CAIR-FL: ANTI-MUSLIM INCIDENTS ON RISE IN STATE, WATCHDOG GROUP SAYS
Zaid Ismail had been selling cars at a local auto dealership for about eight months when the harassment started.
His new manager called Ismail, a Palestinian, ”little terrorist.”
When he was in the restroom, someone knocked on the stall door saying, ”Hey, are you making bombs in there?”
And in September of last year, Ismail, 51, of Coral Springs, found a note on his car telling him to go back to the Middle East or die.
“I’m an American like everyone else. It’s not right,” Ismail said.
Ismail’s story is one of 112 acts of discrimination against Muslims recorded last year in Florida, according to a report released on Thursday. That’s up from 103 in 2004.
The Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations put together the annual report. CAIR is a Muslim advocacy group established after the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.
“The effect of 9/11 is not withering away,” CAIR legal counsel Areeb Naseer said.
Other findings in the report include:
o The number of hate crimes against Muslims went down from 15 in 2004 to 12 in 2005.
o Work was the most common place where discrimination occurred, including 22 of the incidents against Muslims in 2005.
o Denying Muslims religious accommodations, like banning a woman from wearing a head scarf, was the most common type of discrimination, including 24 of the incidents in 2005.
CAIR compiles the numbers from complaints received at its two Florida offices in Pembroke Pines and Tampa. A third office opened in Orlando this year.
Each complaint is investigated to make sure the person has evidence that the discrimination happened, Naseer said. Once CAIR officials decide the complaint is legitimate, they try to find a way to resolve the situation, Naseer said.