By Amitabh Pal on December 06, 2013

A new study shows that bias against Muslim Americans is having an impact on their job prospects -- especially in red states.

An analysis conducted by Carnegie Mellon researchers discovered that applicants who self-identified as Muslim on their social media profiles were called back at a lower rate nationwide by prospective employers than Christians with the exact same names and qualifications. And it's worse in conservative states.

"In more Republican-leaning states, only 2 percent of applications by the Muslim candidate received interview invitations compared to 17 percent for the Christian candidate," the study finds.

The report confirms the reality of day-to-day life for Muslim Americans in the post-9/11 era.

"In the years following September 11th, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) reported a staggering 250 percent rise in the number of religion-based discrimination complaints filed," the Center for American Progress states. "And while Muslims make up 2 percent of the U.S. population, they accounted for one quarter of the religious discrimination complaints filed in 2011."

The findings of the study are not surprising, given the barrage of media reports that tie Muslim Americans to terror plots, creating a false impression that Muslim Americans are prone to violence and anti-Americanism.

"Since 9/11, Muslim-American terrorism has claimed thirty-three lives in the United States, out of more than 180,000 murders committed in the United States during this period," stated a report from February of this year (PDF) by the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security. "Over the same period, more than 200 Americans have been killed in political violence by white supremacists and other groups on the far right, according to a recent study published by the Combating Terrorism Center at the U.S. Military Academy."

And yet many non-Muslim Americans hold bigoted views about their fellow Muslim countrymen.

A USA Today/Gallup poll in 2011 found that almost three in ten Americans think Muslim Americans to be indulgent toward Al Qaeda. In a Gallup survey from the same year, one-third of Protestants and Catholics deemed American Muslims to be sympathetic to the terrorist organization.

Such prejudice has real-life consequences. Several individuals in the United States have been murdered since the Sept. 11 attacks because of anti-Muslim and anti-Arab hatred. Dozens of mosques have been vandalized, defaced or torched, while dozens of other proposed Muslim religious sites have faced strong community opposition.

Much of the anti-Islam feeling has been created by conservative lawmakers and rightwing media such as Fox News.

GOP lawmakers have spearheaded anti-Shariah law campaigns in several states, making an issue of a nonexistent problem. House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Peter King has held a series of hearings singling out Muslim Americans. And to take just one outrageous example of religious profiling, Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and four other Republican lawmakers last year groundlessly accused Huma Abedin, a close Hillary Clinton aide, of having ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and asked the State Department to investigate her.

Such nastiness doesn't just poison the political atmosphere. It also affects the employment and livelihoods of ordinary Muslim Americans.

This is discrimination, plain and simple, and it's got to stop.

Photo: Flickr user herman yahaya, creative commons licensed.

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By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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