September 11, 2018

American Muslims 17 years after 9/11

By Abdus Sattar Ghazali 

17 years after 9/11 terrorist attacks, American Muslims remain on the receiving end since 9/11/2001 but their plight has taken a new twist under President Donald Trump whose anti-Muslim policies alarmingly fomented hate crimes against them. According to a report released in July by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, anti-Muslim bias incidents and hate crimes are up 83 and 21 percent respectively, as compared to the first quarter of 2018,

Tellingly, incidents involving government agencies, including the FBI and U.S. Customs and Border Protection, have also risen by 60 percent in this time period. For the second quarter of 2018, CAIR received 1006 reports of potential bias incidents, with 431 of these reports determined to contain an identifiable element of anti-Muslim bias.

Under President  Donald Trump,  the United States government has shown an “unprecedented level of government hostility” toward the Muslim religious minority in the country. Apparently, Trump is sending a green light for average people to mistreat Muslims. Consequently, many Americans view Muslims in the United States as insufficiently “American,” and almost 20 percent would deny Muslim citizens the right to vote.

It will not be too much to say that Islamophobia has entered the government. It is incorporated into the law, and becomes increasingly acceptable in America. Apparently, Muslims in America are more vulnerable to bigotry and Islamophobia as a result of President Donald Trump’s behavior and actions than they were after the 9/11 attacks.

The level of anxiety and apprehension was such a high level that many Muslims were fearful to public display signs of their faith. A number of Muslim women, for instance, were deciding not to appear in public wearing the scarf. Alarmingly, a Hijab-clad Muslim woman stabbed in Texas by two white males.


As Sophia McClennen of Salon pointed out, the month of June 2018 was an especially bad month for the seven-million Muslims in America. First, a new study of U.S. perceptions of Muslim Americans conducted by Dalia Mogahed and John Sides for the Voter Study Group showed that many Americans view Muslims in the United States as insufficiently “American,” and almost 20 percent would deny Muslim citizens the right to vote.

The Muslim Ban 3.0

Then in June, the Supreme Court upheld President Donald Trump’s decision to institute a ban on immigrants, refugees and visa holders from five majority-Muslim countries in a 5-4 decision. This is known as Muslim Ban 3.0 since it was the third iteration of the Muslim Ban.

The synergy of these two pieces of information is critical because it reveals a common attitude that Muslims pose a threat to U.S. security whether they are U.S. citizens or not, McClennen said adding: while these attitudes do break down heavily across party lines, it is noteworthy that the study indicated that even 12 percent of Democrats would consider denying Muslim citizens the right to vote. Their study also showed that 32 percent of Democrats favor targeting Muslims at U.S. airport screenings to ensure the safety of flights. That figure compares with 75 percent of Republicans.

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the majority of the Supreme Court opinion upholding the travel ban. He emphasized that, despite ample evidence of President Donald Trump’s animus towards the Muslim community, the ban was a security issue and not an example of discrimination, “Because there is persuasive evidence that the entry suspension has a legitimate grounding in national security concerns, quite apart from any religious hostility, we must accept that independent justification.

As made clear by Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s dissent, where she referenced the court’s 1944 decision to uphold the internment of Japanese Americans, the practice of claiming national security needs in order to implement discriminatory policy is nothing new in this country. She argued that the court's decision "leaves undisturbed a policy first advertised openly and unequivocally as a 'total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States' because the policy now masquerades behind a fa├žade of national-security concerns."

Taken together the Supreme Court decision and the voter study reveal a mainstreaming of Islamophobia. Whether aimed at Syrian refugees or U.S. citizens, these attitudes, policies and practices underscore the reality that America really has a Muslim problem — a problem seeing Muslims as human beings deserving of dignity, human rights and respect, McClennen concluded.

Anti-Muslim Bias Incidents, Hate Crimes Spike in Second Quarter of 2018

Tellingly, anti-Muslim bias incidents and hate crimes are up 83 and 21 percent respectively, as compared to the first quarter of 2018, according to a report released in July by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization.

Incidents involving government agencies, including the FBI and U.S. Customs and Border Protection, have also risen by 60 percent in this time period. For the second quarter of 2018, CAIR received 1006 reports of potential bias incidents, with 431 of these reports determined to contain an identifiable element of anti-Muslim bias.

The 2018 second quarter report records denial of religious accommodation as the number one type of bias incident. Many of these cases have occurred at an incarceration or detention facility, making this the number one location of anti-Muslim bias incidents in the second quarter of the year. This is the first time that detention facilities have been among the top five locations of bias incidents since CAIR has kept records of anti-Muslim discrimination.

The most prevalent trigger of anti-Muslim bias incidents in 2018 remains the victim's ethnicity or national origin, accounting for 33 percent of the total. For the 341 cases in which a victim’s ethnicity or national origin was identified, the most frequent was “Middle Eastern/North African” at 39 percent.

The second most common was “Black/African-American” at 17 percent. At 14 percent, “South Asian” was the third most commonly targeted ethnicity. Seventeen percent of incidents occurred because of an individual being perceived as Muslim.

A Muslim woman’s head scarf (hijab) was a trigger in 16 percent of incidents. The report dataset is drawn primarily from the intakes CAIR conducts each year. With each case, civil rights and legal staff seek to ensure the highest possible level of accuracy. CAIR has reported an unprecedented spike in bigotry targeting American Muslims and members of other minority groups since the election of Donald Trump as president.

Continued on page 2/3
 


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