LA County has reportedly seen a spike in anti-Muslim hate crimes since November 2015. An analysis of hate crimes in the county revealed a growth in attacks targeting Muslims and people of Arab descent.
The L.A. County Commission on Human Relations found that while there was 1 recorded anti-Muslim hate crime from November-December 2014, there were 11 similar crimes during the same time frame in 2015, reports SCPR.
The majority of the hate crimes reportedly took place after the tragic Dec. 2 shooting in San Bernardino, in which two Muslim, ISIS-inspired terrorists attacked civilians.
“Based on our experience, we’ve found that external events, or events that are getting a lot of coverage in the news, that are inflaming emotions…sometimes contribute to the number of hate crimes,” said Robin Toma, executive director of the LACHR.
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“We saw that clearly after September 11.”
The recorded hate crimes include a man being punched and kicked after telling his attacker that he was from Saudi Arabia, and a Hawthorne Muslim school that was threatened with a mass shooting.
Toma said that inflammatory anti-Muslim rhetoric in the presidential race may be influencing the rise in hate crimes.
“That definitely tends to change the atmosphere, and it sends a signal to some of those people that might be [thinking] that this is a group that is okay to target."
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A mosque in Hawthorne was vandalized, as “Jesus is the way” was painted on the building’s walls and a plastic grenade placed outside, reports NBC LA.
“We expected there to be an uptick. We always hope and wish that we progress as a society and that people are less prone to acting out without thinking and not generalizing an entire group or religion based on the acts of a few, but we know that not everyone is there yet,” said Toma.
The L.A. Countywide Criminal Justice Coordination Committee reportedly created a task force last month to foster better relations between police and victims of hate crimes.