Islamophobia Monitor

 Access a printable version of this document pdfhere.

What Is It?

Islamophobia is a closed-minded hatred, fear or prejudice toward Islam and Muslims that results in discrimination, marginalization and oppression. It creates a distorted understanding of Islam and Muslims and transforms diversity in name, language, culture, ethnicity, and race into a set of stereotyped characteristics. As such, Islamophobia is a system of both religious and racial animosity.

Who is Affected?

In addition to Muslim women, men and children, those who share characteristics that have been racialized as “Muslim” – whether it be language, clothing or skin color – are also affected by Islamophobia. Thus, Sikhs, Christian Arabs, and Hindu Indians have been targets of anti-Muslim animus.  

How Is It Manifested?

Islamophobic sentiment utilizes ideas which dehumanize Muslims and their heterogenous cultures, beliefs, customs and practices and deny the dynamic nature of Islam.

Islamophobic acts occur at both an individual and institutional level and can take many forms. They may be physical attacks against those perceived to be Muslim or the damage and desecration of mosques and Islamic centers. They include law enforcement profiling, discrimination in employment and denials of service. Islamophobic acts can also take the form of anti-Islam legislation and policy measures.

Islamophobic rhetoric expressed by individuals and political and media institutions can include verbal harassment, intimidation and hate speech.

Where Does It Come From?

It is possible to point to five sources of contemporary Islamophobia:

  • Media representation: The U.S. media overemphasizes negative coverage and news pertaining to Muslims and Islam leading to an exaggerated sense of threat, and consequently fear and hate. An academic study covered by The Washington Post found that in a four-year period, 12 percent of domestic attacks conducted by Muslims received, on average, 449 percent more media coverage than 88 percent of attacks committed by others.
  • Political rhetoric: Politicians play on people’s emotions and exploit their fear to actively instigate Islamophobia when it serves their own political interests.
  • Violent extremists: Although violent groups like ISIS target and murder more Muslims than any others, these groups continue to color American perceptions of Islam and all Muslims.
  • American foreign policy: Islamophobia is frequently utilized by the U.S. to justify its foreign policy in Muslim-majority regions of the world. Consider President George W. Bush’s failed War on Terror, which decimated Iraq. The policy was presented to the American public as essential for freedom and safety.
  • U.S. Islamophobia Network: An influential, multi-million dollar network of groups and individuals in the U.S. who falsely cast Islam and Muslims as a malevolent existential threat, and work actively to promote prejudice, discrimination, and oppression towards the faith and its practitioners.

5 Strategies to Counter Islamophobia

Changing people's attitudes and institutional practices is not easy. Like working against other forms of prejudice and racism, countering Islamophobia as a system of a religious and racial animosity requires committed action and resources. Here are several things you can do to join the effort:

  1. Find local and national groups, such as CAIR, whose work you support and join them. Sign up for their email and social media lists and take action when they ask you to. Working together in an organized way amplifies individual efforts and advances the movement against prejudice.
  2. Work on practical community projects with people of various backgrounds to build interpersonal relationships and develop solutions to shared problems.
  3. Organize coalitions of community leaders representing different cultural/ethnic/religious groups and community sectors (such as schools, businesses, etc.) to examine existing policies and determine what needs to change.
  4. Keep your cool. When confronted by hate, be assertive and polite. Rudeness hurts the cause and can be used against you.
  5. Turn a negative into a positive. For example, if a place of worship is vandalized, bring communities together to repair and clean it up in a demonstration of solidarity.


Just prior to President Trump’s first official travel to a Muslim-majority country, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, released an update of anti-Muslim bias incidents reported to the organization in the first quarter of 2017. In more than 50 percent of incidents, federal government agencies were identified as the instigator. The civil rights data quarter one update also noted that 33 percent of the incidents were related to the Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States Executive Order, also known as the "Muslim Ban."

Read the full 2017 quarter one update pdfhere.

Gov Agency Incidents

The most frequent type of incidents documented by CAIR so far in 2017 involved U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The second most common type of incidents involved episodes in which the complainant was questioned by FBI employees or otherwise appeared to be inappropriately targeted by the agency. Harassment, non-violent or non-threatening bias incidents such as verbal abuse, was the third most common type of incident. Incident involves issues with multiple federal government agencies and hate crimes rounded out the top five.Top 5 Types

The most prevalent trigger of anti-Muslim bias incidents in 2017 has been the victim's ethnicity or national origin, accounting for 33 percent of the total. Eleven percent of incidents have occurred as a result of an individual being perceived as Muslim. A Muslim woman’s headscarf has been a trigger in 8 percent of incidents.


A number of individuals serving in the Trump Administration have a history of problematic and misleading statements about Islam and Muslims. Many of them are also connected with virulent Islamophobic groups, indicating the influence these organizations exert in the new administration.

Presented here is a record of these individuals, their background, and examples of their Islamophobic rhetoric and behavior. The record starts with the president and continues in alphabetical order. This is followed by a list of individuals who are either being considered for positions, or who formerly held positions, within the administration. Finally, brief summaries of groups within the Islamophobia Network which possess close ties to the Trump administration are provided.

Donald Trump – 45th President

Prior to his entry into the political arena, Trump was a business person and a television personality.

