In its data update on anti-Muslim bias incidents for the second quarter of 2017, the Council on American-Islamic Relations has documented that the number of hate crimes in the first half of 2017 has spiked 91 percent as compared to the same time period in 2016.
From January through June of 2016, CAIR recorded 70 hate crimes and that number has risen to 134 this year. Hate crimes are criminal offenses against persons or property, or incidents that can be charges as such under relevant state or federal statute.
Read the full 2017 quarter 2 update here.
This section features articles on a number of topics related to Islamophobia in the United States.
2017: 2017 on Track to Becoming One of the Worst Years Ever for Anti-Muslim Hate Crimes. An update of anti-Muslim bias incidents reported to CAIR in the second quarter of 2017 documenting that the number of number of hate crimes in the first half of 2017 has spiked 91 percent as compared to the same time period in 2016. The number of bias incidents in 2017 has also increased by 24 percent as compared to the first half of 2016.
2017: The Hate that ACT for America Wrought. ACT for America’s June 10, 2017, rallies included a flyer on their own letter head proclaiming “There has been a ban on Islam since 1952” that was distributed at a sanctioned rally in Calif. A rally speaker in Texas and a sign in New York suggested that Muslims commit bestiality. Rallies included Islamophobic rhetoric such as “Islam is the problem,” “I want the Quran burned” and “End all Islamic Immigration. Turnout was often bolstered by white supremacist and anti-government groups including: the Oath Keepers, Identity Evorpa and Vangaurd America.
2017: Profile: FBI Director Nominee Christopher A. Wray. A profile of the nominated FBI Director, who oversaw the Justice Department’s Criminal Division as the former assistant attorney general under President George W. Bush, and many of the Department of Justice’s operations immediately following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
2017: Islamophobia 101. A short primer on what Islamohpobia is, how it manifests itself and strategies to counter it.
2017: Facts on FBI Director Candidates. Many of these candidates are highly regarded civil servants who have dedicated their careers to protecting the nation and promoting equality. However, some of them have a history of anti-Muslim sentiment and problematic civil and human rights records.
2017: Anti-Muslim Bias Incidents 2017 Quarter One Update. An update of anti-Muslim bias incidents reported to CAIR in the first quarter of 2017. In more than 50 percent of incidents, federal government agencies were identified as the instigator.
2017: Borderline Constitutional Disorder. A look at preliminary first quarter data which outlines the 1035 percent increase in incidents of profiling by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
2017: Islamophobia and the Trump Team. An examination of Islamophobia in the Trump administration.
2017: The Evolving Muslim Ban. An examination of President Trump's January Executive Order impacting immigration and refugees. The brief addresses push back against the order and the legal rulings that led to its demise. It also examines common Islamophpbia Network langague that found its way into the order.
2017: The Islamophobia Network's Surrogates. How anti-Islam groups seeks to hide behind certain Muslims and former Muslims to promote their messaging.
2016: Post-Election Anti-Muslim Bias. CAIR tracked 111 anti-Islam incidents in the week following the 2016 Presidential election.
2016: Islamophobia in Politics: A 2016 review. In addition to current public officials, those individuals who are, or were, running for office in 2016 and ranking members of a political party are included in this brief. A key theme of anti-Muslim and anti-Islam discourse this year has been in regards to refugees, immigration and travel. Another theme in this year’s Islamophobic political rhetoric has been the demand to monitor and surveil Muslim communities. This brief does not cover Presidential candidates.
2016: Islamophobia in the 2016 Presidential Election. The words and deeds of Presidential contenders from major political parties on the subject of Islam and Muslims.
2015: A Muslim Parent's Guide to Talking to Children About Acts of Violent Extremism. A board certified psychiatrist in clinical practice offers brief but useful insights for parent's who struggle with explaining violent extremism and Islamophobia to their children.
2015: Recent Anti-Islam Incidents in Texas. A summary of incidents targeting Muslims and Islam in Texas.
2015: Toxic Hate: American Muslim Experiences of Violent Backlash Since Late August 2014. This brief serves to illustrate the experience of violence targeting American Muslims from late August 2014 to mid-July 2015. It is not intended to be an exhaustive listing. The brief focuses on acts of violence, violent intimidation and threats of physical violence against Americans of the Islamic faith. It does not include slanders, vandalism and other non-violent acts or threats.
2014: Islamophobia in the 2014 Election. Presents an overview of Islamophobic rhetoric employed on the campaign trail during the midterm elections.
