Hate crimes against Mus­lims up by 67 per­cent in 2015: FBI

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

Re­ported hate crimes against Mus­lims rose in 2015 to their high­est num­ber since the af­ter­math of the Sept 11, 2001, ter­ror­ist at­tacks, according to FBI sta­tis­tics re­leased Mon­day. Over­all, the to­tal num­ber of hate crimes against all groups re­ported by law en­force­ment agencies to the FBI in­creased from 5,479 in 2014 to 5,850 last year. That re­mains far lower than the num­bers seen in the early 2000s, but the FBI re­lease comes amid nu­mer­ous re­ports of at­tacks na­tion­wide based on race and re­li­gion fol­low­ing last week’s pres­i­den­tial elec­tion.

The most re­cent re­port­ing cov­ers cal­en­dar year 2015, which in­cluded the ter­ror at­tacks in Paris and San Bernardino, Cal­i­for­nia, as well as Repub­li­can Don­ald Trump’s call for a ban on all Mus­lims en­ter­ing the US. All of those, how­ever, did not oc­cur un­til the fi­nal two months of the year. It’s not yet known whether Trump plans to im­ple­ment such a ban now that he has won the pres­i­dency. Crit­ics say his pledge has contributed to anti-Mus­lim sen­ti­ment.

“We’ve seen how words from pub­lic fig­ures like Don­ald Trump trans­late into vi­o­lence,” said Mark Po­tok with the South­ern Poverty Law Cen­ter, which tracks hate groups in the US. Last year, there were 257 re­ported in­ci­dents of an­tiMus­lim bias com­pared to 154 the year be­fore, a 67 per­cent in­crease. The num­ber of re­ported hate crimes against Mus­lims peaked at 481 in 2001. Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Coun­cil on Amer­i­canIs­lamic Re­la­tions, said he was not sur­prised to see the large in­crease in 2015 and said he ex­pects the trend to con­tinue.

“We saw a spike in anti-Mus­lim in­ci­dents na­tion­wide be­gin­ning to­ward the end of 2015. That spike has con­tin­ued un­til to­day and even ac­cel­er­ated af­ter the elec­tion of Pres­i­dent-elect Trump,” Hooper said. There have been re­ports of racist and anti-re­li­gious in­ci­dents around the coun­try since the Nov 8 elec­tion. Two stu­dents at a vo­ca­tional school in York County, Penn­syl­va­nia, held a Don­ald Trump sign in a hall­way as some­one shouted “white power,” an in­ci­dent cap­tured on video and widely shared on Facebook.

In Sil­ver Spring, Mary­land, a ban­ner ad­ver­tis­ing a Span­ish-lan­guage ser­vice at an Epis­co­pal church was slashed and the words “Trump na­tion. Whites only” were writ­ten on the back. Au­thor­i­ties on two Cal­i­for­nia State Univer­sity cam­puses, in San Diego and San Jose, were in­ves­ti­gat­ing re­ports that two women wear­ing head­scarves were at­tacked. At San Diego State Univer­sity, au­thor­i­ties said a Mus­lim woman had her car keys and ve­hi­cle stolen by two men who tar­geted her while she wore a hi­jab and made com­ments about Don­ald Trump’s elec­tion.

At the same time, a video­taped as­sault in Chicago showed black men beat­ing a white man as on­look­ers screamed, “You voted Trump!” On Sun­day, Trump said he had not heard re­ports that some of his sup­port­ers might be ha­rass­ing mi­nori­ties. “I am so sad­dened to hear that,” Trump said dur­ing an in­ter­view with CBS’s “60 Min­utes.” “And I say, stop it. If it, if it helps, I will say this and I will say right to the cam­eras: Stop it.” According to the FBI re­port, the ma­jor­ity of hate crimes were mo­ti­vated by bias against race or eth­nic­ity.

Of the 4,216 vic­tims of a hate crime mo­ti­vated by race or eth­nic­ity, 52 per­cent were black, 18.7 per­cent were white and 9.3 per­cent were His­panic or Latino. Crimes against Jews in­creased about 9 per­cent, while bias in­ci­dents in­volv­ing sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion were up 3.5 per­cent. Civil rights groups have ex­pressed con­cern that a Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion could rad­i­cally re­shape the US Depart­ment of Jus­tice, par­tic­u­larly when it comes to polic­ing but also in terms of the pri­or­ity placed on hate crimes.

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