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Chicago Muslims Anxious, Resilient As Civil Rights Abuses Rise

By Stephen Gossett in News on Nov 17, 2016 6:37PM

CAIR-Chicago / Facebook

With incidents of hate crimes against Muslims are on a stark rise across the country, and officials close to President-elect Donald Trump's transition team (however tire fire-esque) hoping to actualize Trump’s proposed Muslim immigration registry, Chicago’s most prominent Muslim civil-rights organization is pushing back, even as it and its constituents face backlashes of hate.

“We’ve seen an uptick in (civil rights-abuse) cases coming in,” Hoda Katebi, communications coordinator of the Chicago chapter of the Council On American Islamic Relations, told Chicagoist.”Since the election cycle, we’ve see an average of 12 to 20 new cases per week. It’s definitely an increase as (the cycle) moved on.”

CAIR-Chicago has been target of attacks themselves since the election.

“Our social media has been filled with foreboding threats. The morning after the election we were inundated with voicemails from Trump supporters,” Katebi said. “But the intimidation tactics aren’t working on us. We have value and power in our community and in the work we do.”

Katebi was quick to add that, while the reported plans of a Muslim immigration registration are deeply concerning, she argued that “it would be incorrect to say that there’s no precedent” for such abuses.

“The no-fly list, surveillance of our homes and mosques, Countering Violent Extremism programs, we see a lot of quasi-Muslim databases already. On top of that, during the Bush era, there was a special registration service," she said. "That was in many senses a Muslim registry.”

Anti-Muslim hate crimes have spiked 67 percent nationwide, rising from 154 in 2014 to 257 in 2015, according to a Hate Crime Statistics report issued by the FBI on Monday.

“That is the highest number since 2001, when the Al Qaeda attacks on New York and elsewhere drove the number to its highest ever level, 481 hate crimes,” wrote Mark Potok, Senior Fellow of Southern Poverty Law Center.

The true number however is likely even greater.

“For a variety of technical reasons, including the failure of many people to report hate crimes to police, the real number of hate crimes is far larger than is indicated by the FBI statistics,” Potok added.