Many Muslims feel so discriminated against they’re making plans to leave the US, poll says

The past year was a rough one for American Muslims, who’ve shared one story after another of hearing slurs at the grocery store, watching their mosques burn, and learning taekwondo to fend off attackers.
Such experiences, dismissed by anti-Muslim pundits as exaggerated, are backed up by poll results released Tuesday that show a community that’s effectively felt under siege since the rise and election of President Donald Trump.
The majority of American Muslims — 60%— reported some level of religious discrimination in the past year. Muslim kids were twice as likely to report school bullying than Jewish students, and four times likelier than the general population. And some Muslims, who felt higher levels of anxiety than any other demographic about the election results, are so fearful that a fifth of them are making plans to leave the country “if it becomes necessary.”
The Institute for Social Policy and Understanding, the nonprofit Muslim-focused think tank that conducted the national survey, “American Muslims at the Crossroads,” called the poll the most thorough temperature-taking of American Muslims since the election.
The poll was conducted between Jan. 4 and Jan. 23, around inauguration time and just before Trump signed the first of his controversial executive orders restricting travel from several Muslim-majority nations. The findings are based on 1,249 completed surveys with a margin of error of +/-2.8%.
The results were announced Tuesday at the Newseum in Washington, where panelists discussed the broader question behind the findings: Just how bad can it get for Muslims under the Trump administration?
“With the experience of Trump over the last two months, it’s likely things will get worse,” said panelist Walter Ruby, who directs Muslim-Jewish relations programs at the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding.
That ominous tone was echoed by another speaker, Zainab Chaudry, a spokeswoman and Maryland liaison for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the nation’s largest Muslim advocacy group.
“For many American Muslims, we live one terrorist attack away from feeling that our communities are going to be thrown under the bus,” Chaudry said.
Dalia Mogahed, the center’s research director and a former Obama administration appointee on faith-based partnerships, told the Newseum audience that Muslims view bigotry as second only to the economy when listing their biggest national concerns.
They’re personally afraid of attacks from white supremacists, Mogahed said, and 11% “signed up for self-defense classes as a direct result of the election.”
The Trump administration didn’t waste time in turning the anti-Muslim rhetoric of the campaign trail into policy. The White House introduced now-stalled travel bans targeting several majority Muslim nations, hired senior aides with long records of disparaging Islam, and is making political space for anti-Muslim factions that have shot from the radical fringe to the mainstream in just months.

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