A report by the Centre for Race and Gender at UC Berkely, California and Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) released recently found that Islamophobia is multi million dollar industry in US. According to the report, $200 million was spend by different groups between 2008 and 2013 for promoting fear and hatred towards Muslims.
The report titled ‘Confronting Fear’ identifies 74 groups including Zionist, Feminist, Christian apart from some news organisations also contributed to the fear and hatred towards Muslims.
The report says, the 2016 presidential election has mainstreamed the Islamophobia in the country. According to Corey Saylor, director of CAIR’s Department to Monitor and Combat Islamophobia this has resulted in number of unconstitutional proposals targeting Muslims.
The report details the number of groups identified as compromising US Islamophobia network has increased from 69 in 2013 to 74 in 2016. And the core organisations had access to at least $ 205838077 in total revenue. The report elaborates that 41 groups whose primary purpose though does not appear to be promoting prejudices against Muslims, they also supports Islamophobic themes.
Another factor that promotes Islamophobia is the various legislation undertaken by different states in the US. The report identifies laws enacted in 10 states as anti-Muslim bills. The report blames the educational practices in some states as promoting fear against Muslims and cites examples of Florida and Tennessee as examples. Here, according to the report, the students are told that the basic tenants of Islam central belief system generated backlash and and allegations of attempts to indoctrinate students to become Muslims are also made. It is alleged that Florida government even tried to ban school books from making any references to Islam in history.
The report finds that in 2015 alone 78 mosques have been vandalised in United States and says that two new phenomenon reflects the mainstreaming of Islamophobia in US. One is Muslim free business establishment and the other is armed anti-Muslim demonstrations.
Wilfredo Amr Ruiz spokesperson of CAIR told Al Jazeera that the two dangers of Islamophobia is the increase in hate crimes and anti Muslim legislations and tells that the crime against Muslims have increased 500 percent in Florida.
Ruiz cites Florida Senator Alan Hayes as once distributing literature that said: “Our religious, political, and peaceful way of life is under attack by Islam and Sharia Law. Save my generation from this ideology that is invading our country and masquerading as a ‘religion’. It’s sedition: They are determined to overthrow our State and our Country.”
The report, however, have made four-point strategy to achieve a shared American understanding of Islam in which being Muslim carries a positive connotation, and in which Islam has an equal place among the many faiths that together constitute America’s pluralistic society.