CAIR-NJ 2023 Annual Civil Rights Report Shows 46 Percent Increase in Cases
(SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ, 5/22/2023) – The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today published its annual civil rights report, Beyond the Courts, showing a 46 percent increase in the number of discrimination cases.
The number of cases reported to CAIR jumped from 104 in 2021 to 152 in 2022.
SEE: Beyond the Courts
The largest category of complaints is employment and workplace discrimination, which includes hostile work environments, explicit bias, and employer retaliation. School-related complaints are a top second and include curricula with anti-Muslim undertones, teacher biases, student bullying, and lack of religious accommodations for Muslim students. Unlike previous years, the report’s findings also note an increase in Hindutva-related incidents.
FBI and law enforcement surveillance complaints sharply decreased, consistent with CAIR National’s 2023 Civil Rights Report findings. The sharp increase in school-related incidents, from just nine in 2021 to 27 in 2023, is also consistent with CAIR National’s findings.
SEE: Progress in the Shadow of Prejudice
In a statement, CAIR-NJ Executive Director Selaedin Maksut said:
“While we’ve seen a 46 percent increase in the number of cases we’ve fielded over the last year, it’s also important to note that we’ve drastically increased our chapter’s capacity.
“So, while it is a possibility that anti-Muslim bigotry is on the rise, what is more likely is that we are slowly reaching the demand of the New Jersey Muslim community.”
In a statement, CAIR-NJ Operations Coordinator and the report’s principal author Dyaa Terpstra said:
“The face of anti-Muslim bigotry is evolving. In the years immediately after 9/11, civil rights groups saw cases of outright bigotry where Muslims were called racial slurs or explicitly told to ‘go back where they came from’ in the workplace, classroom, and in public.
“More than 20 years later we still see such cases, but on a smaller scale. What is more common now is implicit bias, which is why we are taking on a more proactive approach to empowering American Muslims as opposed to reactive.
“We’re spending less time in the courts and more time writing op-eds, putting on community programming, and engaging government officials at the municipal and state level.”
In a statement, CAIR-NJ Communications Manager Dina Sayedahmed said:
“There is an African proverb that says, ‘Until the lion tells the story, the hunter will always be the hero.’
“Over the years, as modern narratives of American Muslims took on an inaccurate and even anti-Muslim approach, it has become increasingly important and even necessary that Muslims be the primary authors and documenters of their own stories and histories. The primary mission of our work here at CAIR-NJ is to do just that: to record and tell the Muslim story in New Jersey with the nuance that such a diverse and layered community demands.”
Moving into 2023, CAIR-NJ continues to take on a proactive approach to civil rights advocacy, becoming a leading and credible Muslim voice in media, engaging lawmakers and elected officials at all levels of New Jersey governance, and building socially and politically conscious communities. Some of the campaigns that CAIR-NJ is focusing on are religious accommodations in public schools, Eid advocacy, and sensitivity trainings for schools and companies.
CAIR’s mission is to protect civil rights, enhance understanding of Islam, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.
CONTACT: CAIR-NJ Communications Manager Dina Sayedahmed, 551-221-5592, email@example.com