Muslim civil rights organization says harassment, discrimination persist

Two new reports from a Muslim civil rights organization say that incidents of harassment and discrimination have dropped. But they note that California and a handful of other states account for 79 percent of those claims.

In its state and national surveys, the Council on American Islamic Relations found that verbal harassment and employment discrimination are among Muslim Americans’ most common rights concerns. The incidence of those problems was up, even as reports of others – including airline passenger profiling – declined.

The report noted and criticized new FBI regulations that allow for religious and ethnic profiling, and some law enforcement agencies’ surveillance of mosques. Anti-Islamic rhetoric in last year’s presidential campaign also occupies a portion of the national study.

When his opponents tried to characterize then-Democratic nominee Barack Obama as a Muslim who was disloyal to the United States and its ideals, he asserted that he was a Christian who supported Muslims’ full participation in American life. Some Muslims have lamented that he could have offered a more vigorous response their behalf.

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