Sought to Ban Muslims from the U.S.: In December 2015, Trump called for a “total and complete shutdown” of Muslims entering the United States. Such a ban would violate the U.S. Constitution's Bill of Rights. In the press release accompanying the policy proposal, Trump cited a biased and unscientific poll conducted by Frank Gaffney’s Center for Security Policy. Trump later altered the Muslim ban saying, "We must immediately suspend immigration from any nation that has been compromised by terrorism until such time it's proven that vetting mechanisms have been put in place."

On January 27, 2017 Trump signed an executive order banning the entry of individuals from seven Muslim-majority nations. After courts blocked the order, Trump signed a second executive order with the same intent on March 6, which was similarly blocked by several federal judges.

Attacked a Muslim Gold Star Family: After the parents of a Muslim U.S. Army captain who died in the line of duty in Iraq spoke at the Democratic National Convention, Trump attacked them. Trump implied that the mother, who was overcome with grief, did not speak because “maybe she wasn’t allowed to have anything to say.” The quote was widely seen as an allegation that the parent’s Islamic faith prohibits the mother from speaking in public.

Claimed American Muslims Do Not Report "Bad" People to Law Enforcement: Following a horrific massacre of club goers in Orlando, Trump asserted that American Muslims, “know what’s going on. They know that [Orlando shooter Omar Mateen] was bad.” He later added “They have to cooperate with law enforcement and turn in the people who they know are bad. … But you know what? They didn’t turn them in. And you know what? We had death and destruction.” However, an American Muslim had previously reported Mateen to the FBI, and FBI Director Comey said, “…some of our most productive relationships are with people who see things and tell us things who happen to be Muslim.”

Asserts U.S. Muslims Do Not Assimilate: Trump believes there is “no real assimilation” by U.S. Muslims; however, independent fact checkers disagree.

"Looking At" Getting Rid of Muslim Women at TSA And Border Protection Agency: During a question and answer session in New Jersey during the presidential campaign, a Trump supporter asked Trump, “Why aren’t we putting our military retirees on that border or in TSA? Get rid of all these hibi-jabis they wear at TSA?” Trump responded, “You know, and we are looking at that. And we are looking at that. We’re looking at a lot of things.”

Thinks A Muslim Judge Might Treat Him Unfairly: When asked if he believed a Muslim judge would treat him unfairly because of another controversial proposal to temporarily bar Muslims from entering the U.S., Trump replied: "It's possible, yes. Yeah. That would be possible, absolutely."

Would "Certainly Implement" A Database And Special Identification Cards For American Muslims: In an NBC interview, Trump was asked about establishing a possible database of Muslims and the idea of requiring Muslims to carry special identification cards in the United States. He responded, “I would certainly implement that. Absolutely.”

Proposed to Shut Down American Mosques: Trump said he would “shut down” mosques he deemed “extreme” as president.

Believes "Islam Hates Us": Trump told CNN's Anderson Cooper, "I think Islam hates us. I think Islam hates us. There is something there, a tremendous hatred," and "and we can’t allow people coming into this country who have this hatred of the United States." Responding to a follow-up question by Cooper on whether he was talking about violent extremist or Islam itself, Trump said: “It’s radical but it’s very hard to define, it’s very hard to separate because you don’t know who’s who."

Believes American Muslims Have A "Level of Hatred": In an interview on MSNBC, Trump said “There’s a level of hatred within a certain community, in this case the Muslim community.”

Stigmatized Refugees: During a presidential campaign stop in Rhode Island, Trump told attendees to “lock your doors” because Syrian refugees, some of whom he claimed may be ISIS were going to be resettled in the state. Trump also said on The Green Line radio show that resettling Syrian refugees in America would lead to another attack proportional to events of September 11. Trump added, "Our country has enough difficulty right now without letting the Syrians pour in, and again, we don't know that they're Syrians... There will be attacks that you wouldn’t believe. There will be attacks by the people that are, right now that are coming into our country...”

Spread Debunked Story About Killing Muslims With Pork-Covered Bullets: During a presidential campaign rally in South Carolina, Trump referenced the long-debunked anecdote that General John Pershing shot Muslims with bullets dipped in pig’s blood as part of a counterinsurgency campaign during the Philippine-American War of 1899-1902. Trump told the crowd, "They were having terrorism problems, just like we do.” At a California campaign stop Trump again repeated the long-debunked story.

Claimed American Muslims Celebrated Terror Attack: Trump falsely claimed he saw a video of Muslims in New Jersey celebrating after 9/11.Trump also falsely claimed the families of the 9/11 terrorists were “sent back for the most part to Saudi Arabia.”

Ben Carson - Secretary for Housing and Urban Development

Carson is a neurosurgeon by profession who rose to fame in conservative circles as a consequence of a speech criticizing President Obama in 2013. In 2015, Carson launched his bid for Republican presidential nominee. Throughout his political ascendance, Carson has expressed a number of anti-Muslim and anti-Islam sentiments.

Spread Anti-Muslim Conspiracy Theories and Islamophobic Tropes: Carson repeated a discredited conspiracy theory about “civilizational jihad,” a fantastical plan about a purported Muslim plot to take over the United States. In an interview with Breitbart, Carson said followers of radical Islam, "have the same goal as they did when Mohammed was around. They want to dominate. And they want everyone else to submit to them.” The false notion that violent extremists represent the authentic teachings and practices of Prophet Mohammad is a common Islamophobic trope. 

