Legislating Fear: Islamophobia and its Impact in the United States
The report reveals that anti-Islam groups received more than $119 million in funding between 2008 and 2011. The new report by the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) also identifies 37 organizations dedicated to promoting anti-Islam prejudice in America.
“This report sheds light on the groups promoting Islamophobia in our society and reveals to the reader the impact those groups have on our nation’s discourse about Islam, pluralism and the future of the protections enshrined in the U.S. Constitution,” said Corey Saylor, who directs CAIR’s department to monitor and combat Islamophobia.
Report Findings Include:
- The U.S.-based Islamophobia network’s “inner core” is currently comprised of at least 37 groups whose primary purpose is to promote prejudice against or hatred of Islam and Muslims. An additional 32 groups whose primary purpose does not appear to include promoting prejudice against or hatred of Islam and Muslims, but whose work regularly demonstrates or supports Islamophobic themes, make up the network’s “outer core.”
- The inner core of the U.S.-based Islamophobia network enjoyed access to at least $119,662,719 in total revenue between 2008 and 2011. Groups in the inner core are often tightly linked with each other. Key players in the network benefitted from large salaries as they encouraged the American public to fear Islam.
- In 2011 and 2012, 78 bills or amendments designed to marginalize Muslims and vilify Islamic religious practices were introduced in the legislatures of 29 states and the U.S. Congress. Sixty-two of these bills contained language that was extracted from David Yerushalmi’s American Laws for American Courts (ALAC) model legislation. While the bias motive behind the bills is clear, the presence of an actual problem that needed to be solved was not — even to the legislators introducing the measures. In at least 11 states, mainstream Republican leaders introduced or supported anti-Muslim legislation.
- There were 51 recorded anti-mosque acts during the period covered by this report, 29 in 2012 and 22 in 2011. Two notable spikes in anti-mosque acts occurred in 2011-2012: May 2011 (7 acts), likely related to the killing of Osama bin Laden, and August 2012 (10 acts), probably all in reaction to the massacre of six Sikh worshippers by a white supremacist in Oak Creek, Wis. By comparison, in June 2010, CAIR published “CAIR: Who we are,” a review of 1,999 CAIR press releases and action alerts spanning 1994-2008. In that report we noted: “Since 1994, CAIR has detailed at least 64 acts of destruction and defilement of Islamic places of worship–including shootings, vandalism, arson, and bombings.”
- In 2011, after significant pressure from CAIR and other organizations that included crucial reporting by Wired.com’s Spencer Ackerman, federal authorities initiated steps to remove biased and inaccurate material about Islam from law enforcement training materials. Studies and a lack of consequences for most candidates for public office who engage in anti-Muslim rhetoric reveal an unfortunate societal tolerance for prejudicial speech directed at Muslim.
This is CAIR’s second report on Islamophobia in the United States. The first, “Same Hate, New Target,” was published in 2011 and argued that anti-Islam sentiment is a manifestation of problems minorities have faced in the U.S. throughout its history.
Stopped, Seized and Under Siege: U.S. Government Violations of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
In September 2013, CCR published a shadow report submission entitled, Stopped, Seized and Under Siege: U.S. Government Violations of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights through Abusive Stop and Frisk Practices (PDF). The report, submitted before the UN Human Rights Committee on the occasion of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) periodic review process builds on CCR’s advocacy work on stop and friskand domestic human rights work. Learn more about CCR’s ICCPR work here.
As CCR notes in the report, the Human Rights Committee’s (the “Committee”) interest in the New York Police Department’s (“NYPD”) stop and frisk practices is vital to understanding the U.S. Government’s disregard towards upholding its human rights obligations in the areas of law enforcement, non-discrimination and accountability.
The NYPD’s use of stops is a critical rights issue for many reasons. Stops are both unlawful and discriminatory as they occur overwhelmingly without the reasonable, articulable suspicion of criminal activity as required by the law and at an alarming rate in communities of color in New York City, who often feel under siege and harassed by the police. Stops are often the first interaction that people have with the criminal justice system. They also can lead to potentially grave implications in the lives of New Yorkers. The NYPD’s abusive use of stops also infringes upon other human rights protections enshrined in the ICCPR, including: the right to be free from discrimination (Articles 2.1 and 26); the prohibition on cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (Article 7); freedom from arbitrary arrests and detention (Article 9); the right to freedom of movement (Article 12.1); the right to privacy (Article 17); freedom of expression (Article 19), and association (Article 22); and the protection of children (Article 24).
