An American Muslim rights group says the number of civil rights complaints made by Muslims in the US has increased by 30 per cent.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations’ (CAIR) said in the report published on Monday that there were 1,972 cases of anti-Muslim violence, discrimination and harassment in 2005, the highest number of civil rights cases ever recorded in the Washington-based group’s annual report.
The Struggle for Equality study said that was a 29.6 per cent increase from 2004’s 1,522 cases. Nine states accounted for almost 79 per cent of all civil rights complaints made to the civil rights group. California and Illinois recorded the highest number of all complaints with 19 and 13 per cent respectively, and New Jersey had the lowest with 4 per cent.
Arsalan Iftikhar, CAIR’s legal director, blamed the media. “We believe the biggest factor contributing to anti-Muslim feeling and the resulting acts of bias is the growth in Islamophobic rhetoric that has flooded the internet and talk radio in the post-9/11 era,” he said. “By all accounts, racial profiling, harassment, and discrimination of Muslim and Arab Americans have increased since 9/11.”
Sheila Jackson Lee, a Texas congresswomen, said in response to the study: “We cannot allow xenophobia, prejudice, and bigotry to prevail, and eviscerate the constitution we are bound to protect.”