Claimed Islam is Not a Religion: During a speech at the University of Iowa in 2016, Carson declared that after studying Islam: “…you won't call it a religion, you'll call it a life organization system." He also said, "I don't think most people actually understand what jihad is. They don't understand the whole apocalyptic vision that they [Muslims] have. When you understand that, you understand what drives an organization like ISIS."

Stated Muslims Could Embrace American Democracy “Only if They’re Schizophrenic”: In an interview with Stephen Bannon at Breitbart in 2016, Carson said Muslims could embrace American Democracy “Only if they’re schizophrenic,” adding, “I don’t see how they can do it otherwise, because they have two different philosophies boring at you [that contradict each other]. That would be very difficult.”

Advocated for Religious Profiling: When Syrian Muslim refugees became a campaign issue in 2016, Carson said, “Bringing in people from the Middle East right now carries extra danger and we cannot put our people at risk because we are trying to be politically correct.”

Compared Syrian Refugees to Rabid Dogs:  During a presidential nominee debate, Carson compared Syrian refugees to rabid dogs.

Claimed Islam Is Not Consistent with U.S. Constitution, Would Not Vote for Muslim President: Speaking on Meet the Press, Carson said Islam is not consistent with the U.S. Constitution. He also said he would not vote for a Muslim for President. Even after it was pointed out that Article VI of the Constitution prohibits such religious tests for public office, Carson refused to alter his stand and later added that the next president should "be sworn in on a stack of Bibles, not a Qur'an." Asked about his Meet the Press remarks during a CNN interview, Carson added, "I would have problems with somebody who embraced all the doctrines associated with Islam. If they are not willing to reject sharia and all the portions of it that are talked about in the Quran."

Beth Van Duyne - Regional Administrator, Housing and Urban Development

Prior to her position in the department of housing and urban development, Beth Van Duyne was the mayor of Irving, Texas. As mayor, she made statements intended to vilify Muslims and Islam.

Spread The False Rumor That “Shariah Law” Coming to Texas. In 2015, Van Duyne published an inflammatory post on Facebook about Islamic Tribunals, falsely calling them “courts."  In fact, the tribunal is a panel of arbitrators which issues nonbinding decisions on matters such as religious divorces, and is parallel to Jewish rabbinical courts and Catholic tribunals. In her Facebook post Duyne wrote, “While I am working to better understand how this ‘court’ will function and whom will be subject to its decisions, please know if it is determined that there are violations of basic rights occurring, I will not stand idle and will fight with every fiber of my being against this action,” she wrote. “Sharia Law Court was NOT approved or enacted by the City of Irving,” she said, adding, “Our nation cannot be so overly sensitive in defending other cultures that we stop protecting our own. The American Constitution and our guaranteed rights reigns supreme in our nation and may that ever be the case.”

In a Fox News Interview, she remained unapologetic about her post, falsely claiming that, Muslim religious leaders were “bypassing American courts.”

Pushed For An Anti-Islam Law and Said Muslims Were Trying to “Destroy” Civilized Society. During a speech in city hall in 2015 about a proposed anti-Islam law, Van Duyne responded to a question about Muslims, stating, “We have a civilized society that the rest of the world tries to emulate and wants to come to, and at the same time tries to destroy. And what we’re seeing is they destroy from within.”

Frank Wuco - Senior White House Adviser for the Department of Homeland Security

Frank Wuco is a former radio host, pundit on Fox News and veteran Naval Intelligence Officer, who joined the White House administration as Senior Adviser in January 2017.

Asserted That Muslims Believe “Violence and Warfare Against Unbelievers” Is “Prescribed by God:” Following the Orlando shooting in June 2016, Waco said “There’s nothing radical about him at all,” regarding the shooter Omar Mateen. “He is a Muslim who is following the strictures of Islam and its guidance and prescriptions for violence and warfare against unbelievers. … If you’re a Muslim, you believe it’s being prescribed by God and it’s being ordained by the wisdom of Muhammad.” Muslim groups worldwide had already condemned Mateen and similar murderers repeatedly.

Portrayed Muslims as Seeking to “Subjugate” Those Who Are Not: On his now obsolete radio show, Wuco claimed in 2010 that, “Muslim enclaves in the UK and Canada, [are] ahead of themselves on laboring to establish Sharia law for themselves.” He added, “While perfectly happy to subjugate and humiliate non-Muslim members of their…Muslim populations by-and-large will become enclave societies that, first, resist assimilation and then, will make every effort to establish independent rule for their enclaves under Sharia law, using violence to secure what they believe to be their divinely revealed right.”

Advocated for Mosque Surveillance: In an appearance on Fox and Friends in 2015, Wuco said that that a "mosque surveillance" program was key to finding "out what's going on behind the walls" of "mosques and Islamic reading centers." He decried the cancellation of NYPD’s mosque surveillance program, saying he "can only hope that some of these programs continue with other agencies":

Called Halting Visas from “Muslim Nations” a Great Idea: In a 2014 Fox News appearance, Wuco commented on a visa ban from the Middle East, saying, the policy was “one of these sort of great ideas that can never happen.” He continued, “You’re just not going to stop the visa application process into this country from Muslim nations in a blanket type of policy.”

