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.
“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."
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.