Discrimination against Muslim-Americans up 9 percent in 2021: report
Muslim-Americans in the United States filed 6,720 complaints last year with the Council on Islamic-American Relations (CAIR), a 9 percent increase compared to 2020, according to a new report from the group.
Complaints can include anything from bullying in schools, freedom of speech concerns, hate crimes, physical assaults or placement on a federal terrorist watchlist.
Researchers specifically documented a 28 percent rise in hate and bias incidents involving the forcible removal of hijabs, harassment, vandalism, and physical assault, among others.
CAIR’s National Executive Director Nihad Awad said in a Friday statement that “systemic Islamophobia continues to threaten our community.”
“The federal government must address structural anti-Muslim bigotry in its own policies and the civil rights challenges facing Muslim communities,” Awad said. “Everyone in our nation must be able to worship, work, travel, and attend school freely and safely.”
The federal Department of Justice (DOJ) documented just 110 anti-Muslim incidents in its 2020 hate crimes report, down almost 40 percent from the previous year.
CAIR, which has offices in 25 states across the country to assist American Muslims, tracks the internal number of complaints it receives, and warned its latest report is still an undercount.
About 2,823 complaints related to immigration and travel were filed last year — a record for CAIR. And 679 complaints were filed in relation to police or government overreach, a third of which related to being placed on a terrorist watchlist.
CAIR argues individuals are often added to the list, which results in travel restrictions, unfairly and based on a flawed process.
Anti-Muslim Incidents increased once COVID-19 restrictions were lifted and especially skyrocketed following the Biden administration’s chaotic withdrawal last summer from Afghanistan, according to the report.
Among the complaints cited in the report include an Albuquerque mosque that was set on fire; a man who physically attacked an elderly Muslim woman in New York; and a young Muslim girl who was called a “terrorist” while the rest of her family was subjected to harassment in a Maryland community.
Also included are incendiary comments directed against Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), a Muslim-American member of Congress. Last week, a Florida man pleaded guilty to making hate-motivated threats against Omar in 2019.
Omar also had a public feud last year with colleague Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) who joked about Omar potentially being a terrorist.
Researchers concluded in the report there was a “severe presence of Islamophobia” in the U.S. and called for more direct federal action to address the issue.
“These complaints clearly indicate that government discrimination and bias continue to have a disproportionate effect on American Muslims and further demonstrate that our communities continue to be viewed with suspicion,” CAIR authors wrote in the report.
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