Friday, June 15, 2007

American Muslim civil rights complaints up 25%

Norman Sinclair / The Detroit

DETROIT -- Civil rights complaints by American Muslims rose 25 percent across the country, according to the latest report by a national advocacy group; however, complaints in Michigan remained among the lowest, with a 3 percent increase in 2006.

Dawud Walid, executive director of CAIR-Michigan, said while Michigan might have fewer complaints, the numbers could be skewed by the presence in Dearborn of one of the country's largest and most active chapters of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC).

"A lot of complaints that would normally go to CAIR go to ADC when it primarily involves Muslims who are Arab-American.," he said. "A lot of the complaints we get at CAIR are from various ethnic groups, with Arab-Americans not being the dominant complainers."

The most significant increase in any category related to immigration issues, which accounted for 36 percent of the complaints, up from 19 percent the previous year. Hate crime complaints rose 9 percent, from 153 complaints in 2005 to 167 last year.

Walid said a disturbing trend locally is the increase in vandalism of mosques. In 2006, two such incidents were reported. In the first five months this year, there have been 12 such incidents in Metro Detroit, he said.

He said last year there was one incident of a hate e-mail sent to a Muslim student group at the University of Michigan. This year there has been an increasing number of these incidents, he said.(MORE)

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