CAIR Report 2005The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) is an American Muslim civil rights organization. Their annual report on anti-Muslim incidents is the most thorough of its kind. According to the most recent report released in May 2005 entitled "Unequal Protection: The Status of Muslim Civil Rights in the United States," anti-Muslim hate crimes rose by more than 50 percent between 2003 to 2004; while 93 anti-Muslim hate crimes were recorded in 2003, 141 hate crimes were recorded in 2004. The study cites 1,552 cases of anti-Muslim occurrences including violence, discrimination, and harassment. Approximately 225 of these cases involved religious discrimination, such as a city's opposition to a mosque. 196 cases involved discrimination in the workplace and 190 cases cited verbal harassment. The report hypothesizes that the increase in anti-Muslim sentiment can be attributed to websites and radio programs whose content propagates feelings of hate.
State DemographicsAccording to the CAIR report, nearly 80% of anti-Muslim crime was committed in only 10 states. 20% of crimes were committed in California, followed by New York (10%), Arizona (9%), Virginia (7%), Texas (7%), Florida (7%), Ohio (5%), Maryland (5%), New Jersey (5%), and Illinois (3%). Incidents occurring in California in 2004 included the assault of a Portuguese man in San Diego who was mistaken for being of Middle Eastern descent. A group of white men yelled racial slurs at him and told him to "go back to Iraq." On December 30, 2004, also in California, a Muslim woman wearing a hijab was pushing her baby in a stroller when a man in a truck almost ran them over near a gas station. When the woman cried, "You almost killed my baby!," the man responded, "It wouldn't have been a big loss."
Increase of Police DiscriminationOne of the most salient increases from 2003 to 2004 is that of discrimination by police such as unwarranted arrests and searches. These comprised nearly a quarter of CAIR cases in 2004, while in 2003 they comprised only 7% of incidents. One example of unreasonable arrest occurred on June 10th, 2004 in Colorado where a Muslim family's house was raided by the IRS and armed FBI agents who drew their guns. The family was told that an IRS investigation was being conducted and the agents proceeded to ask them questions such as "Are you Shiite or Sunni?" and questions about "Hamas, Hezbollah, and suicide bombings." They were also asked "If the US went to war with Iran, which side would you be on?" The agents took with them all items in the house containing non-English writing, including the daughter's diary. Another example of law-enforcement abuse occurred on October 11, 2004 in Minneapolis where a female hijab-wearing Muslim student of Somali background was pulled over by police. The policemen searched her car and threw her belongings onto the street, including her Islamic books and the Qur'an. They then left her to pick them up by herself.
Hate Crimes on CampusesAnti-Muslim hate crimes have been especially visible on the campuses of universities and colleges nationwide since 9/11. In the Spring of 2003, anti-Muslim rants were shouted towards student Christine Lo's dorm room at Yale. Lo had hung an upside-down American flag outside of her window to protest the war in Iraq. The ranting students also attempted to pry open her door with a plank of wood. After they left, Lo found a note prompting Americans to kill Muslims and ''launch so many missiles their mothers don't produce healthy offspring.'' Yale administrator Raphael Soifer also became the target of discrimination when a Yale student spit at him in a dining hall and exclaimed ''I hope you and your families die! Why don't you go live in Iraq." Similar threats have been found at institutions such as San Jose State University (California) in 2003, where graffiti in the bathroom claimed, ''Muslims will be shot on SJSU campus on March 10!'' At the University of California Los Angeles Medical Center, moreover, Muslim prayer rugs were discovered soaked in pig's blood.
Status QuoThe trends indicated by the CAIR report, moreover, continue to hold true in 2005. As recently as June 2005, a Baltimore mosque was vandalized and the incident is suspected to be bias-related. Red paint was splashed on the mosque's sign, walls and fence. As Washington Post columnist Colbert I. King noted in his July 2, 2005 article entitled "Let's Proudly Hail the Rights of All," anti-Muslim sentiments are as prevalent as ever, even comparable to sentiments held by many of Japanese Americans during World War II. In June 2005 alone, King notes, a man was sentenced for firebombing an El Paso mosque, a Qur'an was desecrated with human waste in Nashville, a mosque was burned in California, a bag of burned Qur'ans was left outside an Islamic center in Virginia, and an Islamic school in Miami was vandalized for the third time. Political freedom, he muses, is perhaps not extended to Muslim Americans.
