Hate crimes in the US in­creased in 2016

Hindustan Times (Delhi) - - HTINSIGHT - Yash­want Raj yash­want.raj@hin­dus­tan­times.com

WASH­ING­TON: The FBI has re­ported an in­crease in hate crimes in the US for a sec­ond con­sec­u­tive year, with Hin­dus and Sikhs among those tar­geted in the more than 6,000 in­ci­dents of crimes mo­ti­vated by bi­ases to­wards re­li­gions, race, eth­nic­ity and sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion.

There were 10 in­ci­dents of hate-crimes against Hin­dus and seven against Sikhs in 2016 — the year of the rise of Don­ald Trump as a politi­cian.

The max­i­mum num­ber of hate crimes were re­lated to race or eth­nic­ity in 2016— 3,483 — with more than half against African Amer­i­cans. Re­li­gion-re­lated hate crimes came sec­ond, with Jews and Mus­lims tar­geted the most.

Hate crimes against Mus­lims saw a steep rise, in­creas­ing to 307 in­ci­dents in 2016 from 257 in 2015 and 154 in 2014.

The South­ern Poverty Law Cen­tre (SPLC), an or­gan­i­sa­tion that tracks hate-crime and dis­crim­i­na­tion, said the rise in hate crimes “co­in­cides with Trump’s racist, xeno­pho­bic cam­paign and its im­me­di­ate af­ter­math”.

The FBI and the jus­tice depart­ment did not make that con­nec- tion. “The depart­ment of jus­tice is com­mit­ted to en­sur­ing that in­di­vid­u­als can live with­out fear of be­ing a vic­tim of vi­o­lent crime based on who they are, what they be­lieve, or how they wor­ship,” at­tor­ney gen­eral Jeff Ses­sions said in a state­ment.

The SPLC con­tends that the ac­tual num­ber of hate crimes may be much higher. In a re­port, they said that the “ac­tual num­ber of hate crimes may be as high as 250,000 – more than 40 times the 6,121 in­ci­dents that the FBI re­ports for 2016. But the FBI fig­ures do serve as a rough barom­e­ter for what’s oc­cur­ring in our coun­try”.

The num­ber of hate crimes against Hin­dus, whose num­bers are es­ti­mated to be around of 2.1 mil­lion, were not listed sep­a­rately in the 2014 FBI re­port, but have fig­ured in­de­pen­dently in the next two an­nual re­ports —with five in 2015 and 10 in 2016.

The num­ber for hate crimes against Sikhs, whose pop­u­la­tion is es­ti­mated to be 500,000, went up from six in 2015 to seven in 2016. The com­mu­nity has been a vic­tim of hate crimes as they are usu­ally mis­taken as Arabs due to their tur­bans. The tar­get­ing of Hin­dus is also usu­ally due to their be­ing mis­taken as Arabs.

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