Anti-Muslim Profiling At American Airports On The Rise

| by Sheena Vasani
Activists fighting IslamophobiaActivists fighting Islamophobia

Anti-Muslim profiling at American airports is on the rise since the 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino.

Think Progress reports more people are complaining of experiencing discrimination at airports.

Meanwhile, the Council on America-Islamic Relations explains in a November 2015 press release political candidates and other lawmakers are also contributing to the increase.

“Of particular concern is the extreme anti-Muslim rhetoric and falsehoods being espoused by leading Republican presidential candidates,” the organization writes. “[Lawmakers are also playing] on public fears and spreading misinformation about the federal government's ability to screen Syrian refugees being resettled into the United States.”

In December 2015, Sikh American activist Valarie Kaur was forced to show her breast pump to Delta Airlines passengers.

“All the passengers in first class watched and I smiled weakly to show them I wasn't a terrorist,” Kaur wrote in a Facebook post while on the flight.

“I’m sitting on the flight now, shaken,” she added. “I’m thinking of the countless subtle acts of profiling of Muslim Sikh and brown bodies in the last 14 years. The double-pain: I was reading tweets on my phone about the #‎SanBernardinoshooting while in line, but my grieving was interrupted by a passenger seeing me as suspect.”

Meanwhile, four men - three of whom are Muslim and the other, a Sikh who dons a turban - are suing American Airlines for forcing them off a plane in December.

“[The airline representative] said the stewardess and the captain felt uneasy with us being on the flight,” one of the men said.

A month earlier in November 2015, two Palestinian-Americans were unable to board a Southwest Airlines flight to Philadelphia. This was because a woman complained she felt uncomfortable they were speaking in Arabic.

While many of the airline personnel apologized to the passengers after the incidents, Islamophobic sentiment continues to rise elsewhere.

“CAIR notes that it has received more reports about acts of Islamophobic discrimination, intimidation, threats, and violence targeting American Muslims (or those perceived to be Muslim) and Islamic institutions in the past week-and-a-half than during any other limited period of time since the 9/11 terror attacks,” the Council on American-Islamic Relations writes.

Sources: Think Progress, Council on American-Islamic RelationsValarie Kaur's Facebook / Photo credit: Jews Against Islamophobia via Islamophobia Today

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