WASHINGTON, D.C., 5/11/05)- A report released today by a prominent national Islamic civil rights and advocacy group indicates that anti-Muslim hate crimes in the United States increased by more than 50 percent in the past year, from 93 cases in 2003 to 141 in 2004.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations’ (CAIR) report – the only annual study of its kind – outlines 1522 incidents and experiences of anti-Muslim violence, discrimination and harassment in 2004, the highest number of Muslim civil rights cases ever recorded in the Washington-based group’s annual report. (Hundreds of anti-Muslim incidents reported immediately following the 9/11 attack were detailed in a separate report.) According to the study, called Unequal Protection,” that figure is a 49 percent jump over the preceding year.
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, a general increase in anti-Muslim rhetoric, growth in the number of local CAIR chapters reporting cases, and abuses associated with the implementation of national security policies. (The complete report may be viewed at: http://www.cair-net.org/asp/2005CivilRightsReport.pdf)
Ten states accounted for almost 79 percent of all incidents reported to CAIR in 2004. Those states include: California (20 percent), New York (10 percent), Arizona (9 percent), Virginia (7 percent), Texas (7 percent), Florida (7 percent), Ohio (5 percent), Maryland (5 percent), New Jersey (5 percent), and Illinois (3 percent). (All figures are rounded to the nearest whole number.)
By far the greatest increase over last year, in both real and proportional terms, occurred in the areas of unreasonable arrests, detentions, searches/seizures, and interrogations. In 2003, complaints concerning law enforcement agencies accounted for only seven percent of all reported incidents. In 2004, however, these reports rose to almost 26 percent of all cases.
There were drops in certain categories from the previous year’s report. For example, workplace discrimination complaints constituted nearly 23 percent of complaints in 2003, but dropped to just under 18 percent of total complaints in 2004. Complaints involving governmental agencies decreased from 29 percent in 2003 to 19 percent in 2004.
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, the report’s author. Iftikhar said the phenomenon of Islamophobia will be addressed at a CAIR conference, called “Islamophobia and Anti-Americanism: Causes and Remedies,” to be held this weekend in Washington, D.C. SEE: http://www.cair-net.org/2005conference/
“We call on President Bush, whose statements after the 9/11 attacks were so important in helping to protect the well-being of the American Muslim community, to once again speak out against Islamophobic attitudes,” said CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad. Awad also called on Congress to hold hearings on the findings of CAIR’s report.
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 31 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. To read CAIR’s Mission , Vision Statement and Core Principles, go to: http://www.cair-net.org/default.asp?Page=About
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