The data for this report was collected and compiled by the Northern California offices of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (“CAIR”), CAIR San Francisco Bay Area (“CAIR-SFBA”) and CAIR Sacramento (“CAIR-SV”) respectively, in 2012.
In the year 2012, CAIR’s Northern California offices received a total of 445 complaints from members of the American Muslim community. CAIR-SFBA, located in Santa Clara received 333 complaints. CAIR’s Sacramento Valley office, located in Sacramento received 112 complaints. Of these complaints, 71 complaints fell outside the parameters of this report, as they were not concerned with civil rights, including 21 requests for referrals to attorneys in matters unrelated to civil rights. Accordingly, 374 complaints are analyzed in this report.
Northern California Muslims reported incidents in which they were scrutinized by federal law enforcement agencies and local police. They also contacted CAIR because of reported discrimination in the workplace, including harassment from co-workers and managers, denials of religious accommodation requests, and retaliation after complaining about harassment or requesting religious accommodation. Local Muslims also reported intensive searches and delay while traveling and delays when they applied for visas for overseas family members. Moreover, as a result of CAIR’s newly launched “Muslim Youth at School” Project, parents contacted CAIR-CA after their children faced bullying from peers or insensitive treatment from teachers. The reported incidents took place in various locations, including airports, the workplace, schools and private businesses.
Complaints of employment discrimination made up the largest number of complaints in Northern California, numbering 73 or 17% of complaints. The next most frequent type of complaint involved law enforcement interactions, including instances of community members approached for voluntary questioning by FBI or JTTF, as well as community members who contacted CAIR because they were concerned about the possibility of law enforcement surveillance. These complaints number 58 or 13% of the total complaints received. The remainder of the calls received involved complaints about travel, family disputes, school bullying and accommodation issues, higher education issues, criminal defense issues, issues in places of public accommodation, prison, and housing/land use issues.
Complaints received in 2012 show a sharp increase from the prior year, during which CAIR-SFBA documented 283 complaints and CAIR-SV documented approximately 50. These increases could be attributable to an increase in CAIR California staff capacity, additional outreach efforts, increased Islamophobia,1 or other factors. CAIR’s Northern California offices remain vigilant in observing data trends that may indicate an increase in hostilities directed towards the American Muslim community.