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Anti-Muslim incidents and discrimination rose by 9% in the US

27th May 2022
Anti-Muslim incidents and discrimination rose by 9% in the US

Elham Asaad Buaras

Discrimination against Muslims in the US increased by 9 per cent in 2021 compared to the previous year, according to a report released on April 25 by a Muslim civil rights and advocacy group.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) detailed more than 6,700 civil rights complaints in its report Still Suspect: The Impact of Structural Islamophobia.

The complaints included a range of issues, including immigration and travel, workplace discrimination, denial of public accommodations, law enforcement and government overreach, hate and bias incidents, school incidents, and anti-BDS/free speech.

The largest number of complaints (2,823) received involved immigration and travel-related issues. CAIR said there was a 56 per cent increase in immigration complaints, which “may have resulted from both the Afghan immigration crisis in summer 2021 and the increased number of Americans travelling as the pandemic eased.”

“In 2021, CAIR received its highest-ever number of civil rights complaints. This is an alarming sign that Islamophobia is persistent and systemic in society and government policy,” said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad.

“While we recognise that we’ve made progress as a society in terms of addressing social injustices, our report shows that Islamophobia continues to pose the biggest threat American Muslims are facing.

“It is essential that the federal government addresses the anti-Muslim bigotry in its own policies. Until concrete steps are taken, Islamophobia will continue to impede the civil rights and freedoms of American Muslims.”
CAIR said the report shows the impact of severe structural and interpersonal Islamophobia in the US.

For example, it documented 679 complaints related to law enforcement and government overreach, which included reports about the government’s terrorism watchlist, which the group said stigmatises hundreds of thousands of Muslims falsely. The report also catalogues a list of anti-Muslim incidents across the nation in 2021, ranging from hate crimes/bias incidents, forcible removal of hijabs, employment discrimination, mosque vandalism; school bullying and intimidation.

There was a 13 per cent increase in workplace and public accommodation discrimination complaints “as many workers returned to in-person work and most businesses resumed normal operations”.

The report also documented a 28 per cent increase in hate and bias incidents, which reinforces the fact that many local law enforcement agencies are drastically underreporting, or completely failing to report hate crimes to the FBI’s national database.

The report noted a 55 per cent increase in complaints of abusive overreach by law enforcement officers and government agencies, including FBI harassment and police misconduct.

Thirty-five per cent of law enforcement and government overreach complaints involved the Government’s so-called terrorism watch list, which stigmatises hundreds of thousands of people around the world, including many Americans, as “known or suspected terrorists” without a semblance of due process. The report also detailed a 55 per cent increase in school incident complaints as most students returned to in-person instruction.

Illustration: Breakdown of total anti-Muslim complaints in 2021 (Credit: CAIR report)

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