The Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society at the University of California, Berkeley launched the United States of Islamophobia Database yesterday (April 25). The searchable digital index catalogues Islamophobic bills and the lawmakers who introduce them.
The Haas Institute said in a statement that the database builds on “Legalizing Othering: The United States of Islamophobia,” a report that it published in September 2017. The database allows users to find information on “216 bills introduced in 43 state legislatures since 2010” that contain Islamophobic policy. That information includes which legislators sponsored each bill, as well as which advocacy groups promoted them. Many of the bills received support from anti-Muslim and xenophobic organizations like the American Public Policy Alliance, which frames its work as trying to protect citizens from the alleged threat of Sharia law.
“The scrutiny of U.S. state legislation intentionally targeting Muslims—whether introduced, failed or enacted—is vitally important to understanding a new wave of Islamophobia sweeping the country,” lead researcher and “Legalizing Othering” co-author Elsadig Elsheikh said in the release. “Our research finds that this effort is well-financed and highly organized.”