In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
REPORT: ANTI-MUSLIM BIAS INCIDENTS JUMP 29 PERCENT
Total number of Muslim civil rights cases tops 1,900 in 2005
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 9/18/06) – A report released today by a prominent national Islamic civil rights and advocacy group indicates an almost 30 percent increase in the total number of complaints of anti-Muslim bias from 2004 to 2005.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations’ (CAIR) report – the only annual study of its kind – outlines 1,972 incidents and experiences of anti-Muslim violence, discrimination and harassment in 2005, the highest number of civil rights cases ever recorded in the Washington-based group’s annual report. (Hundreds of anti-Muslim incidents reported immediately following the 9/11 attacks were detailed in a separate report.) According to the study, called “The Struggle for Equality,” that figure is a 29.6 percent jump over the preceding year’s total of 1,522 cases.
CAIR also received 153 reports of anti-Muslim hate crime complaints, an 8.6 percent increase from the 141 complaints received in 2004. As in past years, CAIR said factors contributing to the sharp increase in reported incidents included the lingering impact of post-9/11 fears, increased awareness of civil rights issues in the Muslim community and a general increase in anti-Muslim rhetoric in American society.
“We believe the biggest factor contributing to anti-Muslim feeling and the resulting acts of bias is the growth in Islamophobic rhetoric that has flooded the Internet and talk radio in the post-9/11 era,” said CAIR Legal Director Arsalan Iftikhar, the report’s author.
Iftikhar said the report also outlines CAIR initiatives taken in the past year designed to decrease anti-Muslim prejudice. The report cites CAIR’s coordination of the fatwa, or Islamic religious ruling, by U.S. Muslim scholars repudiating terrorism and religious extremism, the “Not in the Name of Islam” public service announcements (PSA) and the “Explore the Quran” and “Muslims Care” educational and volunteerism campaigns.
A statement issued today by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) thanked CAIR for its “steadfast dedication to ameliorating the civil rights of American Muslims” and stated in part: “By all accounts, racial profiling, harassment, and discrimination of Muslim and Arab Americans have increased since 9/11. . .We cannot allow xenophobia, prejudice, and bigotry to prevail, and eviscerate the Constitution we are bound to protect.”
Overall, nine states and the District of Columbia accounted for almost 79 percent of all civil rights complaints to CAIR in 2005. They are (in descending order): California (19 percent), Illinois (13 percent), New York (9 percent), Texas (8 percent), Virginia (7 percent), Florida (6 percent), District of Columbia (5 percent), Maryland (4 percent), Ohio (4 percent) and New Jersey (4 percent).
The complete “The Struggle for Equality” report may be viewed at: http://www.cair.com/pdf/2006-CAIR-Civil-Rights-Report.pdf
CAIR began documenting anti-Muslim incidents following the 1995 attack on the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. The council is America’s largest Islamic civil liberties group, with 32 regional offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
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CONTACT: Arsalan Iftikhar, 202-488-8787 or 202-415-0799, E-Mail: email@example.com; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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