The number of civil rights complaints by Muslims in the United States jumped 25 percent in 2006, mainly because of a surge in immigration and citizenship problems, a leading U.S. Muslim group said on Thursday.

In its annual report on civil rights, the Council on American-Islamic Relations said it processed 2,467 complaints last year, up from 1,972 in 2005.

Discrimination complaints against federal agencies including the Department of Homeland Security and the Justice Department more than doubled to 890 filings from about 380 in 2005 and accounted for just over 36 percent of total civil rights complaints.

“This is the first time since 2004 that government agencies represented the highest percentage of complaints,” CAIR said in the 40-page report, titled “The Status of Muslim Civil Rights in the United States.”

“This increase was due primarily to the number of cases related to major immigration issues such as citizenship and naturalization delays.”

Hate crime complaints including physical attacks against individuals and mosques rose 9.2 percent to 167 in 2006, compared with 153 a year earlier, the Washington-based advocacy group said in the report.

But hate crimes also declined as a percentage of total complaints, as did other discrimination categories including racial or religious profiling and verbal harassment.

Independent polls have recorded rising U.S. Muslim unease about U.S. government policies since the Sept. 11 attacks, which killed about 3,000 people and prompted U.S. President George W. Bush’s global war on terrorism.

An April report by New York University Law School’s Center for Human Rights and Global Justice said post-Sept. 11 U.S. counterterrorism efforts had “institutionalized” discrimination by adding tighter security checks to immigration and citizenship procedures.


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