PITTSBURGH -- A US Muslim civil rights group received its largest number of complaints last year that Muslims were being harassed at work, in school, and in their communities, a new report found.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations said it received 1,019 claims of physical and verbal attacks on Muslims, of on-the-job discrimination, and of racial profiling by law enforcement.
In 2002, the organization received 602 such complaints.
The report cautioned that the jump partly reflected an increase in the number of regional offices opened by the Washington-based advocacy group, which allowed more cases to be documented.
The council blamed continued fear among Americans following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and rhetoric that demeaned Islam and depicted Muslims as enemies of the United States during the war on Iraq.
It also blamed misapplication of the USA Patriot Act, the antiterrorism bill that the Bush administration has defended as critical to national security.
The civil-liberties restrictions in the bill disproportionately hurt Muslims, the council said.
The full report will be presented at a news conference today at the National Press Club in Washington.
California saw the largest number of complaints, with 221, followed by New York, 191; Virginia, 69; and Texas, 57.
Reports of beatings and vandalism on Muslim-owned property more than roughly doubled to 93 last year. In Virginia, a Muslim woman who was wearing a veil was stabbed after being called a ''terrorist."
While American Muslims continued to complain of harassment in airports, these claims dropped by about half, to 41. The decrease probably reflected a partial easing of the intense scrutiny of Muslims immediately after Sept. 11, 2001, the report said.
School complaints increased, from 42 to 71, including several reports of anti-Muslim literature being distributed on campuses.
The organization wants Congress to hold hearings on post-Sept. 11 civil rights abuses. It also seeks to enact laws that would protect Muslims and others from harassment by police and employers.