James N. Mattis - Secretary of Defense

James Mattis is a retired Marine Corps general and the former Commander of United States General Command.

Claimed There Was a “Problem with Islam”: In an interview  with Peter Robinson of the Wall Street Journal, Mattis said, "The problem with Islam goes back to the days of the prophet.

Jared Kushner - Senior Adviser

Jared Kushner is Trump's son-in-law and a real estate developer. He was integral to Trump’s presidential campaign.

Refused to Reject Anti-Muslim Sentiments: When Kushner's friends questioned him about Trump's anti-Muslim statements and asked whether, given the history of the persecution of his own Jewish faith, Kushner endorsed such views, he said, "You don't understand what America is...or what American people think."

Jeff Sessions - Attorney General

Sessions previously served as a Senator from Alabama for two decades, and sat on the Senate Armed Services Committee, the Judiciary Committee and the Budget Committee. He was also the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama for 12 years. Sessions has close ties with anti-immigrant groups, and his record on civil rights has drawn legitimate accusations of racism.

Lashed Out When Congress Sought to Prevent Religious Profiling: In December 2015, Sessions voted against and publicly lashed out at a nonbinding amendment seeking to prevent a religious litmus test for people entering into the United States. During the vote, Session said, “Many people are radicalized after they enter. How do we screen for that possibility, if we cannot even ask about an applicant's views on religion?”

Supported Trump’s Muslim Ban: Sessions stated, “[Trump] said a temporary ban until we figure out what's going on and I think that's a legitimate analysis here. It is time for us to review what we're doing, put aside political correctness, reject the idea that we can't even say that radical Islam is the driving force behind this terrorism.”

Criticized Obama For His Rejection of the Term “Islamic Extremism”: Sessions criticized President Obama and then Presidential Nominee Clinton for not using the problematic phrase of "Islamic extremism" which wrongly implies a causal relationship between religion and violence and has become a shorthand way to demonize all Muslims. Sessions said, “President Obama will not say the words. Neither will Hillary Clinton, who would like to be the commander-in-chief of the United States military forces. Frankly, somebody who cannot understand the clarity of this threat and the need for honest talk about it — the need to protect America — is disqualified to be president. They just simply don’t get it, and that’s not acceptable anymore.”

Demanded a Justification from the National Endowment for the Humanities for Distributing Books Related to Islam: As Ranking Member of the Senate Budget Committee, Sessions sent a letter to the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) in part demanding a justification for why the NEH was “promoting” Islamic cultures at the expense of Christian and Jewish cultures. The purpose of NEH’s Muslim Journeys program is to “offering resources for exploring new and diverse perspectives on the people, places, histories, beliefs, and cultures of Muslims in the United States and around the world.”

Accepted Awards from Anti-Muslim Hate Groups: Sessions has accepted the “Keeper of the Flame” award in 2015 from the anti-Muslim hate group Center for Security Policy, whose leader Frank Gaffney has asserted his belief in the conspiracy theory that President Obama is Muslim, writing “…there is mounting evidence that the president not only identifies with Muslims, but actually may still be one himself.”

He has also accepted the “Annie Taylor Award” in 2014 from the anti-Muslim hate group David Horowitz Freedom Center, and attended the group’s annual “Restoration Weekend” Florida retreat events in 2008, 2010 and 2013. David Horowitz is one of the leading purveyors of anti-Muslim prejudice and his Center has financed numerous Islamophobes.

Kellyanne Conway - Counselor

Prior to joining the Trump’s administration as counselor to the president, Kellyanne Conway was a Republican party campaign manager and president and CEO of The Polling Company Inc.

Possesses Strong Connections with an Anti-Muslim Hate Group; Conducted The Defective Poll Used to Justify Trump’s Muslim Ban Policy Proposal.: Conway has worked closely with the Center for Security Policy. Her polling firm has conducted surveys for CSP on numerous occasions. In late 2015 when Trump announced his plan to ban all Muslims from entering the United States, he cited a flawed poll from June 2015 to justify his stance. The poll was conducted by Conway's The Polling Company for the Center for Security Policy and falsely portrayed American Muslims as increasingly radical.

Conducted Defective Polling Used to Justify Trump’s Muslim Ban: In late 2015 when Trump announced his plan to ban all Muslims from entering the United States, he cited a flawed poll from June 2015 to justify his stance. The poll was conducted by Conway's The Polling Company for the Center for Security Policy and falsely portrayed American Muslims as increasingly radical.

Claimed Muslims Believe the Purpose of Jihad is “To Punish Nonbelievers or…Undermine non-Muslim States”: Citing her defective and inaccurate June 2015poll, Conway said, "Lots of folks always [say], 'Look, don't cast a wide net and call all Muslims nonpeaceful and violent and adhering to jihad and Shariah and bloodthirsty.' Fine. However, look at the data. The Muslims living in the US themselves...say that this is what the purpose of jihad is, to either punish nonbelievers (16 percent) or...undermine non-Muslim states."

Michael Anton - Deputy Assistant, National Security Council

Michael Anton formerly worked in the National Security Council under President George W. Bush. He left his post to become a speechwriter for Rupert Murdoch at News Corp, and was most recently a managing director at an asset management firm. In 2016 Anton wrote a number of pseudonymous essays supporting Donald Trump in his candidacy for president.

