Religious Discrimination in Workplace Doubled in Past 14 Years

US Muslims File Most Complaints - Fallout From 9/11 Terrorist Attacks?

Statistics from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) indicate that religious discrimination complaints in the workplace have doubled in the past decade.

In 1997, religious discrimination receipts sat at 1,709, and by 2010, they had soared to 3,790. In 2010, settlements reached $10 million.

According to the EEOC website, the steep increase in the past decade is due in large part to discriminatory acts against Muslims, Arabs, South Asians, and Sikhs.

"Anger at those responsible for the tragic events of September 11 should not be misdirected against innocent individuals because of their religion, ethnicity, or country of origin," states the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's (EEOC) website.

The Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers in New York City have unleashed a torrent of questions regarding religious and ethnic discrimination. The discrimination has affected other areas besides the workplace. The Transportation Security Administration, for example, has received much scrutiny for "racial profiling," allegedly targeting those of certain religions or ethnicity for search and seizure.

Four years after the attacks, Arsalan Iftikhar, national legal director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, told USA Today:

"A lot of cases continue to go on. People have been called Osama bin Laden, told they are going to mosque to learn how to build a bomb."

Islam received more public backfire when the Park51 organization announced in 2010 its intent to build a community center that would include a mosque blocks from Ground Zero.

The EEOC filed several lawsuits on behalf of Muslim employees. In 2010, the EEOC sued the meatpacking company JBS Swift for aggressively discriminating against 160 Somali immigrants, according to The New York Times.

Similarly, in Sept. 2010, the commission sued clothing retailer Abercrombie & Fitch for refusing to hire an 18-year-old Muslim because she was wearing a headscarf.

In an early 2011 poll conducted by the Gallup Center, 43 percent of Americans admitted to feeling "a little" prejudiced toward Muslims, a result drastically higher than prejudice towards Christians, which was at 18 percent. Prejudice towards Jews was at 15 percent and at 14 percent toward Buddhists.

"One can easily conclude that since the general situation is so unfavorable when it comes to Muslims that this negative idea is carried into the workplace," professor Shams Inati from the Center for Arab and Islamic Studies at Villanova University told MSNBC in 2010.