Challenges & Accomplishments for the Sikh CommunitySikhism is the world's fifth largest religion, boasting nearly 20 million adherents. The religion preaches devotion to God and equality among all people. Ironically, Sikhs have been the victims of a significant amount of hate crimes. In the past three years alone, the Sikh Coalition, which aims to promote Sikh identity and interpret the religion for the general public, helped with more than 62 cases of hate crimes, 27 cases of racial profiling, 22 incidents of employment discrimination, and 17 Sikhs facing prosecution for carrying the Kirpan (sword used for ceremonial occasions). In 2003, the Sikh Coalition reflected upon accomplishments for Sikhs in North America. Achievements mentioned included that of a young Sikh allowed to eat dinner in a restaurant wearing his turban and thousands of police officers undergoing training to understand and appreciate the Sikh faith. A more recent accomplishment was the May 2004 court order to reinstate a Sikh police officer, Jasjit Singh Jaggi, who had opted to resign from his job in 2002 after being ordered by supervisors to shave his beard and abandon his religious turban.
Personal Attacks & the SaroopMany hate crimes committed against Sikhs fall under the category of "personal attacks," or assault. Vandalism and arson are also prevalent. It is widely hypothesized that Sikhs are targeted because of their turbans (known as "saroops"), an icon associated with terrorism in the minds of many. Such ignorance has resulted in the "ethnic assault" of a Sikh student at the University of North Carolina by three local teenagers who eventually received jail sentences. Recorded incidents of assault on Sikhs have also taken place in New York City, Oregon, Washington D.C., Florida and California.
Turban Controversy with the MTAArgument on whether or not Sikhs should be allowed to wear the saroop (turban) has been heated in New York. On June 7, 2004, the Daily Borough News reported that Sikh drivers for a limousine company in Long Island were rallying over their right to wear their turbans. On January 6, 2005, Newsday reported that a Sikh subway operator named Kevin Harrington got into an argument with his supervisor over the uniform requirement that forced him to wear an MTA patch on his turban. Raised as a Roman Catholic, Harrington, 53, of the Bronx, became a Sikh over 25 years ago, and believes that the patch violates his religious rights. The order to wear the patch seemed to many especially unjustified since other caps provided by the MTA to workers did not bear the logo. After the confrontation, Harrington was reassigned to work in the MTA yard where he would be out of public view. Most recently, on July 18, 2005, five New York Sikh station agents filed discrimination charges against the MTA. They cited that the post 9/11 policy requiring Sikhs to brand their turbans with the MTA logo is an act of religious discrimination.
ADL Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents [Released] 2004, Vandalism Prevalent..............................................................................................................
State DemographicsThe states where frequent hate crimes against Jews have been committed are New York, New Jersey, California, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Florida, and Connecticut. Significant fluctuation in figures was seen in Connecticut, where the number of hate crimes rose from 41 in 2002 to 70 in 2003. The figures also increased in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Florida. Alternatively, improvement was seen in California and Massachusetts where figures decreased significantly. Among all of these states, only New York and New Jersey saw more acts of vandalism than harassment. In July 2003, a bullet was shot through the front door of a synagogue in Wildwood, New Jersey. In August 2003, in Long Island, New York, pornographic images and the words "Hail Hitler, F--- the Jews" were drawn on the property of a Jewish center. However, a decrease in anti-Semitic crimes on college campuses between 2002 and 2003 is observed. 68 such incidents were reported in 2003 compared to the figure of 106 in 2002. This change was noteworthy as it indicated the reversal of a three-year trend of anti-Semitic hate crimes on campuses. Of these 68 acts recorded in 2003, there were 40 acts of harassment and 28 acts of vandalism. The ADL speculates that many of the hate crimes committed in 2002 were the products of anti-Israel demonstrations, and while this type of activism continued in 2003, there were less anti-Semitic references.
ADL Annual Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents [Released] 2005, Hate Crimes Rise.....................................................................................................................
Harassment Increases in 2004Disappointingly, incidents of harassment increased by 27%, with 1,777 incidents reported in 2004 (a drastic jump from the 929 incidents reported in 2003). Harassment comprised 65% of the total number of hate crime acts in 2004. Acts of vandalism also climbed from 628 incidents in 2003 to 644 incidents in 2004. Once again, the most hate crimes occurred in New York, New Jersey, California, Florida, Massachusetts and Connecticut. Anti-Semitic organizations responsible for nearly 15% of the recorded harassment cases in 2004 include the neo-Nazi National Alliance, KKK factions, White Revolution, White Aryan Resistance, and David Duke's European-American Unity and Rights Organization (EURO). Leafleting and the internet were the main modes of operation for delivering propaganda.
Overview & Conclusion____________________
References"Balbir Singh Sodhi Honored"