WASHINGTON, May 11 (IPS) – Reported incidents of anti-Muslim bias including hate crimes, discrimination, and harassment rose sharply in the United States last year, according to a new report by a major Islamic group. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), in a report released Wednesday, said it received 141 reports of actual or planned violence against Muslims or mosques nationwide, a 52 percent increase over the 93 reports the group received in 2003 and the 42 it received in 2002. In addition, the number of incidents reportedly involving some form of police or law-enforcement abuse, such as unreasonable arrests, detentions and searches, rose sharply in 2004, constituting more than one-fourth of all cases of abuse or discrimination, according to the report, ‘Unequal Protection: The Status of Muslim Civil Rights in the United States 2005’.
Such cases constituted only seven percent of reported incidents in 2003, according CAIR, which stressed that its report could not be considered scientific because it relied on voluntary reporting by alleged victims or witnesses. Altogether, it said, more than 1,900 incidents of abuse and discrimination were reported to CAIR, of which 1,522 were deemed sufficiently credible to be included in the tally. That total was 49 percent greater than the 2003 totals. ”These disturbing figures come as no surprise given growing Islamophobic sentiments and a general misperception of Islam and Muslims,” said CAIR Legal Director Arsalan Iftikhar, who wrote the 62-page report.