CAIR-CINCINNATI: MUSLIMS IN U.S. REPORT MORE BIAS
Civil rights complaints by Muslims in 2006 increased by 25 percent over the previous year, according to an annual national report on the status of Muslim civil rights in the United States.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations, which issued the report last week, received 2,467 complaints nationwide last year. The council, which is the country's largest Islamic civil liberties group, began documenting anti-Muslim incidents after the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.
Locally, workplace discrimination issues are the No. 1 complaint among Muslims. Nationally, the biggest issue is immigration, including residency and citizenship delays, said Karen Dabdoub, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations Cincinnati Chapter, which held a press conference Tuesday to discuss the report.
Muslims are forced to wait from two to five years for decisions on lawful permanent residence cards and citizenship, while the wait for non-Muslims ranges from eight months to a year, Dabdoub said. Much of the delay occurs because the FBI must check all applications against the terrorist watch list, but the agency has not been given enough resources to handle the workload, she said.
"We're not saying, 'Get rid of the process.' We're saying, 'Make it work,' "Dabdoub said. "If somebody is a terrorist, do we want them around four to five years while their name is being checked? Heavens, no. We want them out of here."
And, she said, it's wrong to hold up applications for others.
"These are human beings. They have lives. . . .When your status is on hold, your whole life is basically on hold," she said.