Islamophobic incidents involving US Customs and Border Protection officials have risen by about 1,000 per cent since President Donald Trump took office in January, a Muslim activist group said.
According to the Council on American-Islamic Relations on Tuesday, preliminary data collected from its branches across the US found that instances in which officials were accused of profiling Muslims accounted 23 per cent in 2017.
Of the 193 Customs and Border Protection (CBP) cases in 2017, at least 181 were reported after the January 27 Muslim travel ban. In the first three months of 2016, the group reported 17 cases, The Independent said.
"These are incidents which are reported to us and which we examine," Corey Saylor, director of CAIR's group that monitors Islamophobia, told The Independent.
"We look at these very carefully. Around 50 per cent, we reject."
Saylor said allegations of Islamophobia being levelled at border officials was nothing new.
He believed that Trump's election and the executive order was behind the spike in incidents. "I have no doubt in my mind that these things are connected."
In the aftermath of the travel ban, which have been halted by the courts, there were widespread reports of chaos at US airports, and people being turned away as they sought to board flights to the US at foreign airports.
Trump vowed during his election campaign that he would make it more difficult for people from certain countries to reach the US as party of tighter security, despite immigrants from countries such as Syria and Somalia already having to endure screening that can take several years.
Saylor said he appreciated the difficult job being faced by border officials, but asked that they did it without breaching the US constitution.
He cited testimony of a Customs and Border Protection official from a 2013 lawsuit, who said: "Look to the Muslim woman as an indicating factor. By the way she wears her hijab. If the hijab is a solid colour it indicates religiosity. If it's a patterned scarf, with colours, it's more likely that she is less religious."
(With IANS inputs)