Stated Muslims Want to “Kill” and “Destroy”: In the comments section of an obscure men’s fashion website, Anton wrote regarding Muslims, “I look at the world and I see a whole movement of people who want to kill me, destroy my country, and end my civilization.” Arguing against another commenter he said, “You either don’t see any of these people or you just think they are a joke. The bombs and the propaganda you alternate between taking in stride, finding pathetic, or dismissing any connection to Islam.” He also told the commenter, “Entirely absent from your analysis is even the possibility that there really is an enemy that wants to do terrible things to us and change us in fundamental, illiberal ways.”

Claimed Islam is “A Militant Faith”: In his article, “Toward a Sensible, Coherent Trumpism,” published under the pen name Publius Decius Mus, Anton wrote, “Islam is not a “religion of peace”; it’s a militant faith that exalts conversion by the sword and inspires thousands to acts of terror — and millions more to support and sympathize with terror.”

Said “Only an Insane Society” Would Increase Muslim Immigration: In the same article, “Toward a Sensible, Coherent Trumpism,” Anton continued to state, “Islam and the modern West are incompatible…. Only an insane society, or one desperate to prove its fidelity to some chimerical ‘virtue,’ would have increased Muslim immigration after the September 11th attacks.” He then questioned, “What good has Muslim immigration done for the United States and the American people?”

Mike Pompeo - Director of the C.I.A.

Mike Pompeo was previously the U.S. Representative from Kansas’s 4th congressional district.

Saw “No Malice” In the Use of Racial Slurs: In 2010, while running for office, Pompeo wrote "I am convinced there was no malice in his actions," in response to a campaign staffer who posted on Pompeo’s Twitter and Facebook accounts a link to a blog that used the racial slur “turban topper” in reference to his opponent of South Asian ancestry, and called President Obama an "evil muslim communist USURPER."

Falsely Accused American Muslim Leaders: Following the Boston Marathon attacks in 2013, Rep. Pompeo falsely accused American Muslims of failing to speak out against terrorism and asserted that “silence has made … Islamic leaders across America potentially complicit” in terrorist attacks. After CAIR sent him a letter detailing Muslim condemnations of the Boston attacks and actions against terrorism, Pompeo further justified his false rhetoric about Muslim leaders not condemning terrorism by stating, “I’m not backing down in my call for Islamic partners to do more to combat Islamic extremism. Actions speak louder than words: If religious leaders are serious about wanting to end this violence, they need to help address the cause of it, and that is by calling out fanatics.”

Possesses Connections with an Anti-Muslim Hate Group: While in Congress, Pompeo was a frequent guest on the radio show of paranoid conspiracy theorist, Frank Gaffney, who heads the anti-Muslim think tank, the Center for Security Policy.

Rex Tillerson - Secretary of State

Tillerson was formerly the chairman and CEO of the oil and gas company ExxonMobil.

Did Not Rule Out Muslim Registry: When asked during his hearing, “Do you support creating a national registry for American Muslims?” Tillerson did not immediately rule out the possibility. He said, “I would need to have a lot more information around how such an approach would even be constructed, and if it were a tool for vetting."

Made Problematic Assertions about Islam: Tillerson also stated during the hearing that "radical Islam poses a grave risk to the stability of nations and the wellbeing of their citizens." The phrase "radical Islam" has become a shorthand way to demonize all Muslims. It is explained further here.

Sebastian Gorka - Deputy Assistant to the President

Sebastian Gorka is a former national security editor for Breitbart News.

Claims Terrorism is Rooted in Islam: In his own words, Gorka “completely jettison[s]” the “famous approach that says [terrorism] is all so nuanced and complicated.” He claims that terror is rooted in Islam and the “martial” parts of the Quran. “Anybody who downplays the role of religious ideology…they are deleting reality to fit their own world.”

Showed an Image of A Dead Brown Body and Yelled, “We Can Win!”: Speaking to a crowd in Florida shortly after Trump’s election, Gorka displayed a photograph of a dead brown-skinned man on the ground next to an assault rifle. When the audience began to cheer, he yelled “We can win now, we can win!”

Stated Accepting Muslim Refugees Would Be “National Suicide”: In an interview on Fox News, Gorka spoke about Muslim refugees and assimilation, “We are a Christian nation, we are a Judeo-Christian nation,” he said. “We help people when we can help them,” he continued, “but that is not a contract for national suicide.”

Argued That Religious and Racial Profiling “Is A Synonym For Common Sense”: In a speech at the Family Research Council, a conservative advocacy group, Gorka said, “We must jettison political correctness…. Profiling is actually a synonym for common sense. If 98 percent of the terrorists come from a certain faith community, have a certain ethnic background, have a certain travel pattern, and visit the same sites on the internet, why are we patting down, you know, 82-year-old Episcopalian grandmothers?”

Refused to Confirm if Trump Thinks Islam is a Religion: In two separate interviews on NPR, Gorka dodged the question of whether Trump sees Islam as a religion. In the first appearance he said, “I think you should ask him that question.” At the second interview he said, “This isn’t a theological seminary, this is the White House, and we’re not going to get into theological debates.”

Possesses Connections with an Anti-Muslim Hate Group: Gorka has been a regular guest on Frank Gaffney’s radio show “Secure Freedom.” Gaffney is a conspiracy theorist and the founder of the anti-Muslim think tank, the Center for Security Policy.

