Report shows sharp rise in Islamophobia in US & Canada

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has released a report this week, detailing many anti-Muslim incidents that occurred in the United States and Canada during the first seven months of 2021.

The 21-page online document is entitled “CAIR’s 2021 Mid-Year Snapshot Summary Report of Anti-Muslim Bias Incidents” and is a mid-year “snapshot report”. CAIR usually puts out an annual report, but because of the recent spike in Islamophobic attacks they took the decision to release an interim report. The snapshot report detailed incidences bullying, incidences of discrimination, anti-Muslim bias, hate crimes and vandalism to mosques. 

Here are some key findings from the report:

  • There was a spike in anti-Muslim hate crimes during the attacks on Gaza in May. This included a sudden rise in anti-mosque incidents in May and June involving cases of vandalism and an attempted stabbing, and several physical assaults targeting women wearing hijab. 
  • Bullying against Muslim students continues to occur at rapid rates involving hate speech and physical attacks. 
  • Public officials are frequently using anti-Muslim hate speech through social media avenues to marginalize American Muslims. 
  • CAIR has noted an increase in anti-Muslim hate crimes in Canada following a vehicular murder that killed three generations of a Canadian Muslim family in June

The report also detailed anti-mosque incidents, such as a threatening email sent to the Islamic Center of Charlotte in North Carolina. The email stated: “every mosque from here to Bahrain will turn to dust,” after beginning “You have no Islamic rights in this country, you’re [sic] children and women are ours.” It also stated, “No mayor, no city, county, state police, fbi, cia, [sic] or the military can stop me.” 

There were also incidents of bullying in schools across the US, including a Muslim student at La Guardia High School in New York being allegedly called a “terrorist” by his teacher. 

Muslims were also discriminated against illegally: a passenger was racially profiled at Louis Lambert International Airport in St. Louis, Missouri, because his middle name was Mohammad. When he went back to the counter to ask for an explanation for what happened, he was told that it was because his middle name, “Mohammad”, was flagged. When the passenger continued to seek information about the incident, the Delta staffer called the police. 

“This report serves as a reminder of the severe nature of Islamophobia and what needs to be done to combat it in the United States and around the world,” Huzaifa Shahbaz, CAIR’s national research and advocacy coordinator.

“It’s time for our elected officials to speak up and out against anti-Muslim bias in the US, as well as the global phenomenon of Islamophobia that threats Muslims not only in the US but around the world,” McCaw said.

Recommendations

CAIR recommended in the report that there were several steps to take in terms of reversing this disturbing trend towards increased Islamophobia across North America, combatting Islamophobia, which includes the following:

  • Federal law enforcement should aggressively prosecute unlawful acts of anti-Muslim hate crimes when local law enforcement fails to act.
  • President Biden and members of Congress should actively condemn anti-Muslim bias incidents and hate crimes when they occur and reinforce that Islamophobia is not an American value. 
  • Congress should adopt legislation making federal funding for local law enforcement agencies contingent on those agencies documenting and reporting hate crimes to the FBI’s national database.
  • In response to the growing threats of anti-Muslim violence in the United States, Canada, and worldwide, CAIR called on the Biden Administration to appoint a Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Islamophobia in the State Department. Islamophobia endangers Muslims in Austria, China, Burma, France, India, Israel, Kashmir, and numerous other countries around the world. 

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