Muslim hate crimes: Reports of Islamophobic incidents in the US soared again in 2016

Campaigners have called on Donald Trump to speak out against such incidents 

Click to follow
The Independent US

More than fifteen years after 9/11, the number of Islamophobic attacks recorded in the US continues to soar.

Alongside data that shows Americans are seven times more likely to be killed by right-wing extremists than those driven by Islamist views, a new report suggests that incidents of Islamophobia rose by 57 per cent in 2016. This included a 44 per cent increase in anti-Muslim hate crimes.

The report by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), shows that between 2014 and 2016, anti-Muslim bias incidents increased by 65 per cent. In that two-year period, CAIR found that hate crimes targeting Muslims surged 584 per cent.

The finding by CAIR was similar to that of other independent researchers. Looking at data from 20 states, researchers at California State University reported 196 incidents of hate crimes against Muslims in the US in 2015, a 78 per cent increase on the prior year. Those figures were later corroborated by FBI data.

Earlier this year, CAIR reported that the number of incidents of alleged Islamophobia involving US Customs and Borders Protection officials has increased by about 1,000 per cent since Donald Trump took office.

Laura Pitter of Human Rights Watch, wrote this week that Mr Trump’s administration had rejected as “absurd” the allegation that his own anti-Muslim rhetoric had helped fuel the most recent increase of Islamophobic incidents.

How Trump’s immigration orders are affecting communities in Detroit

“But he has lashed out against his critics far more loudly and more often than he has spoken up against hate crimes,” she said. “Trump should be much more forceful in speaking out against acts of violent intolerance, especially since his own rhetoric and executive actions have so consistently scapegoated Muslims. 

“So far, with the exception of one address to Congress, he has not spoken out against hate crimes, or addressed these issues more broadly in a prominent, public fashion.”

She added: “If Trump really wants to distance himself from these hate incidents, public condemnation, in the wake of this chilling report, would be one way to do it.”

CAIR said that harassment was the most frequent type of abuse last year, accounting for 18 per cent of the total number of incidents. Incidents during which the complainant was questioned by FBI employees or otherwise appeared to be inappropriately targeted by the agency made up 15 per cent of cases, making this the second largest category.

Employment issues, including denial of work, came third, while hate crimes were the fourth largest 

A report from 2015, by academics Charles Kurzman and David Schanzer, found that Islam-inspired terror attacks “accounted for 50 fatalities over the past 13 and a half years”. During the same period, “right-wing extremists averaged 337 attacks per year in the decade after 9/11, causing a total of 254 fatalities”.