamic civil liberties group, is headquartered in Washington, D.C., and has 26 regional offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada.


Muslims will see Bush 'Green Light' for Assassination

Muslims will see Bush 'Green Light' for Assassination

A prominent national Islamic civil rights and advocacy group said today's assassination of Palestinian political leader Abdel Aziz Rantisi will create the impression throughout the Muslim world that President Bush gave a "green light" for the killing.

Rantisi died following an Israeli missile strike on his car Saturday, just days after President Bush met with Ariel Sharon in the White House. At that meeting, President Bush overturned decades of American diplomacy to side with Israel on issues, such as the removal of settlements and the Palestinian right of return, that had been viewed by past Republican and Democratic administrations as subject to bilateral negotiations.

In its statement, the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said:

"Once again we see Ariel Sharon thumbing his nose at America's image and interests. Sharon surely knew that this assassination, which has been universally condemned by the international community, would create the impression that President Bush gave him a 'green light' at their recent meeting in Washington. The State Department's meek response to yet another act of state terrorism by Israel merely serves to confirm that impression.

"Until our leaders act in America's interests, and not just those of a foreign state or its domestic lobby, we will continue to be viewed worldwide as a party to oppression, not as a force for freedom or justice."

World leaders have been uniform in their condemnation of Rantisi's assassination. British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw called it "unlawful, unjustified and counterproductive." European Union Foreign Policy Chief Javier Solana said "actions of this type are not only unlawful, they are not conducive to lowering tension." A spokesman for U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said: "(Annan) reiterates that extrajudicial killings are violations of international law and calls on the government of Israel to immediately end this practice."

America's allies in the Muslim world are also expressing outrage at the attack and linking it to Sharon's meeting with President Bush. Yemeni Foreign Minister Abubakr Al-Qirbi said: "The United States bears the responsibility for what happens, since after every visit by Sharon to Washington he commits more terrorism and assassinations."

CAIR, America's largest Islamic civil liberties group, has consistently condemned all terrorist acts, whether carried out by individuals, groups or states.


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