2013: Anti-Islam Legislation in 2013. Gives details on the 36 bills or amendments designed to vilify Islamic religious practices were introduced in the legislatures of 16 states.
2012: Rep. Peter King’s Anti-Muslim Congressional Hearings. Finds that over the course over four congressional hearings, Rep. Peter King failed to substantiate his two main anti-Muslim allegations.
2012: Thirteen Days in Ramadan: A Preliminary Examination of Anti-Muslim Incidents Following the Oak Creek Massacre. After a shooter murdered Sikhs in their Wisconsin place place of worship, there was a sudden rise in incidents targeting mosques.
ACT for America has a prejudice problem. Founder Brigitte Gabriel believes that, “America is at stage two Islamic Cancer.” She also argues that “every practicing Muslim is a radical Muslim,” a Muslim “cannot be a loyal citizen of the United States,” and that Arabs “have no soul.”
On June 10, 2017, at a series of rallies across the U.S. ACT tried to pivot from Islam being a cancer to the more politically-correct notion that they want to protect Muslims. This effort failed both at the rallies, which ended up attracting a number of white supremacists and anti-government militias, and after June 10.
ACT for America is worried about their public image. The group fired a chapter head for not having wisdom in the way he advertised an event intended to teach people how to push back against building mosques. They invited an anti-government militia to provide security at the rallies, but asked that group to take advantage of concealed carry laws so the rallies did not present “too militaristic an image.” ACT canceled a previously sanctioned rally in Arkansas after the Southern Poverty Law Center revealed that the organizer was a neo-Nazi.
In an email attributed to Brigitte Gabriel dated 2/27/2017, the group leader explained that they “let go” of their San Antonio chapter head because he “advertised an ACT for America chapter meeting to teach people about how they can push back against building houses of worship (in this case mosques)…” Gabriel added, “…he should have had wisdom in the way he advertised.” This lack of wisdom in advertising was an issue because “elected officials will not work with an organization trying to stop mosques in America. Period.”
The Oath Keepers, an anti-government group ACT organizers invited to provide security for the June 10 rallies issued a notice to their members saying, “ACT for America encourages our well trained and vetted members/security teams to come armed wherever you can do so legally, but has specifically asked that volunteer security carry concealed rather than open-carry, even where open-carry is legal. They prefer this so their events do not present too militaristic an image.”
On June 8, ACT for America issued a statement reading, in part, “ACT for America cancelled its June 10th ‘March Against Sharia, March for Human Rights’ event in [Batesville] Arkansas when we became aware that the organizer is associated with white supremacist groups. This is against all of our values.” This disavowal came after the Southern Poverty Law Center publicized that the organizer was “neo-Nazi Billy Roper” who had “promoted the event on Stormfront, the neo-Nazi message board founded by former Klan leader Don Black.” ACT canceled the planned Portland, Oregon rally after a white supremacist murdered two men who tried to intervene as he verbally abused two women, one of whom was Muslim.
ACT’s effort to assert they care about Muslims was undermined by a flyer on their own letter head proclaiming “There has been a ban on Islam since 1952” that was distributed at a sanctioned rally in Calif. A rally speaker in Texas and a sign in New York suggested that Muslims commit bestiality. Rallies included Islamophobic rhetoric such as “Islam is the problem,” “I want the Quran burned” and “End all Islamic Immigration.”
"There has been a ban on Islam since 1952,” proclaimed a flyer bearing the ACT for America logo that was distributed at the rally in Santa Clara, Calif. This imaginary ban is an internet rumor that holds that all Muslims are barred from the United States by the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952. That law bars anyone from entry who “belongs to an organization seeking to overthrow the government of the United States by ‘force, violence, or other unconstitutional means.”
The flyer also listed a number of nonexistent verses from the Quran. For example, it quoted “1:30,” i.e. the 30th verse of the first chapter of the Quran. In fact, the first chapter consists of only 7 verses. It also quoted “11:626,” the 626th verse of the 11th chapter. Again, the 11th chapter of the Quran consists of only 123 verses. The flyer stated that “7:97” instructed the murder of Jews, whereas in fact, the verse doesn’t even mention people of the Jewish faith. The same applied to its misquoting of “9:69” which spoke of a completely different subject than what was claimed on the flyer. Other falsehoods and errors in ACT’s document may be addressed in future articles.
