CAIRO - Amid rising sentiments against the sizable minority, American Muslims are being urged to reach out to their neighbors to help combat discrimination and hostility.
I think the message tonight for me is that Muslim communities need to continue to organize, Haris Tarin, director of the Washington D.C. office of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, told The Buffalo News on Sunday, January 27.
They need to ensure that their voices are heard. They need to ensure they're part of the civic process, the political process.
Attending a forum as a guest speaker about challenges facing US Muslims, Tarin said hostility against Muslims have been on the rise in recent years.
He cited an increase in hate attacks against Muslims as well as employment and housing discrimination against the minority.
Unfortunately, in the past four years there has been a rise of discrimination, Tarin said.
But at the same time, the communities themselves have been organizing - they have been mobilizing, they have been engaging in the process.
US Muslims, estimated at between seven to eight million, have been sensing hostility in recent months.
A recent report by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the University of California and Berkeley's Center for Race and Gender found that Islamophobia in the US is on the rise.
A US survey had also revealed that the majority of Americans know very little about Muslims and their faith.
A recent Gallup poll had found that 43 percent of Americans Nationwide admitted to feeling at least a little prejudice against Muslims.
Aisha Rahman, executive director of KARAMAH, an organization of Muslim women lawyers for human rights, called for raising awareness about Islam.
She said that the incorrect interpretation of Islam in the courtroom has tainted the image of the religion in the public eye.
Republican lawmakers have championed several bills to ban the use of Islamic Shari`ah in court.
Several Republican candidates have also described Shari`ah as a mortal threat to the United States.
A recent US survey had revealed that the majority of Americans know very little about Muslims and their faith.
A Gallup poll had also found that the majority of US Muslims are patriot and loyal to their country and are optimistic about their future.
At the forum, Rahman, a lawyer who specializes in domestic violence cases, talked about Muslim women involved in recent domestic violence cases
Women's issues are no longer women's issues, she said.They are affecting the health and sanctity of our families and our communities as a whole.