Stephen Bannon – Chief Strategist

Prior to joining the White House, Bannon was the executive chair of Breitbart News, a white supremacist platform which promulgates racist, anti-immigrant, anti-Semitic, and anti-Muslim content.

Describes Islam as “A Political Ideology”: Bannon describes Islam as "a political ideology" and Sharia "like Nazism, fascism, and communism."

Praises Anti-Muslim Extremists: Bannon has said that the blatant Islamophobe Robert Spencer is, "One of the top two or three experts in the world on this great war we are fighting against fundamental Islam." Regarding Frank Gaffney, a key part of the Islamophobia Network, Bannon has said, "He is one of the senior thought leaders and men of action in this whole war against Islamic radical jihad." Bannon has praised, Pamella Geller, who's anti-Muslim vitriol is well documented, stating "Geller is one of the top word experts in radical Islam & Shariah law & Islamic supremacism."

Accused Gold-Star Father of Being A Proponent of Sharia: Bannon falsely stated that Khizr Khan is "One of the biggest proponents in this country, as a legal scholar, of Sharia law."

Charged Tim Kaine and Huma Abedin of Being Affiliated With The Muslim Brotherhood: Bannon falsely accused Tim Kaine of being affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, and used Breitbart to spread the conspiracy theory that Huma Abedin, a top Hillary Clinton aide, was connected with the Muslim Brotherhood as well.

Stephen Miller - Senior Adviser to the President

Stephen Miller launched into a political career immediately after college. Before joining Trump’s administration, Miller was the communications director for then-Alabama senator Jeff Sessions.

Stated “Millions of Radical Muslims” Would Celebrate the Death of Americans: While in high school, Miller wrote a column for the school newspaper, titled, “A Time to Kill,” in which he wrote, “We have all heard about how peaceful and benign the Islamic religion is, but no matter how many times you say that, it cannot change the fact that millions of radical Muslims would celebrate your death for the simple reason that you are Christian, Jewish or American.”

Started an Extremist Anti-Muslim Group at Duke University: While a senior at Duke University, Miller launched the “Terrorism Awareness Project” a project of the David Horowitz Freedom Center. David Horowitz is an anti-Muslim extremist. The Project claimed it sought to end “the efforts of the radical left and its Islamist allies to destroy American values and disarm this country as it attempts to defend itself in a time of terror." As the head of the Project, Miller held events like “Islamo-fascism Awareness Week."

Drafted Muslim Ban 1.0: In collaboration with Steve Bannon, Miller played a leading role in drafting the first version of the Muslim ban which restricted the entry of individuals from seven Muslim-majority countries into the United States.

Thomas Bossert - Homeland Security Adviser

Thomas Bossert is a lawyer who served as the deputy homeland security adviser under George W. Bush.

Shared Social Media with Islamophobic Content: Following the November 2015 Paris attack, Bossert retweeted a post from John Schindler, a former NSA official that said, "The liberalism I was raised in was not a societal death-wish. If you think political Islam is a plan for progress or diversity, get help."


Former and Possible Administration Staff

K.T. McFarland - Possible Ambassador to Singapore

K.T. McFarland was previously the Deputy National Security Advisor in the White House, and has been offered the position of Ambassador after the resignation of Michael Flynn from the post of National Security Adviser. Prior to her appointments in the Trump administration, McFarland was a national security analyst on Fox News. 

Argued for Religious Profiling: In a Fox News segment, McFarland stated that the United States should profile “Islamic extremist[s]” “instead of treating everybody the same because we don’t want to offend anybody.” She did not explain how such profiling would avoid the Constitution’s restrictions on government entanglement with religion.

Stated That Not Discriminating Against Muslims Was Harming “Western Civilization”: In another Fox News interview, McFarland said, “There is a war on. And the war is against all of western civilization…If we do not destroy the scourge of radical Islam, it will ultimately destroy Western civilization.” She continued to say that the “political correctness” of not discriminating against Muslims “is getting us killed.”

Mark Green – Army Secretary Nominee

Green is a physician who currently serves as a Tennessee state Senator.

Green Said It Was “A Great Question” When A Man Said American Muslims “Don’t Belong Here”: Speaking at a Chattanooga Tea Party meeting in the fall of 2016, Green said it was “a great question,” when a man spoke of his worry regarding an armed insurrection by people who, he opined, “don’t belong here, like Muslims in the United States.”

Referred to a “Muslim Horde” That Was Part of the “Assault of Islam”: Speaking at the same Tea Party event, Green said that the Islam that should be taught in public schools is “the history of the ottoman empire” and “the assault of Islam out into the Levant and North Africa and into Constantinople….it was 1492 when Constantinople fell to the Muslim horde.”

Said “Will Not Tolerate” Students Learning About Muslim Belief and Practices: Continuing at the Tea Party meeting, a person read out a paragraph from a textbook which stated that Muslims believe in all the prophets in the Old and New Testament, Green stated, “We will not tolerate that.” Green also said, “When you start teaching the pillars of Islam…we will not tolerate that in this state.”

Claimed Muslims Do Not Believe Jesus “Was Born from A Virgin”: When speaking of his experiences proselytizing in Toronto in a Pakistani community at the Tea Party meeting, Green falsely said that Muslims do not believe that Jesus “was born from a virgin.” On the contrary, Muslims, like Christians, believe that the Prophet Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary.

