The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, is at the forefront of defending the civil liberties of American Muslims while pursuing justice for all. As part of our mission, CAIR provides free legal services to individuals who have been victims of anti-Muslim discrimination and bigotry. We have offices in 25 states to help clients obtain fair and just resolutions for their cases.
The title of this report is Still Suspect: The Impact of Structural Islamophobia. The word structural is significant in the understanding that Islamophobia has seeped into every part of our society. It has made its way into government institutions and the public sphere through laws and policies, political rhetoric, and other manifestations. For example, in 2021, CAIR received a total of 6,720 complaints nationwide involving a range of issues including immigration and travel, discrimination, law enforcement and government overreach, hate and bias incidents, incarceree rights, school incidents, and anti-BDS/free speech. These complaints clearly indicate that government discrimination and bias continue to have a disproportionate effect on American Muslims and further demonstrate that our communities continue to be viewed with suspicion.
This report seeks to illustrate the impacts of severe structural and interpersonal Islamophobia in the United States. We outline four different sections to demonstrate this impact. The first section details a breakdown of the total complaints CAIR received in 2021 encompassing the wide range of issues detailed above. We also provide seven key takeaways from the data highlighting the severity of complaints. For instance, we recorded a 55% increase in law enforcement and government overreach complaints in 2021.