Anti-Muslim bias growing in U.S.: report

Sept. 19, 2006 at 6:48 AM
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WASHINGTON, Sept. 18 (UPI) -- A new report from a U.S. national Islamic group says anti-Muslim bias in the United States rose by almost 30 percent from 2004 to 2005.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations said Monday that its new report recorded 1,972 incidents and experiences of anti-Muslim violence and discrimination in 2005. The report, entitled "The Struggle for Equality," said the figure was a 29.6 percent jump over the preceding year's total of 1,522.

CAIR said it also received 153 reports of anti-Muslim hate crime complaints, an 8.6 percent increase from the 141 complaints received in 2004. A CAIR statement said the rise appeared to be caused by such factors as "the lingering impact of post-9/11 fears, increased awareness of civil rights issues in the Muslim community and a general increase in anti-Muslim rhetoric in American society."

"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," said CAIR Legal Director Arsalan Iftikhar, the report's author.

CAIR said nine states and the District of Columbia accounted for almost 79 percent of all civil rights complaints to the group last year. They were: California -- 19 percent; Illinois -- 13 percent; New York -- 9 percent; Texas -- 8 percent; Virginia -- 7 percent; Florida -- 6 percent; Washington, D.C. -- 5 percent; Maryland -- 4 percent; Ohio -- 4 percent; and New Jersey -- 4 percent.

CAIR said it began documenting anti-Muslim incidents following the 1995 attack on the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. The council says it is America's largest Islamic civil liberties group, with 32 regional offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada.

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