Society

Anti-Muslim Attacks Rise Sharply In U.S.

| by Jordan Smith

Attacks against Muslims rose sharply in the U.S. in the lead-up to the 2016 presidential election, according to a new report.

The 40-page analysis calculated a 65-percent rise in incidents with an anti-Muslim bias from 2014 to 2016. It also reported a 600-percent increase in possible anti-Islamic incidents over the same period, BuzzFeed reported.

Some observers put the increase down to the presidential election campaign, suggesting that the tone encouraged anti-immigrant and Islamophobic sentiments.

At one point during the election campaign, Donald Trump bluntly stated: "Islam hates us," BuzzFeed reported.

His campaign also proposed introducing a ban on Muslim immigration to the U.S. Less than two weeks after taking office, Trump signed an executive order banning travel to the U.S. from seven Muslim-majority countries, though the order was soon blocked by a federal judge.

Trump administration officials have denied allegations that they are trying to introduce a Muslim ban.

"The report simply punctuates what we already knew: that prejudice in America has seen a resurgence in the last couple of years," Corey Saylor of the Council for American Islamic Relations stated.

"While the report's data is troubling, I think people can look to the unity and energy among those who refuse to accept hate as an American civic norm," Saylor added.

CAIR reviewed each case by conducting interviews with witnesses and researching all available information. The goal was to "determine whether a case contains an identifiable element of religious, ethnic or national origin bias."

The report divided the cases up into five categories: hate crime, harassment, bias in employment, denial of religious accommodation requests and anti-Muslim bias by the FBI.

In one of the recorded incidents, police arrested three men in Kansas for planning to firebomb a mosque. The men referred to a community made up mainly of Somali refugees as "cockroaches."

CAIR New York found that in 2016, the number of anti-Muslim incidents in the state of New York rose by more than 560 percent, from 35 in 2015 to 232.

More than half of all reported hate crimes against Muslims occurred in the seven weeks following the election of Trump to the presidency in November 2016.

"Our case intake went through the roof, particularly in New York," Albert Fox Khan, legal director with CAIR New York, told the New York Daily News.

Khan pointed out that more than 15 percent of all hate crime incidents in New York were triggered by a woman wearing a hijab. He added that the pace of attacks reported thus far in 2017 indicates that the final total for the year will be higher than 2016.

Sources: BuzzFeed, New York Daily News / Photo credit: Paul Lowry/Wikimedia Commons

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