A new report suggests a staggering increase in religious profiling of Muslims who tried to enter the United States in the first three months of this year — an uptick of 1,035 percent over the same period in 2016.
According to numbers released by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) on Tuesday, the organization has documented 193 people being subject to religious questioning at airports and border crossings from January to March. Last year during that span, it documented 17 cases, hence the 1,035-percent increase. Of the 193 cases identified in 2017, 181 occurred after January 27, when Trump signed the first of two executive orders that attempted to ban travel from Muslim-majority countries.
The organization arrives at its numbers — which CAIR officials stressed were preliminary and subject to change — through individuals who believe they have been profiled. Those individuals contact CAIR’s intake staff, which is spread throughout the country. Of course, it is impossible to know how many cases of profiling were simply not being reported to CAIR in other years, and if the emergence of Trump and his Islamophobic rhetoric has inspired victims to step forward more often. The organization is only able to examine the cases that come its way.
“When our staff determine that the details of the case support listing it as containing an element of religious bias, then they include it in their data report to us,” Corey Saylor, director of CAIR’s Department to Monitor and Combat Islamophobia, told The Outline.
Among the questions that CAIR has documented Customs and Border Protection agents asking during these incidents are, “‘Are you a devout Muslim?;’ ‘Do you pray five times a day?;’ ‘Why do you have a prayer mat and Quran in your luggage?;’ ‘Do any individuals in your mosque have any extreme/radical views?;’ Does your Imam express extremist views?;’ What did you discuss with your community?;’ and ‘What are the names and telephone numbers of parents, relatives, and/or friends?’”