Anti-Muslim incidents up three-fold in past year
A report released today by a prominent Islamic advocacy group indicates that reports of anti-Muslim incidents in the United States increased three-fold over the previous year. (Up from 366 validated reports in 2001 to 1125 this year.) The only national study of its kind also shows that almost 60,000 American Muslims have been negatively impacted by U.S. government policies since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations' (CAIR) seventh annual study, titled "Stereotypes and Civil Liberties," outlines 1516 reports of denial of religious accommodation, harassment, discrimination, bias, threat, assault, and even several murders. That figure represents more than 2,200 individuals targeted because of actual or perceived religion and ethnicity. The majority of violent incidents occurred in the period immediately following the September 11 attacks. If post 9-11 backlash incidents are eliminated from the count, the remaining reports (525) still show a 43 percent increase over the 2001 study.
CAIR's report covers the period from March 2001, to March 2002. It is available online at http://www.cair-net.org/civilrights2002/
In addition to the direct acts of discrimination and violence, the report shows that the civil rights of almost 60,000 American Muslims were negatively impacted by government policies instituted following the 9-11
attacks. Those affected include some 1,200 Muslims who were detained nationwide, mostly on immigration charges, but who were treated as if they were terrorists, 5,000 legal visa-holders who were asked to submit to "voluntary" interrogations and an estimated 50,000 individuals who donated to American Muslim relief agencies shut down by the government.
"Muslims, like all Americans, support policies that result in genuine increases in security. Unfortunately, many of the government actions prompted by 9-11, particularly those based on ethnic and religious
profiling or stereotypes, merely create a false sense of security and preclude effective initiatives," said CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad.
"Now is the time for the judiciary to step in and reaffirm the constitutionally-protected rights that all Americans hold dear," said Awad. Awad added that Muslims were among the victims of the September 11 attacks, they died rescuing other victims and they died in the anti-Muslim hysteria that followed the attacks.
CAIR issued its first civil rights report, called "A Rush to Judgment," within a month of the 1995 attack on the Murrah Federal Building. There are an estimated seven million Muslims in the United States.