CAIR-CA: BIAS AGAINST MUSLIMS ON THE RISE, GROUP SAYS
Civil rights violations targeting Bay Area Muslims spiked last year, ranging from schoolyard taunts to deadly assaults to routine citizenship applications strangled by government red tape.
Reports more than doubled in 2005-06, according to the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
The nonprofit organization documented 246 incidents in 2006, up from 113 in 2005.
The Bay Area numbers reflect national numbers, which show episodes of anti-Muslim bias jumping by
25 percent. California accounted for nearly one-third of all the complaints.
The report chronicles verbal and physical harassment, and circumstances in which Muslims were singled out for questioning, subjected to lengthy delays in immigration or naturalization, or otherwise discriminated against. The crime scenes ranged from airports and government agencies to schools, work places, and mosques.
An e-mail from an angry Danville man to an East Bay blogger triggered one of the complaints.
"Hey, (expletive) bag, get the (expletive) out of my country," it read. "If I run across you in my daily tasks, I will get you."
Twenty-four hours and plenty of dialogue later, the Danville man apologized.
"Hate mail is actually quite common," council spokeswoman Abiya Ahmed said.
Alia Ansari of Fremont never got an apology. In October 2006 the Afghan mother of six was gunned down as she walked with her 3-year-old daughter. A suspect was arrested, but no motive has been determined. Family members and Muslim leaders suspect her head scarf marked her for a hate crime.
The rise in reported cases is partly due to the organization's Citizen Delay project, which documents instances in which immigrants are forced to wait beyond the legal limit of 120 days for their citizenship applications to be processed, Ahmed said. Many have been waiting for years, she said.