President Donald Trump's first 100 days in office were a frightening experience for the seven-million strong Muslim American community. According to the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the largest American Muslim civil advocacy group, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) profiling of Muslims accounted for 23 percent of cases in the first three months of 2017. This represents a 1,035 percent increase in CBP bias cases reported so far this year over the same period in 2016.
The CAIR released a report this week which also found that:
* Of the 193 CBP cases recorded from January-March 2017, 181 were reported after the January 27 signing of the Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States Executive Order, also known as the Trump administration "Muslim Ban."
* The 181 cases that occurred after the Muslim Ban was signed
exceeded the combined total of 136 CBP profiling cases CAIR documented in the
previous three years.
It also included an evolving effort to fulfill his campaign promise of a ban on Muslim entry into the U.S.
There were also reports of substantive movement toward an executive order directing the Secretary of State to determine whether to designate the Muslim Brotherhood a foreign terrorist organization, which experts say is just a "witch hunt" rooted in conspiracy theories peddled by the U.S. Islamophobia network and intended to eviscerate American Muslim civil society.
It may be recalled that on January 9 U.S. Representative Mario Diaz Balart (R-FL), introduced a bill to ask the Secretary of State to designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a foreign terrorist organization. The following day, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) introduced an identical bill in the Senate titled the The Muslim Brotherhood Terrorist Designation Act.
While invasive questioning about an individual's personal religiosity at U.S. ports of entry is not a new phenomenon, reports of the abusive practice have escalated under President Trump.
In January, CAIR chapters in Florida, California and New York filed complaints with the CBP, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) over reports of systematic questioning of American Muslim citizens about their religious and political views by CBP.
In one high-profile incident, Muhammad Ali Jr., son of the iconic American boxer, reported that government officials, "asked me, where was I born and what my religion was, where did I get the name from."
Citizens of staunch U.S. allies were also targeted. Canadian Fadwa Alaoui reported that border officials asked her, "'Do you practice? Which mosque do you go to? What is the name of the imam? How often do you go to the mosque? What kind of discussions do you hear in the mosque? Does the imam talk to you directly?'" She was also asked about "her views on Trump."
CAIR has documented a number of invasive questions asked of travelers including:
1. Are you a devout Muslim?
2. Are you Sunni or Shia?