500 Islamophobia incidents in US in just six months: CAIR
Over 500 anti-Muslim incidents have been recorded in the first half of 2021, a US Muslim civil rights group has found, adding to growing concerns about a rise in Islamophobia.
There has been an increase in anti-Muslim reports - particularly attacks on mosques and assaults - with a sharp uptick in May and June when Israel launched its assault on Gaza and Palestinian protesters were attacked in East Jerusalem.
Four anti-mosque incidents were recorded in May alone and several physical assaults targeting Muslim women wearing hijabs.
In its Mid-Year Summary Report of Anti-Muslim Bias Incidents, CAIR provides examples of some of the most severe cases of abuse experienced by Muslims in the US and Canada.
These include "hate crimes, harassment, discrimination, hate speech, and anti-mosque incidents", the organisation said.
It also reported that public officials were "frequently using anti-Muslim hate speech through social media avenues to marginalise American Muslims", while alleged cases of bullying of Muslim students were also recorded.
On 24 April a mosque in Minnesota was vandalised with messages including "death to Islam" and a Nazi swastika. Two weeks later there was an attempted stabbing at the Dar Al-Hijrah Islamic Centre in Virginia.
In January, a Muslim student at LaGuardia High School in New York was allegedly called a "terrorist" by his teacher, and in June a Pakistani Muslim student was booed and verbally abused by parents after she talked about Palestine during her graduation speech.
Another Muslim high school student in Lansdale, Pennsylvania had her hijab ripped off by two other female students in July.
Illegal discrimination also increased in the first six months of the year. In May, a Southwest Airlines flight attendant in Dallas, Texas denied a Muslim woman who was born and raised in the US a seat in an exit row, reportedly stating that she "couldn’t speak English and would bring the whole plane down in an emergency".
A 13-year-old Sikh American boy wearing a turban was the target of a violent assault and hate speech by a group of teens in Suffolk County, New York in May.
According to reports in the media, the boy was "punched in the face" as a group of teens hurled "racial slurs" at the boy and "called him Mohammed". One of the boy’s 13-year-old attackers was arrested and charged with second-degree aggravated harassment.
"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," said CAIR National Research and Advocacy Coordinator Huzaifa Shahbaz.
"Islamophobia is hardly an American phenomenon—but very much a global scourge. I urge our elected officials to take the steps laid out within this report to quell the anti-Muslim racism here and abroad."