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Tuesday, September 19, 2006

US anti-Muslim bias incidents spiked in 2005: rights group
James M Yoch Jr at 10:09 AM ET

[JURIST] Reported incidents of anti-Muslim bias, harassment, discrimination and violence in the US increased by 29.6 percent in 2005, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) [advocacy website], the largest US Muslim civil liberties group, announced Monday. A new CAIR report [text, PDF; executive summary] entitled "The Struggle for Equality," indicates a jump [press release] from 1,522 cases of anti-Muslim bias in 2004 to 1,972 cases in 2005. CAIR attributes [Washington Post report] the jump to "a rise in anti-Muslim rhetoric fed by the Internet and also on talk radio" that has led to the dissemination of "negative, bigoted comments about Islam," according to CAIR spokesperson Ibrahim Hooper. The report also shows an increase in hate crimes complaints by Muslims from 93 in 2003 to 141 in 2004 and 153 in 2005.

The report calls for increased awareness of anti-Muslim sentiment by law enforcement and Americans in general:

[I]t is apparent that post-9/11 backlash against Muslims, Arabs and South Asians continues to be a societal problem which needs to be redressed accordingly. In addition, with the recent renewal of most of the controversial provisions of the infamous USA PATRIOT Act, it is imperative for our society to ensure that all Americans are treated equally under the law. It is also essential for federal law enforcement agencies to continue to vigorously investigate and prosecute anti-Muslim hate crimes. Just as anti-Semitic and anti-African American hate crimes are rightfully prosecuted to fruition, it is equally imperative that hate crimes based on racist motivations against American Muslims, Arab Americans and South Asians be as forcefully prosecuted.
CAIR began releasing the annual report in 1995 following that year's bombing of a government complex in Oklahoma City [Wikipedia backgrounder]. The reported cases mostly contain due process complaints such as racial profiling, followed by denial of religious freedom and employment discrimination, but do not include over 300 complaints that CAIR deemed illegitimate. AP has more.

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