CCR hopes this shadow report will provide further information on the gravity of rights violations on the part of the NYPD, and ultimately, the U.S. Government, in light of this periodic review process
CUNY School of Law Press Release 2013
CLEAR Project Issues Report on Impact of NYPD Surveillance on American Muslims March 11, 2013 – American Muslim civil liberties groups released a new report today, Mapping Muslims: NYPD Spying and Its Impact on American Muslims, documenting the devastating impacts of the New York Police Department’s (NYPD) extensive surveillance program that targeted American Muslims throughout the Northeast and spread outrage throughout the nation.
Since 2002, the NYPD embarked on a covert domestic surveillance program that monitored American Muslims throughout the Northeast, from spying on neighborhood cafes and places of worship to infiltrating student whitewater-rafting trips – a program that continued despite the NYPD’s own acknowledgment that, over the course of six years, these efforts had not generated a single lead. The report is an unprecedented collection of voices from affected community members reflecting how the NYPD spying and infiltration creates a pervasive climate of fear and suspicion that encroaches upon every aspect of their religious, political, and community lives.
The report was prepared by the Muslim American Civil Liberties Coalition, and its partner organizations the Creating Law Enforcement Accountability & Responsibility (CLEAR) project at Main Street Legal Services, Inc. of the CUNY School of Law, and the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF). American Muslim community members delivered the report to NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly and Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence David Cohen today at 1 Police Plaza.
“This report provides a powerful rebuttal to the NYPD and its supporters’ assertion that surveillance is harmless and victimless,” said Diala Shamas, a Liman Fellow at the CLEAR project and one of the report’s authors. “It is a first-of-its kind opportunity to hear directly from affected community members, many of whom would only speak with us on condition of strict anonymity.”
“NYPD surveillance has impacted every facet of American Muslim life,” said Nermeen Arastu, a volunteer attorney with AALDEF. “The program has stifled speech, communal life and religious practice and criminalized a broad segment of American Muslims. The isolationism that comes with being a “spied on” community means that American Muslims are getting a fundamentally inferior opportunity to exercise their constitutional rights.”
The extensive, in-depth interviews indicate that fear of surveillance has resulted in a decline participation and level of involvement in religious activities, community and social activities, and Muslim student organizations. The findings document, among other things:
- Impacts on students on college campuses, including silencing their activism, alienating their student groups, and affecting their academic choices;
- Suppressing religious spaces, as mosque congregants become suspicious of one another, imams hesitate when advising their congregants, and individuals refrain from appearing overtly ‘Muslim’ to avoid triggering surveillance;
- Silencing speech and political activism – from engagement in public debates and protests, to friendly coffee-house banter;
- Damaging the NYPD’s own relationship with American Muslims in New York City, breaching communities’ much-needed relationship of trust with those who are tasked with protecting them.
“This report is critically important reading for all Americans concerned with freedom, justice, and equality in 21st century America,” said Imam Al-Hajj Talib Abdur-Rashid, Majlis Ash-Shura of Metropolitan New York. “It is the authentic voice of real people impacted by unjust policies and procedures, for which Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly remain both defensive and un-apologetic. Further, it is a powerful rebuttal to all who seek to minimize the impact of NYPD surveillance of Muslims as a faith group, even as they strive to do the same with the program known as ‘Stop and Frisk’.”
“As former NYPD Deputy Commissioner for Counterterrorism Richard Falkenrath made clear, ‘the vast majority of the people from [Muslim] communities — the vast, vast majority — are no threat at all and simply want to live in peace and enjoy everything the city has to offer,’” said NYC Councilmember Brad Lander. ”So why is the NYPD constantly surveilling them in mosques, restaurants, cafes, and college student groups? There’s just too much evidence that the NYPD’s surveillance program has targeted Muslim communities simply based on religion and ethnicity, with no real leads, and — by NYPD Chief Thomas Galati’s own admission — nothing to show for it. The result is frayed police-community relations, and a profound chilling effect on First Amendment-protected speech and worship. The time has come to pass the Community Safety Act to ban policing based on racial and religious profiling, and to establish an NYPD Inspector General to make sure that the NYPD follows the rules.”
“This report is critically important reading for all Americans concerned with freedom, justice, and equality in 21st century America” Imam Al-Hajj Talib Abdur-Rashid, Majlis Ash-Shura of Metropolitan New York.
CAIR Islamophobia Report: Same Hate, New Target 2011
Groundbreaking report lists ‘worst’ Islamophobes, ‘best’ of those pushing back against growing anti-Muslim sentiment.
On Thursday, June 23, 2011, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the University of California, Berkeley’s Center for Race and Gender released “Same Hate, New Target,” the first-of-its-kind annual report outlining the disturbing growth of Islamophobia in the United States during 2009-2010.
