Islamophobia & Civil Freedoms

  • Muslim student ‘kicked off flight for speaking Arabic’ sues Southwest Airlines for racial discrimination

    Source: Independent. A Muslim student who was ejected from a Southwest Airlines plane after speaking Arabic has filed a lawsuit alleging racial discrimination. Khairuldeen Makhzoomi was “publicly humiliated”, searched and interrogated for hours after being removed from the flight before take-off at Los Angeles International Airport.

  • Draft DHS report called for long-term surveillance of Sunni Muslim immigrants

    Source: Foreign Policy. If the report’s recommendations were implemented, it would represent a vast expansion of the Trump administration’s policies aimed at many Muslim immigrants, extending vetting from those trying to enter the United States to those already legally in the country, including permanent residents.

  • Team Trump bypassed DHS analysts to produce bogus terror report

    Souorce: Daily Beast. The Trump administration was clear: ‘An analysis conducted by DHS’ concluded that 73% of terrorists were ‘foreign-born.’ Except DHS analysts had nothing to do with the conclusion. The document didn’t mince words. It claimed three-quarters of “international terrorism” convicts were immigrants, an assertion meant to bolster Donald Trump’s cherished Muslim-focused ban on entering the country. And the report put the claim in the mouths of an agency assembled to keep Americans safe after 9/11: the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). But the Department of Homeland Security did not perform that analysis. DHS’ analysts did not contribute to the highly controversial report.

  • Muslim Americans sue FBI for being put on a terror watch list for no reason

    Source: Newsweek. Five American Muslims filed a lawsuit against FBI Director Christopher Wray and other members of the government because they believe they were put on a terrorist watch list without due process. The Terrorist Screening Database, a federal list of terror suspects, is a secret list compiled by the FBI, and it’s impossible for people to verify whether or not they have been included on it. But lawyers from the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), who filed the lawsuit on behalf of the plaintiffs, say people who are on the list know they were included because they are frequently harassed by law enforcement officials and consistently have their rights violated.

  • Trump administration skews terror data to justify anti-Muslim travel ban

    Source: The Intercept. A new report from the departments of Justice and Homeland Security found that three of every four defendants convicted of international terrorism charges from September 11, 2001 to December 31, 2016 were born outside the United States. The data in the report, released today, would appear to support Trump’s policies of limiting immigration from Muslim-majority nations out of national security concerns. However, the report appears to rely on a dataset that has been carefully selected to support the Trump administration’s anti-Muslim policies. It appears that Sessions’s Justice Department has edited the data to support the conclusions the president wanted — that foreign-born individuals are the principal problem.

  • Obama team did some ‘extreme vetting’ of Muslims before Trump, new documents show

    Source: Daily Beast. Five months before President Trump came to office vowing “extreme vetting” for immigrants, the Obama administration added social media checks to a program that scrutinizes persons from majority-Muslim nations, newly obtained internal documents show. Social-media screening at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services collectively encompassed aspiring immigrants such as asylees and refugees, and even some visa-holders currently in the United States. The effort going back five years had produced little actionable intelligence, according to multiple internal reviews obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request.

  • Man named Mohammad says he was kicked off a Greyhound bus at 3 a.m. Because of his name

    Source: Newsweek, A Ph.D. candidate who was traveling on a Greyhound bus from Dallas to a conference in Kansas City, Missouri, this month says he was kicked off at 3 a.m. during a stop in Wichita, Kansas, because his name is Mohammad.

  • The city that bears the brunt of the national terror watchlist

    Source: Huffington Post. With a large population of Muslim and Arab Americans, Dearborn has the most per capita residents on a shadowy and unaccountable watchlist. It is nearly impossible to find out if you’re on it, let alone get your name off. Largely unknown to the rest of the country before those 9/11 terror attacks, Dearborn has since become the focus of right-wing conspiracy theories, and of America’s sustained and systemic criminalization of Muslim and Arab Americans.

  • We can’t fight Trump-style hate with the surveillance state

    Source: In These Times. How do we effectively challenge organized white supremacists? Post-Charlottesville, the spotlight focused on the work of an organization of former white supremacists that helps turn neo-Nazis away from racism: Life After Hate. Much of this coverage decried cuts to the funding of Life After Hate. The funding that Life After Hate lost came from a federal program focused on surveillance and policing that disproportionately targets Muslims, called Countering Violent Extremism (CVE). This program has been widely criticized for promoting institutional discrimination and criminalization of Muslim communities. Furthermore, Life After Hate plans to expand its programs to include work challenging “jihadism,” indicating that the organization is buying into the federal program’s troubling “war on terror” framework. While CVE currently focuses on Muslim communities, many critics fear it will chill dissent and access to social services for many marginalized communities.

  • Almost all news coverage of the Barcelona attack mentioned terrorism. Very little coverage of Charlottesville did.

    Source: The Washington Post. The recent attacks in Charlottesville and Barcelona both involved perpetrators with ties to extremist ideologies using vehicles to kill and injure civilians. Because of these similarities, a debate quickly began about how politicians and news outlets discussed these two events — including whether it was appropriate to call both acts of terrorism. Our research on these attacks — as well as the Orlando shootings by Omar Mateen and the Charleston church shootings by Dylan Roof — shows that news coverage framed these shootings very differently. Only the attacks perpetrated by Muslims were routinely called terrorism.