Said Schools Should Teach That “In Islam its Different”: At the Tea Party meeting, Green said that schools “should teach that in Islam its different because they actually marry their religion and their political faith together.”

Michael Flynn - Former National Security Adviser

Flynn is a retired lieutenant general and a former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency. He was appointed as the national security advisor by Trump, and was forced to resign in February 2017 as a consequence of his communications with Russian officials.

Serves as Board Member of Anti-Muslim Hate Group: Flynn is a board member of ACT for America, the largest anti-Muslim hate group in the United States. In this capacity, he has conducted a number of speech containing anti-Muslim animus.               

Said Islam is a “Political Ideology”: In an August 2016 speech at an ACT even in Dallas, Flynn said, “Islam is a political ideology. It definitely hides behind this notion of it being a religion. And I have a very, very tough time because I don’t see a lot of people screaming ‘Jesus Christ’ with hatchets or machetes or rifles shooting up clubs or hatcheting, literally axing families on a train, or like they just killed a couple of police officers with a machete. It’s unbelievable. So we have a problem.”

Claimed Islam is “Like a Malignant Cancer”: During the same August speech, Flynn continued to state that Islam is “like cancer. You know, I’ve gone through cancer in my own life. So it’s like cancer. And it’s a like a malignant cancer, though, in this case. It has metastasized.”

Stated He Is “At War With Islam”: In an Al-Jazeera interview in January 2016, Flynn stated that he’s “been at war with Islam, or a, or a component of Islam, for the last decade.”

Tweeted “Fear of Muslims is RATIONAL”:  In a tweet posted in February 2016, Flynn said, “Fear of Muslims is RATIONAL: please forward this to others: the truth fears no questions.”

Wrote That The “Islamic World Is an Epic Failure”: In a New York Post op-ed, Flynn wrote, “true believers only number a small fraction of the Muslim world, and even though everybody, above all most living Muslims, knows that the Islamic world is an epic failure.”

Wrote “Sharia is a Violent Law That Is Buried in Barbaric Convictions,” And Muslims “Banned the Search for Truth”: In his book The Field of Fight, published in 2016, Flynn wrote, among many other problematic statements, “Sharia is a violent law that is buried in barbaric convictions.” A few paragraphs later he said, “[Muslims] banned the search for truth.”


Islamophobia Network Connections

ACT for America - In an end of the year fundraising email, Brigitte Gabriel, the founder of this anti-Muslim organization, gloated about its strong connections to the incoming Trump administration. Gabriel promised an aggressive federal and state legislative agenda for 2017, which included enabling profiling by federal law enforcement agencies and “monitoring the radical mosques.” In March of 2017, she shared a photo of herself meeting with White House staff on social media.

Center for Security Policy - The connection of the incoming Trump administration to Frank Gaffney's group has been illustrated above, under Jeff Sessions, Kellyanne Conway, Mike Pompeo, Sebastian Gorka, and Stephen Bannon's sections.

David Horowitz Freedom Center - The connection of the incoming Trump administration to David Horowitz's nonprofit has been illustrated above, under Jeff Sessions and Stephen Miller.

Pamela Geller - The creator of, formerly Atlas Shrugs, Geller has been praised by Bannon, the incoming Chief Strategist, as stated under his profile.

Robert Spencer - The founder of Jihad Watch, Spencer is likewise considered in high esteem by Bannon.

 “…look to the Muslim woman as an indicating factor. By the way she wears her hijab. If the hijab is a solid color it indicates religiosity. If it’s a patterned scarf, with colors, it’s more likely that she is less religious.”  - Testimony of a Customs and Border Protection official in a 2013 lawsuit as reported by CAIR-National Litigation Director Lena Masri

1035 Percent Jump in Religious Profiling Cases at U.S. Ports of Entry

Preliminary data reveals that cases of U.S. Customs and Boarder Protection (CBP) profiling accounted for 23 percent of all Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) case intakes in the first three months of 2017. This represents a 1035 percent increase in CBP typed cases in 2017 over the same period in 2016.

Of the 193 CBP cases recorded from January-March 2017, 181 were reported after the January 27 signing of the Executive Order "Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States," also known as the Muslim Ban. These 181 post-Muslim ban cases exceeded the combined total of the 136 CBP cases that CAIR documented in the previous three years.

[Note: In early May CAIR will release a report detailing anti-Muslim bias incidents documented by the organization during the 2014-2016 period. Shortly thereafter, CAIR will release its preliminary first quarter 2017 case data.]

This significant increase in CBP related incidents has occurred in the context of the Trump administration’s early efforts to convert anti-Islam campaign rhetoric into U.S. policy. CBP incidents have not been limited to travelers from countries targeted by the Muslim ban. While the deluge of reported incidents is significant, the practice of unequal treatment of Muslims at U.S. ports of entry is not new. Recent revelations resulting from a 2013 CAIR lawsuit, which challenges invasive questioning at U.S. borders about religious practices, add further insight into faith-based profiling by federal officials.

Q1 CBP Cases

*This data is preliminary and may evolve.

CBP Cases by Year

*This data is preliminary and may evolve.

