(FinalCall.com) – Over the summer, Cook County Correctional Officer Abraham Yasin won $200,000 in damages for harassment found to be pervasive or severe enough to create a hostile and abusive work environment.
The harassment started in 2004 when Cook County, Ill., officers continuously and anonymously targeted Mr. Yasin with racist slurs such as “terrorist,””Hussein,” “sand ni**er,” “bin Laden,” “shoe bomber,” and “camel jockey” verbally and via graffiti on his locker.
Mr. Yasin testified that his co-workers made calls over the radio and telephone about his ancestry and national origin as many as 10 times a day and countless times for over a year.
Such blatant discrimination is what more and more Muslims are experiencing around the country, according to a new report based on a recent national survey by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life.
Eight years after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, Americans believe Muslims face more discrimination inside the U.S. than other major religious groups. Nearly six-in-ten adults say Muslims are subject to a lot of discrimination, far more than say the same about Jews, evangelical Christians, atheists or Mormons.
In fact, of all the groups asked about, only gays and lesbians are seen as facing more discrimination than Muslims.
In the Chicago case, Officer Yasin said, “After having agonized for so long, I can finally feel a sense of relief and vindication. I served my country in uniform with dignity and honor and felt betrayed that my service would be met by some of my fellows with racial slurs, harassment, and ridicule. This is not what our country is about.”
Muslims are feeling the pain of discrimination in almost every level of life in America. In Oregon, Pennsylvania and Nebraska teachers are not allowed to wear religious clothing in the classroom. In July, the Judicial Council of Georgia issued a new policy that, “Head coverings are prohibited from the courtroom except in cases where the covering is worn for medical or religious reasons. To the extent security requires a search of a person wearing a head covering for medical or religious reasons; the individual has the option of having the inspection performed by a same-sex officer in a private area. The individual is allowed to put his or her own head covering back on after the inspection is complete.”
This change came after several Muslim women were arrested and charged with contempt of court for wearing an hijab, head covering, in the courtroom.
“We applaud the decision of the Judicial Council of Georgia to uphold freedom of religion and unencumbered access to the legal system for Georgians of all faiths,” said Council of American-Islamic Relations national communications director Ibrahim Hooper.
“This decision once again demonstrates that America is a diverse and inclusive nation,” he said.
“Hostility has been fostered since Sept. 11 against Muslims. Presidential candidate Barack Obama was called a Muslim, which he had to constantly deny because White America has given the word a negative connotation; it’s become a bad thing. The country has gone from talking about Islamic extremism to calling someone a Muslim as a slur, an ugly name,” said Attorney Abdul Arif Muhammad.
“We should be thankful for the president who fights against these religious stereotypes and embraces all religions. He gives respect to all faith traditions and even hosted an Iftar (breaking of fast) during the holy month of Ramadan,” the Muslim attorney noted.
Results from the Pew national survey, conducted in August among 2,010 adults, also revealed that two-thirds of non-Muslims say Islam and their own faith are either very different or somewhat different, while just 17 percent take the view that Islam and their own religion are somewhat or very similar.
Majorities also see Mormonism, Buddhism and Hinduism as mostly different from their own beliefs.
Other findings include:
– High levels of perceived similarity with religious groups are associated with more favorable views of those groups. Those who see their own faith as similar to Catholicism, Judaism, Mormonism and Islam are significantly more likely than others to have favorable views of members of these groups.
– Almost half of Americans (45 percent) say they personally know someone who is Muslim.
– Those most familiar with Muslims and knowledgeable about Islam are least likely to see Islam as encouraging violence, most likely to express favorable views of Muslims and most inclined to see similarities between Islam and their own religion.
Neo-con extremists push internment for American Muslims (FCN, 02-18-2005)