DEARBORN, Michigan — Discrimination and harassment by law enforcement have come to plague American Muslims in the years since the terrorist attacks of September 11.
There have been suspicious looks, slurs, physical attacks, extra screening at airports and arrests on groundless charges.
And it seems to be getting worse.
A recent Gallup poll showed that 39 percent of Americans admit to being prejudiced against Muslims and that nearly a quarter say they would not want a Muslim for a neighbor.
“Most Americans don’t know Muslims except for those they work with in an urban environment so all the information they get is through the media,” said Dawud Walid, director of the Michigan chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR).
After having shown some restraint in his rhetoric after 19 Muslim men affiliated with Al-Qaeda flew planes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, President George W. Bush has of late been using far more inflammatory language such as ‘Islamofacists,’ Walid said.
“When the religious and political leaders use polarizing language these are the unfortunate side effects. It stretches from the likes of (Christian Coalition leader) Pat Robinson all the way up to President Bush.”