18 years after the ghastly tragedy of 9/11, the seven-million strong American Muslim community remains at the receiving end of President Trump's demonization of Muslims, bigotry, instigation of hate crimes, widespread discrimination, and media coverage that links Islam with terrorism.
Tellingly, attack on Muslims and their faith is coming from our top political leadership. I mean from our President. Yes, our President Donald Trump.
On July 14, President Trump sent three racist tweets against four Democratic congresswomen saying "go back and help fix" the countries, he said they "originally came" from, before trying to make legislative changes in the USA. Two of the congresswomen were Muslim, Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Rep. Ilham Omar of Minnesota. The other two Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts are of African-American background.
President Trump at a campaign rally on July 18 doubled down on his racist remarks about the four progressive congresswomen of color, casting them as an existential threat to modern American society and saying "let them leave." As he took direct aim at Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar, a defiant Mr. Trump was buoyed by the raucous crowd, which chanted "send her back!"
The president claimed that the four Democratic congresswomen "originally came" from foreign countries but only Omar was born outside the U.S. Pressley, an African American, was born in Ohio. Ocasio-Cortez, of Puerto Rican heritage, was born in New York. Tlaib, the daughter of Palestinian immigrants, was born in Detroit. Omar, a naturalized U.S. citizen, was born in Somalia, a country she and her family fled from because of a civil war and ethnic strife.
The Democratic-led US House of Representatives formally condemned President Donald Trump's Twitter posts as racist. The House vote was split largely along party lines despite pressure for Republicans to denounce the president's attacks on four Democratic Congresswomen. The vote, 240-187, fell nearly entirely along party lines with only four Republicans voting with Democrats. A USA Today/Ipsos survey found that nearly sixty per cent of Republicans agreed with the President's racist tweets.
Discrimination against Muslims and hate crimes
Abbas Barzegar, national research and advocacy director at the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) told The Daily Beast in May: "We've already reported over 500 incidences of anti-Muslim bias or harassment just this year so far." "That's very preliminary reporting. I know a number of our chapters have not filed their reports yet; I believe that's a very low estimate already of what's happening across the country."
Amid Trump's Islamophobic and racist rhetoric Pew Research Center reported a sharp rise in discrimination against Muslims. According to the Pews Survey released in April, Muslims, in particular, are seen as facing more discrimination than other groups in society.
On the other hand, Washington-base Institute for Social Policy and Understanding (ISPU) annual poll also found that Muslims remain the most likely group to report experiencing religious discrimination.
The Muslim community remains a victim of bigotry and hate crimes. Here are a few examples:
Hate Crimes against hijab wearing Muslim women is very common. In February a man spit on a woman wearing a hijab in Long Island City. A Woman wearing hijab was pepper sprayed in the face on the 4th of July in Kandiyohi County (Minnesota). In January, a Muslim woman from Oklahoma said an attacker pulled her hijab and told her to "go back to [her] country"
A billboard advertising an Islamic art exhibit at the Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa (Oklahoma) was vandalized. The billboard featured a piece of ceramic pottery and text that read, "1,200 years of Islamic Art." Someone wrote "HOME GROWN TERROR!" in black spray paint on the billboard and the one below it.
William Patrick Syring, 61, of Arlington, Virginia, was sentenced in August to 60 months in prison for threatening Dr. James J. Zogby, president of the Arab American Institute (AAI) and other AAI employees because of their race and national origin, and because of their efforts to encourage Arab Americans to participate in political and civic life in the United States.
Attack on mosques