Discrimination is defined as the unfair treatment of a person or group on the basis of prejudice. One of the most infamous topics on discrimination in our world today is that of ethnicity. Due to recent tragic events, such as the September 11 attacks, most Americans have unfairly stereotyped Muslims and the religion of Islam. People fear what they do not understand; therefore, it is important to educate citizens about the views and beliefs of Muslims.
Islam is a religious culture that is torn and divided, at one end radical Islamic extremists struggle to fight what they consider a "holy war" by corrupting Muslim followers into believing that westerner globalization will stand in the way of the purity of Islam. These views are certainly true of Osama Bin Laden and other radical extremists but not the majority of Muslims around the world, who follow a religion of peace, mercy, and forgiveness, and have nothing to do with the violent events some have associated with radical extremists. If an individual Muslim were to commit an act of terrorism, this person would be guilty of violating the laws of Islam.
In 2005 the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) issued a report to advance the understanding of political, human rights, and social issues. The 63-page document presented a historical overview of major federal law enforcement initiatives, high-profile national cases, and statistical evidence of anti-Muslim discrimination in the United States.
Religious Discrimination by the Majority
In 2004, CAIR recorded a 49 percent increase from 2003 in incidents of harassment, violence, and discriminatory treatment (5). The report also documented a 52 percent increase in potential and actual violent anti-Muslim hate crimes, a statistic which marks record high figures since the inception of the council eleven years ago (5). These disturbing numbers show the growing disparity in how American Muslims are treated by other citizens. In Florida, CBS news reported numerous attacks against Islamic institutions after 9/11. In one case, a man drove his truck into a mosque in Tallahassee, but fortunately no one was hurt (Kerr 1).
This alarming increase of reported cases to CAIR over the past year has been caused by several reasons which include, but are not limited to, an increased public awareness of Muslim civil rights violations, expansion of new CAIR chapters giving local Muslim communities the opportunity to report such incidents, and indoctrinated federal legislation which infringe on the constitutional rights of all Americans (6).
Religious Discrimination by the US Government
The unanimous decision by Congress to pass the USA Patriot Act after 9/11 gave law enforcement the authority to detain an individual without granting legal representation. Under the law, a person can be detained if there is reasonable grounds to believe that he/she is engaged in any of a broad range of terrorist acts or otherwise threatened national security. Unfortunately, there are an overwhelming number of documented reports involving unreasonable arrests, detention, searches/seizures, profiling, and interrogations of American Muslims. These unjustified acts consisted of almost 26 percent of all reported cases (CAIR 6).
According to the CAIR report, in a January 2002 memorandum to federal immigration and law enforcement officials, Attorney General John Ashcroft estimated that there were approximately 314,000 deportable illegal aliens living in the United States (8). Of these aliens, 1.9 percent were from Arab and Muslim countries. The Justice department selectively targeted these aliens even though 90 percent of the illegal immigrants were from Latin American countries. Of the 585 Muslim and Arab immigrants apprehended not one terrorist was uncovered (8). Many Arab and Muslim advocates report working cooperatively with all levels of government to prevent discrimination. At the same time, the conservatives among them...