January 17, 2017
The 8th Floor
17 W 17th Street
New York, New York 10011
The Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation
The Tate Group
Curated by Brian Tate
Executive Director, Council on American-Islamic Relations NY
policy analyst/community organizer/Co-founder, Muslim Writer's Collective
OPENING REMARKS Omar Jadwat
Director, ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project
ABOUT THE CONVERSATION
America has entered an era of sweeping political and cultural change. In ways we can anticipate or barely conceive - what will be different?
The question has urgent meaning for Muslim Americans. While many Americans believe Muslims, like people of other faiths, make immeasurable contributions to this country, numerous Americans blame Islam for terror attacks here and abroad.
The accusation has consequences. FBI statistics show that hate crimes against Muslim Americans spiked 67% in 2015, their highest levels since the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks. The trend seems unabated since the U.S. presidential election, with the Southern Poverty Law Center investigating 1,094 bias incidents against Jews, immigrants, blacks, Muslims, and other minorities in recent weeks.
The bias against Muslims reflects a stubborn belief held by some that Islam is at war with the West. A March 2015 survey found that younger Americans are the most likely to have positive views on Islam and have Muslim friends. But responding to another poll later that year, one in three likely U.S. voters said the government should monitor most Muslims as potential terrorists.
Although the latter sentiment was amplified and branded during the 2016 presidential campaign, it started well before that contest. It is also building momentum: in today's political and media environment, such opinions could soon drive legislation.
What will be different for Muslim Americans as policy changes loom and the culture around us shifts? What will change for voters who see their neighbors as potential or actual security threats? And what will be different for those citizens who believe civil rights and religious freedom for all Americans are essential to America itself?