Religion News Service reported of the Richardson, Texas rally, “If Muslims have their way, said the man with the megaphone, there will be no justice for America’s goats. ‘Why do Muslims rape their goats so much?’ Jim Gilles asked his fellow protesters gathered Saturday (June 10) outside one of the largest Islamic worship centers in the Dallas area. ‘It’s because they’re perverted, demonic, sex-crazed … sick perverts.’” Religious News Service added, “Gilles, for example, carried a large placard that said, ‘Every real Muslim is a Jihadist!’”
The Dallas Observer also published a photo of the ACT rally participants that included a woman holding a sign reading “Islam is the problem” and a man wearing a shirt reading “Allah is Satan.”
The Chicago Tribune reported that the ACT rally in that city split into two factions, one of which “wanted to distance themselves from what they said was a more ‘radical’ faction –protesters gathered near the Heald Square Monument, whose anti-Muslim rhetoric was met with anger and frustration by counter-protesters.”
Stephanie Potts, who supported the ACT rally in Denver, said, ““But [the left] have never picked up a Quran and they don’t understand that Islam is not about multiculturalism.”
At the Harrisburg, Penn. ACT rally Vanguard America spokesperson Francisco Rivera told reporters, “I don’t believe in having Muslims in the United States. Their culture is incompatible with ours.”
In Kansas City, ACT rally supporter Robert Burns told the Kansas City Star, “Stop pretending Islam is a religion; it’s a political movement.” He added, “I want the Qur’an banned. I want the mosques closed. That’s where this stuff is taught, in the mosques.”
The Washington Post reported that in New York City “Pawl Bazile, a member of the right-wing Proud Boys group” said, “We understand what Islam is, and we say ‘no.’” A rally participant holding a sign that read, “No more Muslims” was recorded saying, “They are calling it Sharia law. I am sure most of these people inside understand it is Muslims. Muslims are the problem. We can’t have more of them in the country.” Also pictured at ACTs New York rally was a sign with, among other vulgar imagery, a man copulating with a goat with Arabic text over it.
Orlando, Fla. ACT rally supporter James Murphy had stickers on his vehicle, which he parked beside the event , such as ““ALL MUSLIMS ARE TERRORISTS DEPORT THEM ALL.” An Identity Evropa banner at the rally called for an “End to Islamic Immigration.”
Roseville, Calif. ACT rally participant Nicole Miller was reported to say of those who practice Islam “They cannot assimilate into the American culture.” According to TRT World, Seattle, Wash. ACT supporter Aaron Bassford said, "I don't believe Islam can peacefully co-exist with the Constitution.”
According to the Los Angeles Times “Islam is not American” was among the signs ACT rally supporters waved in San Bernardino, Calif. “Islam is un-American” and “End Muslim Immigration” were among the signs the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported at the ACT rally in St. Paul, Minn. The San Diego Union Tribune posted video of a Oceanside, Calif. ACT rally supporter wearing a t-shirt the said, “Everything I need to know about Islam I learned on 9/11.”
CBS San Francisco showed video of a Santa Clara, Calif. ACT demonstrator identified only as “Mary,” saying “There is no moderate Muslim. They are here to kill, steal and destroy America.”
The marches drew at best hundreds of supporters but most frequently under a hundred. This turnout was often bolstered by white supremacist and anti-government groups including: the Oath Keepers, Identity Evorpa and Vanguard America.
[Note: The Southern Poverty Law Center has extensive details of white supremacist and anti-government groups participating in ACT rallies here.]
Rallies in Texas, Missouri, Arizona, North Carolina and Colorado drew hundreds. According to the Dallas Morning News, “Hundreds gathered around the Islamic Association of North Texas.” The report went on to note, “The rally was peaceful, although several protesters were armed with rifles — even as children filed into the mosque.” Khalid Y. Hamideh, spokesperson for the Islamic Association, said, "Schoolchildren were coming to weekend school facing grown men in army fatigues with automatic assault rifles.”
“Each side boasted about 150-to-175 people,” according to the Denver Post. In Kansas City, Missouri, the Kansas City Star reported “two groups of close to 100 protestors each.” Arizona Central reported, “more than 100 people” at the Phoenix, Arizona ACT rally. Peter Bokin, who coordinated the Raleigh, N.C. rally “publicly thanked Identity Evropa, a group founded last year that openly espouses white supremacy.” The News Observer reported “around 100 people” attended the Raleigh ACT rally.