Based on available data and interviews with experts, the report offers a definition of Islamophobia, an overview of its growing negative impact in the United States and names of individuals and institutions known for promoting or opposing the phenomenon. It has special sections on the manufactured controversy over the Park 51 Islamic community center in Manhattan, the 2010 Oklahoma ballot initiative targeting Islamic principles (Sharia) and Islamophobia in the 2010 elections.
The report also offers a vision regarding Islamophobia in America, looks toward the time when being Muslim carries a positive connotation and presents an initial set of recommendations for moving toward that goal.
“As the recent GOP presidential debate demonstrated, Islamophobia is moving toward the mainstream and therefore must be challenged by all Americans who learned from those periods in our nation’s history when other minorities were similarly targeted.” Nihad Awad – CAIR National Executive Director
Fear, Inc-The Roots of the Islamophobic Network in America 2011
This report shines a light on the Islamophobia network of so-called experts, academics, institutions, grassroots organizations, media outlets, and donors who manufacture, produce, distribute, and mainstream an irrational fear of Islam and Muslims. Let us learn the proper lesson from the past, and rise above fear-mongering to public awareness, acceptance, and respect for our fellow Americans. In doing so, let us prevent hatred from infecting and endangering our country again.
Before we begin, a word about the term “Islamophobia.” We don’t use this term lightly. We define it as an exaggerated fear, hatred, and hostility toward Islam and Muslims that is perpetuated by negative stereotypes resulting in bias, discrimination, and the marginalization and exclusion of Muslims from America’s social, political, and civic life.
In the pages that follow, we profile the small number of funders, organizations, and individuals who have contributed to the discourse on Islamophobia in this country. We begin with the money trail in Chapter 1—our analysis of the funding streams that support anti-Muslim activities. Chapter 2 identifies the intellectual nexus of the Islamophobia network. Chapter 3 highlights the key grassroots players and organizations that help spread the messages of hate. Chapter 4 aggregates the key media amplifiers of Islamophobia. And Chapter 5 brings attention to the elected officials who frequently support the causes of anti- Muslim organizing.
It is our view that in order to safeguard our national security and uphold America’s core values, we must return to a fact-based civil discourse regarding the challenges we face as a nation and world. This discourse must be frank and honest, but also consistent with American values of religious liberty, equal justice under the law, and respect for pluralism. A first step toward the goal of honest, civil discourse is to expose—and marginalize—the influence of the individuals and groups who make up the Islamophobia network in America by actively working to divide Americans against one another through misinformation.
“It is our view that in order to safeguard our national security and uphold America’s core values, we must return to a fact-based civil discourse regarding the challenges we face as a nation and world.” Fear, Inc/ CAP
Muslim-American Terrorism Declining Further 2013
A new study prepared by the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security has proven that Muslim-American Terrorism has continued to decline throughout 2012. Fourteen Muslim-Americans committed or were charged with terrorist crimes in 2012, down from 21 in 2011, 26 in 2010 and 49 in 2009. TCTHS Director David Schanzer notes that “not only is the number of incidents dropping, but the more recent terrorists are less skilled and have fewer connections with international terrorist organizations than offenders in prior years.”
Since 9/11, 193 Muslim-Americans have been arrested or convicted of violent terrorism offenses, making 2011 about an average year for such offenses.
“Muslim-American terrorism continued to be a miniscule threat to public safety last year. None of America’s 14,000 murders in 2011 were due to Islamic extremism,” said Charles Kurzman, author of the study and professor of sociology in the College of Arts and Sciences at UNC. “The challenge is for Americans to be vigilant about potential violence while keeping these threats in perspective.”
“Those who predicted an inevitable, rapid increase of homegrown violent extremism among Muslim-Americans were wrong,” said David Schanzer, director of the center and professor of public policy at Duke. “While homegrown radicalization is still a problem, the offenders from 2011 were less skilled and less connected with international terrorist organizations than the offenders in the prior two years. Hopefully, the seriousness of this threat will continue to decline in the future.”
The study also reported that 462 Muslim-Americans have been arrested for nonviolent support of terrorism since 9/11. The number of offenders has declined dramatically since 9/11, with 343 offenders in the first five years after 9/11 and 119 since then. Eight Muslim-Americans were charged with nonviolent support for terrorism in 2011, down from 27 in 2010.
The study also reported that:
- Of the 20 offenders in 2011, only one was accused of executing a terrorist attack, down from six attacks in 2010 (including the Times Square attempted bombing and five individuals who joined militants in Somalia and Yemen).
- The 20 offenders from 2011 do not match any ethnic or racial “profile.” They are 30 percent Arab, 25 percent white, and 15 percent African-American. This diversity is consistent with prior years.
- 40 percent of the offenders in 2011 were converts compared to 35 percent of all offenders since 9/11.
