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Most US Muslims experienced religious discrimination in 2016: Poll

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Protesters chant during a rally against US President Donald Trump's travel ban at San Diego International Airport on Monday, March 6, 2017 in San Diego, California. (AFP photo)

The majority of Muslim Americans experienced religious discrimination during 2016, and many said they feared for their own or their family’s safety from hate groups following the election US President Donald Trump, a new poll has revealed.

One-fifth of American Muslims say they had made plans to leave the US if it became necessary, according to the poll released Tuesday by the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding think tank.

The poll, which surveyed 800 Muslims from January 4 to 23, compared their responses with those of people of other faiths and the US population in general.

Some 60 percent of Muslims reported personally experiencing religious discrimination in the past year, compared with 17 percent of the general US population, the poll found.

Over a third said they feared for their own or their family’s safety and 42 percent also said their children had experienced bullying at school in the previous year.

Trump’s hateful comments and actions directed at Muslims has perpetuated that fear, said Zainab Chaudry, a spokeswoman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

“We saw that taper off after the first couple weeks after the election but the concern, the anxiety and fear, is still very real,” Chaudry said at a panel announcing the report.

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Trump’s controversial executive order banning travelers from several Muslim-majority countries and appointing advisers who hold anti-Islamic views has further spread Islamophobia across the US and increased hate crimes against Muslims.

“There’s been more than 15 years of propaganda, miseducation campaigns, to convince the American public that Islam is inherently evil and violent and that Muslims should be associated with terrorism and fear in their communities,” Charles Haynes, founding director of the Newseum Institute’s Religious Freedom Center, said Tuesday.

“Even in the corridors of power now, this narrative, this propaganda which used to be on the fringe has moved into the center, and it’s now mainstream,” Haynes added.

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