Press Statement: Citizenship Delays were Top Issue for U.S. Muslims in 2006

(CHICAGO, IL, 6/19/07) -A national report released locally today by the Chicago office of a prominent national Islamic civil rights and advocacy group indicates a 25 percent increase in the total number of complaints of anti-Muslim bias from 2005 to 2006, with citizenship delays being the major issue.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations’ (CAIR) report – the only annual study of its kind – outlines 2,467 incidents and experiences of anti-Muslim violence, discrimination and harassment in 2006, the highest number of civil rights cases ever recorded in the Washington-based group’s report.

2006 saw a 25.1 percent increase in the total number of complaints from 2005. (2,467 cases reported in 2006, compared to 1,972 cases reported in 2005), and a 9.2 percent increase from 2005 in the total number of reported hate crimes (167 cases reported in 2006, compared to 153 cases reported in 2005).

“The continued spike in civil rights abuses against this country’s Muslims ought to alarm every American who still believes in the founding ideals of equality and pluralism,” said Ahmed Rehab, CAIR-Chicago’s Executive Director.

CAIR-Chicago reported the second largest number of total complaints among chapters in the nation, 13 percent of the number of national complaints, the highest per capita.

The growth of the complaints involving government agencies rose nationally from 19.22 percent in 2005 to 36.32 percent in 2006. This is due largely to the number of cases regarding citizenship and green card delays. CAIR-Chicago spearheaded the citizenship delay project and was the first chapter in the nation to file a class action and individual complaints regarding citizenship delay cases.

“For the second year in a row, CAIR-Chicago’s case totals rose 50 percent from the previous year,” said Christina Abraham, CAIR-Chicago’s Civil Rights Coordinator. “In 2006, 412 cases were reported to the Civil Rights Department. Of those cases, 66 percent were government, 14 percent were employment,” she said.

To view the entire report, go to:

CONTACT: CAIR-Chicago Civil Rights Coordinator Christina Abraham (312) 212-1520; Executive Director Ahmed Rehab (847) 971-3963

– END –