WASHINGTON - A majority of American-Muslims experienced religious discrimination during 2016, and many said they feared for their own or their family’s safety from hate groups following the election President Donald Trump, a new poll has revealed.
One-fifth of American-Muslims say they had made plans to leave the US if it became necessary, according to the poll released Tuesday by the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding (ISPU), a Washington-based think tank.
The poll, which surveyed 800 Muslims from January 4 to 23, compared their responses with those of people of other faiths and the US population in general.
Some 60 percent of Muslims reported personally experiencing religious discrimination in the past year, compared with 17 percent of the general US population, the poll found.
Over a third said they feared for their own or their family’s safety and 42 percent also said their children had experienced bullying at school in the previous year.
Trump’s hateful comments and actions directed at Muslims has perpetuated that fear, Zainab Chaudry, a spokeswoman Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), was quoted as saying. “We saw that taper off after the first couple weeks after the election,” Chaudry said, but “the concern, the anxiety and fear, is still very real,” Chaudry said at a panel announcing the report.
Trump’s controversial executive order banning travellers from several Muslim-majority countries and appointing advisers who hold anti-Islamic views has further spread Islamophobia across the US and increased hate crimes against Muslims. “There’s been more than 15 years of propaganda, mis-education campaigns, to convince the American public that Islam is inherently evil and violent and that Muslims should be associated with terrorism and fear in their communities,” Charles Haynes, founding director of the Newseum Institute’s Religious Freedom Centre, said Tuesday. “Even in the corridors of power now, this narrative, this propaganda which used to be on the fringe has moved into the centre, and it’s now mainstream,” Haynes added. “From early on in a deeply divisive presidential election cycle until today, American Muslims have been at the centre of heated social and political debates,” the report. “One byproduct of this increased salience is an uptick in negatively charged rhetoric and discriminatory acts.
Conversely, there has also been an outpouring of support and solidarity (particularly following the election of Donald Trump) aimed not just at Muslims already in the United States, but also toward those who yearn to make America their home."