(COLUMBUS, OHIO 5/13/2022) – On Tuesday, May 10, Amina Barhumi, Acting Executive Director of the Ohio Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Ohio) joined “All Sides with Anne Fisher” to talk about the rise in hate speech and hate crimes across the country.
Barhumi, Georgetown University Professor John Esposito, and Congregation Tifereth Sr. Rabbi Hillel Skolnik joined the WOSU Public Media program to discuss an increase in civil rights complaints and discrimination reported by the FBI, CAIR, and other organizations.
CAIR recently announced it received its highest ever number of civil rights complaints in 2021 and released its 2022 Civil Rights Report, “Still Suspect: The Impact of Structural Islamophobia.” CAIR-Ohio assisted 365 community members calling for help in 2021 and continues to see this number rise each year.
“It existed before and it continues to exist now, and as numbers are showcasing, is on the rise. We’ve seen that through the report from CAIR, it’s not just an uptick, but even a misalignment of how many cases are recorded by the FBI and how many are reported to our CAIR network,” Barhumi said.
Barhumi walked through steps bystanders can take when seeing individuals harassed, such as documenting the incident, offering support to the victim and making yourself known to the attacker as a witness, and helping the individual reach a safe space if needed. Barhumi also spoke about structural Islamophobia, such as rhetoric used by candidates and elected officials and anti-Muslim curriculum in classrooms.
“At best what that looks like is putting the burden or onus on a student to be able to explain themselves and their faith or to be able to make geopolitical analyses that even a teacher wouldn’t be able to do. At worse, sometimes it is harassment being perpetrated by the teacher and complaints by students not taken seriously.”
Barhumi and Rabbi Skolnik spoke about the need for communities to mobilize and get involved in civic and public life to combat this structural discrimination.
“The implications of structural Islamophobia really trickle down to everyday individuals, who should be able to live, learn, and practice their faith free from any kind of harassment, discrimination, retaliation, and even surveillance,” Barhumi said.