Muslims of Color Face Worse Treatment by Police in US, Report Says


16:18 – August 25, 2022

News ID: 3480219

TEHRAN (IQNA) – The relationship between police and communities of color in the United States has come under scrutiny in recent years amid a string of high-profile police killings of Black people.

Muslims of Color Face Worse Treatment by Police in US, Report Says

But until this summer, there had been far less focus on how police treat people of color within religious communities — especially Muslims — in a post-9/11 world.

Muslims are more likely than any other faith group to say they have been harassed by police based on their religion, according to a new Rice University study. Researchers also found Muslims of color face worse treatment by police.

Muslims who are Black or of Middle Eastern or Northern African descent reported religion-based police harassment far more frequently than white Muslims.

Previous studies have shown that Black communities experience disproportionate policing compared with other communities. These new findings show how being Muslim may bring additional scrutiny by law enforcement within communities of color.

Thirty-nine percent of Middle Eastern or Northern African Muslim adults and 23 percent of Black Muslim adults reported religion-based police harassment whereas just one percent of Muslim adults who identify as white said they’d been harassed, according to the survey of more than 4,000 US adults, including Muslims, Christians, Jews, atheists and followers of other religions.

“We see profound overlaps between religion and racial identities and we know that from these findings, that this relationship can can also shape the relationship that these individuals have with institutions like law enforcement,” said the report’s author, Jauhara Ferguson, a graduate student studying sociology at Rice.

Her research also found that Black and Middle Eastern or Northern African respondents of all religious backgrounds were more likely to report police harassment based on religion, regardless of their beliefs.

The report’s findings were not surprising to Imam Jihad Muhammad of the 5th Ward Islamic Center, which serves many Black Muslims in Houston.

“People of color have historically experienced a really troubling history with law enforcement,” said Muhammad. He said being Muslim, especially when that includes wearing religious garments, adds another layer to it.

“It’s easy to understand drawing more negative attention from ignorant people, or prejudiced or biased people, especially after 9/11,” he said.

Muhammad said some Muslims are careful not to draw attention to themselves out of fear.

“We may alter the way we dress or blend in more, maybe not pray publicly,” Muhammad said.

But police aren’t the only threat or even the primary threat, he said. The growth of white supremacist groups is a major concern. They pose a threat that Muhammad said police will need to address, which is a good reason for improving the relationship between law enforcement and the Muslim community — a relationship he believes is on the mend.

“We have had situations where we’ve had police parked outside the mosque, not to intimidate, but to help increase security,” he said, “I think that both leaders and law enforcement, they have a job to do and they realize that they can’t do it without the cooperation of the Muslim community.”



Leave a Reply