- Only two of the 20 offenders received terrorism training abroad, compared to eight in 2010 and 28 in 2009.
- Muslim-Americans continued to be a source of initial tips alerting law-enforcement authorities to violent terrorist plots. Muslim-Americans turned in two of 14 individuals in 2011 whose initial tip could be identified, bringing the total to 52 of 140 since 9/11.
- 4 out of 20 of the perpetrators in 2011 had military experience. This was a much higher percentage than the group of all offenders since 9/11 (15 out of 193).
- None of the 2011 perpetrators were Somali-Americans, compared to three in 2010 and 18 in 2009.
“Muslim-American terrorism continued to be a miniscule threat to public safety last year. None of America’s 14,000 murders in 2011 were due to Islamic extremism,” Charles Kurzman
Anti-Terror Lessons of Muslim-Americans Report 2010
A report co-authored by Triangle Center Director David Schanzer, along with Charles Kurzman of UNC and Ebrahim Moosa of Duke, analyzes the extent of terrorist violence by Muslim-Americans since 9/11 and identifies strategies to head off “home-grown” terrorism. The report is a culmination of two years of research in Muslim-American communities in Seattle, Houston, Buffalo and Raleigh-Durham.
The terrorist threat posed by radicalized Muslim- Americans has been exaggerated, according to a study released Wednesday by researchers at Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
A small number of Muslim-Americans have undergone radicalization since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, the study found. It compiled a list of 139 individuals it categorized as “Muslim-American terrorism offenders” who had become radicalized in the U.S. in that time — a rate of 17 per year.
That level is “small compared to other violent crime in America, but not insignificant,” according to the study, titled “Anti-Terror Lessons of Muslim-Americans.”
To be included on the list, an offender had to have been wanted, arrested, convicted or killed in connection with terrorism-related activities since 9/11 — and have lived in the United States, regardless of immigration status, for more than a year prior to arrest.
Of the 139 offenders, fewer than a third successfully executed a violent plan, according to a Duke University statement on the study, and most of those were overseas. Read the report:”Anti-Terror Lessons of Muslim-Americans”
“Muslim-American organizations and the vast majority of individuals that we interviewed firmly reject the radical extremist ideology that justifies the use of violence to achieve political ends,” David Schanzer, an associate professor in Duke’s Sanford School of Public Policy and director of the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security, said in the statement.
In the aftermath of 9/11, however, as well as terrorist attacks elsewhere in the world, the possible radicalization of Muslim-Americans is a “key counterterrorism concern” — magnified by heavy publicity that accompanies the arrests of Muslim-Americans, such as that seen in the wake of the November shootings at Fort Hood, Texas, in which 13 people were killed. Army psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Hasan, a Muslim born in Virginia, is charged in connection with that incident.
“Muslim-American organizations and the vast majority of individuals that we interviewed firmly reject the radical extremist ideology that justifies the use of violence to achieve political ends,” – David Schanzer, director of the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security.
Religion in the News: Islam and Politics Dominate Religion Coverage in 2011
The biggest religion stories of 2011 involved tensions over Islam and questions about faith in presidential politics, especially Mormonism, according to an annual review of religion in the news by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism (PEJ) and the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life.
Events and controversies related to Islam also dominated U.S. press coverage of religion in 2010. However, coverage of some stories faded in the past year, notably coverage of the sexual abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic Church, which received much more media attention in 2010.
Compared with topics such as politics and the economy, religion does not typically receive a lot of attention from the mainstream news media, and 2011 was no exception. When religion did make news, it was often because of accusations about extremism or intolerance. For instance, among the biggest individual stories of 2011 were a controversial congressional hearing about the threat of homegrown Islamic terrorism and the fallout after a Florida pastor staged a Koran burning. And one of the top religion and politics stories of the year centered on an incident in which a Texas minister called the Mormon faith a “cult.”
Islam has become a bigger part of the media’s focus on religion in recent years. Six of the top 10 religion stories in 2011 were about Islam. This continues a trend first seen in 2010, when four of the top five religion stories involved controversies related to Islam. In 2007-2009, by contrast, Islam-focused stories generally accounted for a much smaller share of the coverage.
Viewed from another angle – the specific religious faiths on which media coverage focused – Islam again ranked at the top. It was the subject of nearly a third (31.3%) of the religion ”newshole” – the amount of space and time devoted to religion news online, in print, on television and on the radio – in 2011. This was nearly three times the amount that focused on Catholicism (11.3%) and more than three times the amount that focused on Mormonism (9.6%).
Six of the top 10 religion stories in 2011 were about Islam. This continues a trend first seen in 2010, when four of the top five religion stories involved controversies related to Islam. Pew Report, 2011