2008 Civil Rights Report: Without Fear of Discrimination

Executive Summary

For the 2007 calendar year, CAIR and its affiliate chapters processed a total of 2,652 civil rights complaints.

Incidents of anti-Muslim hate crime complaints went down by 19 percent. Alleged incidents at schools or involving the police decreased 31 percent and 42 percent respectively. Discrimination in the workplace increased by 18 percent, with 384 cases reported in 2006 and 452 cases reported in 2007.

Marked decreases in cases involving due process issues (45 percent), physical violence (24 percent), denials of service or access (48 percent), and verbal harassment (35 percent) were recorded.

Passenger profiling reports jumped from 32 in 2006 to 141 in 2007, a 340 percent increase. There were also increases in reports of employment discrimination, a 34 percent increase, and denied religious accommodation, an eight percent increase.

Overall, nine states and the District of Columbia accounted for more than 80 percent of all incidents reported to CAIR in 2007. These include: California (21 percent), the District of Columbia (19 percent), Illinois (11 percent), Florida (7 percent), New York (7 percent), Virginia (4 percent), New Jersey (4 percent), Texas (3 percent), Pennsylvania (3 percent) and Maryland (2 percent).

Consistent with previous years, an individual’s ethnicity/religion or a “Muslim name” remained the primary factors that triggered discrimination. These two factors are believed to have triggered 63 percent of the total cases reported to CAIR during the 2007 calendar year.

From the above information, past experience and observations made during the 2007 calendar year, CAIR makes the following conclusions:

  • The decrease in reports of hate crimes and reports of discrimination by police and in schools during 2007 allows us to sound a note of cautious optimism.
  • The Muslim community now has well-established organizations to advocate on its behalf. These institutions serve both to educate fellow Americans about our faith and to educate fellow Muslims about effective methods for redressing grievances through political, media and social activism.
  • Some government agencies appear to be benefiting from an emphasis on cultural proficiency for employees who may deal with Muslims.

Based on this data and conclusions, CAIR makes the following recommendations:

  • Elected representatives, public officials and candidates for elected offices should clearly condemn anti-Islam bias in our society. Elected officials should also ensure that their respective parties similarly condemn such bias. Political strategists should avoid exploiting Islamophobic fears to gain votes.
  • Muslims and their institutions should continue to respond to negative incidents with positive educational campaigns.
  • Muslim groups should continue to maintain regular contacts with law enforcement agencies at the national, state and local levels.
  • Legislation banning racial, religious or ethnic profiling should be passed.