2017 was a tumultuous year, not just for the Oklahoma Muslim community, but for civil rights and social justice. The Civil Rights Report reflects heightened fear of Islamophobia and the work that CAIR-OK continues to do to fight bigotry and injustice in our state.
The report shows a 46% increase in total calls processed by the Civil Rights Department in 2017, compared to 2016 numbers. It also shows a 30% increase in calls that do show evidence of discrimination, with the most significant number of discrimination-related complaints falling in the categories of employment, harassment, and the denial of religious accommodations.
The 2017 data also showed a large increase in the number of calls referred to immigration services. The implementation and subsequent legal battles over President Trump’s “Muslim ban” resulted in confusing and disorienting changes to immigration policy, which was reflected in the number of calls concerning immigration status and travel-related issues.
In 2017, the CAIR-OK Civil Rights Department also produced Guides to Islamic Religious Practices for educators and for healthcare professionals, joining the guides for employers that were released in 2016. The guides outline basic Islamic religious practices and suggest best practices for teachers, administrators, and healthcare professionals to use in supporting their Muslim students, clients, patients, and families. The guides are all available free of charge from the Civil Rights Department.
The Civil Rights Report also tracks the activity of the Civil Rights Department in the areas of community outreach, youth leadership, and interfaith work, listing some of the events and workshops that featured CAIR-OK’s work. It also notes that Civil Rights Director Veronica Laizure was honored with a Human Rights Award from the Oklahoma Universal Human Rights Alliance in 2017.