The Sacramento Bee reported “more than 300 people” attended the ACT rally in Roseville, Cailf. “More than 200” joined the ACT San Bernardino, Calif. rally. “Some 200 people gathered,” in South Field, Mich. according to the Detroit News.
Inside the Minnesota state capitol in St. Paul “about 100 people gathered” to support the ACT rally, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. The paper also noted that one man with the ACT rally, “flashed ‘OK’ symbols with his hands, a gesture associated with the alt-right movement, which has views often coinciding with white supremacy.”
At the state capitol in Austin, Texas, the ACT rally generated a “few dozen” supporters, including Oath Keepers armed with rifles. In Indianapolis, Ind. “Several dozen” ACT supporters faced “30 counter-protestors.” Among the ACT supporters were “flag holders for the white nationalist group Identity Evropa.” According to the Washington Post Among the “few dozen” supporters of the ACT rally in New York City were “a dozen members of Identity Evropa, which seeks a whites-only state.” Also at the New York City rally a man with a German Republic Imperial War Flag chanted “blood & soil,” a fascist slogan. The San Francisco Chronicle reported a “few dozen” people supporting ACT in Santa Clara, Calif.
The Associated Press reported “several dozen” ACT supporters in Seattle, Wash. and “[h]undreds of counter-protestors.
In Atlanta, Fox News reported “at least 20 people including a Republican candidate for Georgia governor” at the ACT rally. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution also reported the attendance of members of the “Georgia Security Force III% militia.”
“The [Boston] rally drew about 75 protesters and an equal number of counter-protesters,” according to the Boston Globe.
According to the Associated Press, “about 30 people” joined the ACT rally in Chicago and two times that number opposed them.
The San Diego Union Tribune reported that at its peak the ACT rally in Oceanside, Calif. had “about 50 participants” and a counter rally “was roughly 70 people.” ACT was joined by “Latinas for Trump and Republican Women of Oceanside.”
NPR reported that in Harrisburg, Penn. “about 60 ‘anti-Sharia’ protestors were separated from the same number of counter protestors.” Supporting the ACT rally were members of Vanguard America, “a group that has claimed credit for white nationalist posters on college campuses.” Also on hand, “Nearly a dozen men carrying sidearms belonging to the anti-government Oath Keepers were on hand, invited by ACT to provide security.” Men wearing Soldiers of Odin jackets were also photographed taking part.
In Virginia Beach, Va., the city where ACT is headquartered, “40 people gathered” at the march site. “At about 10 a.m., 30 ACT for America protesters gathered,” in Syracuse, N.Y. according to Syracuse.com. They were confronted by about 100 counterprotestors. The Wichita Eagle reported about 35 participants in the Wichita, Kan. ACT rally.
According to the Washington Post, ACT “rally crowds of a few dozen in many cities [were] outnumbered almost 10 to 1 by counter-demonstrators.”
The messaging pivot did not stick. In the days immediately following the rallies, ACT South Dakota warned about the “global Islamic movement.” Brigitte Gabriel promoted an article alleging “Islam in its original and classic forms has everything to do with today's radicals and the violence they commit.” Gabriel also retweeted an article headlined, “Michigan: Nearly ½ candidates for Dearborn city positions are ‘Arabs’.”
Right after the marches with ACT’s chapter in South Dakota hosted an event warning of “threat of the global Islamic movement.”
Five days after the March, Gabriel shared the headline, “Michigan: Nearly ½ candidates for Dearborn city positions are ‘Arabs’.”
Six days after the rallies, Gabriel tweeted a link to a Gatestone Institute article that claimed, “Flatly, Islam in its original and classic forms has everything to do with today's radicals and the violence they commit.” The articles author also asserted, “Islam has been at war with Europe since the seventh century.”
In May, following President Trump's dismissal of former Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director James Comey, over a dozen candidates under consideration for the vacant position had been mentioned by current and former government and intelligence officials. CAIR profiled those candidates’ positions on the interconnected issues of refugee resettlement, domestic spying, torture of prisoners, rendition, federal watch-lists, and racial and religious profiling.
Considered a dark horse by many, on June 7 Trump officially nominated Christopher A. Wray to be director of the FBI. Wray is the former assistant attorney general who oversaw the Justice Department’s Criminal Division under President George W. Bush and many of the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) operations immediately following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
CAIR holds reservations over Wray’s unconstitutional order of a “communications blackout” of the DOJ, FBI and Immigration and Naturalization Services’ (INS) mass arrest of Muslim, Arab and South Asian immigrants following the September 11 attacks.
