Islamophobia exists in America. It has infiltrated the nation’s social fabric as well as it institutions. America’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization – CAIR - has the facts and figures to prove it.
The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) released a report on Thursday identifying an "Islamophobia Network" across the United States that was funded with a shocking $119m between 2008 and 2011.
One doesn’t need an official report to see what’s in plain sight. Take the response to the recent crowning of an Indian-American woman as “Miss America.” Hateful comments made the rounds on social media, labeling her an ‘Arab’ and/or ‘Terrorist.’ And she was not even Muslim.
“Like racism, anti-Semitism, sexism and other issues, Islamophobia exists,” wrote Corey Saylor - Director of the Department to Monitor and Combat - in an Op-Ed published by CAIR.
Here are the key findings of the 2011-2012 report titled “Legislating Fear: Islamophobia and its Impact in the United States.”
The Bad News
- The backbone of U.S. Islamophobia network comprisesof at least 37 groups whose focus is to promote discrimination against or hatred of Islam and Muslims.
[e.g American Public Policy Alliance, Americans Against Hate, Center for Security Policy (CSP) and Concerned Citizens for the First Amendment (CCFA)]
- This inner core enjoyed access to at least $119,662,719 in total revenue between 2008 and 2011
- In 2011 and 2012, 78 bills or amendments aimed at marginalizing Muslims and denounce Islamic religious practices were introduced in the legislatures of 29 states and the U.S. Congress.
- There were 51 recorded anti-mosque acts between 2011-2012.
The Good News
- Anti-Muslim trainers serving law enforcement and military personnel were ‘dealt a significant blow in late 2011.’
- Experts perceive a small but welcome decline in Islamophobia in America between 2008 and 2011.
- Federal authorities initiated steps to removing anti-Muslim bias from law enforcement training materials.
What concerns organizations like CAIR is that Americans along with their public representatives and civil society organizations have a ‘certain willingness to undermine the Constitution.’
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) released a report last month revealing the existence of a previously undisclosed program that allows the government to indefinitely delay the citizenship process of Muslim immigrants.
Who can blame this ‘willingness’ when half of the country thinks that Islamic beliefs and the American values are mutually exclusive?
In September 2011, the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) noted, "Forty seven percent of Americans agree that Islam is at odds with American values, and 48 percent disagree."
“Human beings are troubled by such facts. But simply being troubled is not enough. We must study, understand and push back.” Said Nihad Awad, CAIR’s Executive Director.