CAIR's data mirrors findings published in a recent report by the Institute For Social Policy and Understanding (ISPU). Accortding to ISPU's American Muslim poll 2017, "Muslims are more than twice as likely (30%) as Jews (13%), Catholics and Protestants (11%) to be stopped at the border for additional screening.” ISPU added, "Most Muslims (67%) stopped at a U.S. border say they were easily identified as a member of their faith group, compared with 32% of Jews and none in other groups."

Broader context: converting anti-Islam campaign rhetoric into U.S. policy

The first 100 days of Donald Trump’s presidency witnessed initial efforts to translate his anti-Islam campaign rhetoric into official U.S. policy. These efforts included populating his administration with a number of officials who have a history of problematic and misleading statements about Islam and Muslims.

It also included an evolving effort to fulfill his campaign promise of a ban on Muslim entry into the U.S. There were also reports of substantive movement toward an executive order directing the Secretary of State to determine whether to designate the Muslim Brotherhood a foreign terrorist organization, a witch hunt rooted in conspiracy theories peddled by the U.S. Islamophobia network and intended to eviscerate American Muslim civil society.

CBP’s invasive religious questioning not limited to travelers from Muslim ban countries

Invasive questioning about an individual’s personal religiosity at U.S. ports of entry is one of the types of CBP encounters reported to CAIR. While not a new phenomenon, reports of the abusive practice have escalated under President Trump.

In January, CAIR chapters in Florida, California and New York filed complaints with the CBP, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) over reports of systematic questioning of American Muslim citizens about their religious and political views by CBP. These complaints have been acknowledged by the agencies but no conclusions have been issued.

In one high-profile incident, Muhammad Ali Jr., son of the iconic American boxer, reported that government officials, “asked me, where was I born and what my religion was, where did I get the name from.” [Note: Mr. Ali’s case is not one CAIR filed a complaint about. He has private counsel.] 

Citizens of staunch U.S. allies were also targeted. Canadian Fadwa Alaoui reported that border officials asked her, “‘Do you practice? Which mosque do you go to? What is the name of the imam? How often do you go to the mosque? What kind of discussions do you hear in the mosque? Does the imam talk to you directly?’” She was also asked about “her views on Trump.”

CAIR has documented a number of invasive questions asked of travelers including:

  1. Are you a devout Muslim?
  2. Are you Sunni or Shia?
  3. What school of thought do you follow?
  4. Which Muslim scholars do you follow?
  5. Which current Muslim scholars do you listen to?
  6. Do you pray five times a day?
  7. Why do you have a prayer mat and Quran in your luggage?
  8. Have you visited Saudi Arabia?
  9. What do you think of the USA?
  10. What are your views about jihad?
  11. What mosque do you attend?
  12. Do any individuals in your mosque have any extreme/radical views?
  13. Does your Imam express extremist views?
  14. What are the views of other Imams or other community members that give the Friday sermon at your mosque? Do they have extremist views?
  15. Have you ever delivered the Friday prayer? What did you discuss with your community?
  16. What are the names and telephone numbers of parents, relatives, and/or friends?

Revelations from 2013 lawsuit

In 2013, CAIR filed a lawsuit against the CBP and the FBI over the repeated detention and questioning of Muslims at and inside the United States-Canada border. The lawsuit challenges both religious profiling and the un-constitutional questioning of a person’s faith and the way they choose to practice their faith.

In the case of one plaintiff CAIR is representing, CAIR-National Litigation Director Lena Masri notes, “He crossed the border into the United States [from Canada]. He was taken aside and asked religious questions. He then went back into Canada, returned to the U.S. and was asked the exact same questions by the same officers.”

Masri reports that one customs officer who was deposed in the lawsuit testified that, “All customs officials attended a training that was offered by Customs [and Border Protection]. During that training session, the officers were specifically taught to determine how to know if a Muslim is religious or cultural.”

Masri went on to explain that the officers testified that the trainers, “told [CBP officials] to look to the Muslim woman as an indicating factor. By the way she wears her hijab[headscarf]. If the hijab is a solid color, it indicates religiosity. If it’s a patterned scarf, with colors, it’s more likely that she is less religious. If a scarf is opaque, it is more likely you are religious. If it is transparent it’s less likely you are religious. If you wear it tightly around your face, it is more likely you are religious. If you wear it loosely, it is more likely that you are a cultural Muslim. Based on these indicating factors, customs officials are instructed to pull you aside, detain you, and ask you religious questions.”

Another customs official who was deposed admitted that, “he does pull aside people that he sees carrying a Quran or carrying religious beads.” A third customs officials acknowledged that he pulls aside Muslims who are returning from Hajj.

All the customs officials Masri deposed, at least eight, acknowledged that they do not pull aside individuals of other faith backgrounds as a consequence of their religious appearance or the religious items they carry.

[NOTE: Any case listed in this preliminary report as containing an element of religious discrimination has undergone a vetting process by CAIR intake staff that seeks to ensure the highest possible level of accuracy. Cases are updated as additional facts become available.]

Update: (4-26-2017 @ 10:45 a.m.) The article was modified to clarify that not all of the incidents documented by CAIR involved invasive questioning about an individual’s personal religiosity. This abusive practice was one type of encounter travelers reported.

Update: (4-28-2017 @ 11:15 p.m.) Added findings form ISPU's American Muslim Poll 2017.

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