Along with many other civil and human rights organizations, CAIR is also reminding the Senate Judiciary Committee, responsible for Wray’s confirmation to FBI Director, that he misled the Committee in 2004 over the extent of his, and the DOJ’s, awareness of torture occurring at the notorious Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. The extent of Wray’s interaction with, and draft review of, the Bush Administration’s now defunct “Torture Memo” remains unclear.
The DOJ Office of the Inspector General’s report “The September 11 Detainees,” states that as principal associate deputy attorney general, Wray directed the “communications blackout” of the DOJ, FBI and INS’ detention of 762 out-of-status Muslim, Arab and South Asian immigrants arrested as persons of interest in the terrorist attacks. CAIR notes that the majority of these immigrants were found to have no ties to terrorism.
Following the mass detention of these immigrants, Wray directed the U.S. Bureau of Prisons to not “be in a hurry” in providing detainees with access to communication. This unconstitutional order resulted in numerous detainees being unable to notify their families of their arrest or communicate with an attorney for periods ranging from, “8 to 10 days,” “the first few weeks,” or “until mid-October 2001,” per the report.
Many of the leads that resulted in the detention of these immigrants were based on discriminatory religious and ethnic profiling and were meritless suspicion. The report notes that many “leads that resulted in an alien’s arrest on immigration charges were quite general in nature, such as a landlord reporting suspicious activity by an Arab tenant.”
The report also found that, “the FBI and INS in New York City did little to distinguish [between] the aliens arrested as the subjects of [Sept. 11 investigation] leads” or those for whom there was evidence of ties to terrorism, “from those encountered coincidentally…with no indication of any ties to terrorism.”
Lee Gelernt, who heads the American Civil Liberties Unions’ (ACLU) Program on Access to the Courts, told the Daily Beast that, “the government repeatedly told the courts in the aftermath of September 11 that it was not necessary to provide public access to the detainees because the detainees had full access to the outside world.” However, “that turned out to be false, as the Justice Department’s own internal investigation revealed.”
Many of those detained at Brooklyn's Metropolitan Detention Center were held in “23-hours-a-day solitary confinement” and endured “strip searches, sleep deprivation, beatings and other abuses and [were] denied the ability to practice their religion,” according to a lawsuit filed on behalf of the detainees.
As assistant attorney general in charge of the DOJ’s Criminal Division, Wray was “notified early about the ongoing Central Intelligence Agency investigation of abuse at Abu Ghraib,” according to the Miami Herald. “Notably, he was alerted to the suspected homicide of a captive who came to be known as the iceman because of lurid, leaked photos showing the corpse of Manadel al-Jamadi packed in ice.”
Wray was notified of the suspected homicide in a February 2004 Central Intelligence Agency [CIA] memo titled “Possible Violations of Federal Law.” Yet three months later in May, Wray testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee that his “principal awareness of the abuse” was “through the news media.”
During that Committee hearing, Wray made no attempt to mention the CIA memo when asked by the Committee’s Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-VT), “What actions has the Department of Justice taken with respect to investigating and possibly prosecuting criminal conduct by American civilians at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq or at any of the other places where the administration has evidence, and the administration does have evidence, of other torture that has not been made public yet? What actions have you taken?”
Wray’s lack of transparency during the hearing prompted Leahy to write a letter to then Attorney General Ashcroft complaining that Wray provided a “less than a complete and truthful answer,” personally noting that “I am concerned about this,” below his signature.
CAIR publicly urges the Senate Judiciary Committee to seek answers from Wray over the extent of his involvement in the unconstitutional “communications blackout” on the secret detention of hundreds of innocent Muslim, Arab and South Asian immigrants following the September 11 attacks.
Wray should be questioned by the Senate Judiciary Committee if, as the Trump Administration’s FBI Director, he would ever again support such a roundup of people inside the U.S. or any unconstitutional communications blackout.
CAIR also requests that the Committee press Wray about his involvement in the drafting and review of the Bush Administration’s “Torture Memo,” the possibility of his authorizing or knowledge of torture, or conversely, the possibility of putting a stop to the practice, and the possibility of persecuting those who committed acts of torture.
This website is a project of CAIR's Department to Monitor and Combat Islamophobia.