Anecdotal everyone in the US was talking about the hatred that Muslims were facing in the country. Now the Pew Research Center in the USA has conducted an analysis of the new hate crimes statistics from the FBI and confirmed these suspicions on assaults on US Muslims.
The Pew research centers analysis shows that the number of physical assaults against Muslims in the United States reached those last seen after 9/11.
Pew Research Shows
There were 91 reported aggravated assaults which were motivated by anti-Muslim bias in 2015, just two less than of the 93 reported in 2001. They also reported that there was a jump in people threatening Muslims with bodily harm, with 120 reported to the FBI. Again, this was the highest numbers reported in any year since 2001, when there were 296.
For South Asian countries, where hundreds or thousands of people are killed on the pretext that they were non-Hindu (India) or non-Muslim (Pakistan, Bangladesh), these may be seen as puny numbers, a blip in the radar somewhere.
Republicans (68 percent) were significantly more likely than Democrats (30 percent) to think that Islam encouraged violence.
But, for a diverse ethnic society, such as the USA where people have come from many different nations recently or as slaves in the past, living together harmoniously is an essential part of being American. These statistics reflect threats to that fabric.
Two highly Publicized Attacks in US
The jump in 2015, are probably explained by rising fear of Muslims, after two highly publicized attacks by US Muslims took place – San Bernadino and later that year the attack on the gay bar in Orlando, Florida by an Afghan.
Later that year instances were related throughout the country, of Mosques receiving letters, even in California, which is perceived to be a liberal state, telling Muslims that they will be dealt with. These instances also jumped due to Trump’s negative campaign on Muslims and foreigners in general.
Overall, the FBI reported 301 incidents of anti-Muslim hate crimes in 2015, a 67% increase from the previous year. These incidents included 211 individual crimes, 71% of which were crimes against people, as opposed to property.
By contrast, crimes perpetrated against other religious groups were more likely to involve property offenses, such as vandalism or theft. For example, 64% of anti-Jewish and 51% of anti-Catholic offenses in 2015 involved vandalism, compared with just 23% of anti-Muslim offenses.
In a Pew Research Center survey done in January 2016 most Americans, around six-in-ten U.S. adults (59%) said, there was “a lot” of discrimination against Muslims in the United States today. Around seventy-six percent of them also said that the discrimination against Muslims in the U.S. was increasing.
The same survey also found that almost half of American adults (49%) think at least “some” Muslims in the U.S. are anti-American, including 11% who think “most” or “almost all” are anti-American.
American views on Islam
Another survey from about the same time (December 2015) found that 46% of Americans thought Islam was more likely than other religions to encourage violence.
FBI data for 2016 will not be released until next year, but already anecdotal reports show a continued rise in anti-Muslim hate crimes this year.
While not all incidents can be confirmed, the Southern Poverty Law Center, a civil rights advocacy group which tracks hate crimes, reported more than 30 cases of anti-Muslim incidents in the five days following the presidential election alone.
Jump in violence post-election
The state of Massachusetts had to set up a new hate crime hot line after it received reports of a jump in violence on election day. It received over 300 calls in just four days after establishing the line.
“We established the hot line this week in response to reports we saw following Election Day where people here in Massachusetts and across the country had been subjected to conduct that imperils safety and civil rights,” Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey’s office said in a statement.
It is ironic that the December 2015 Pew Survey, also showed that Republicans (68 percent) were significantly more likely than Democrats (30 percent) to think that Islam encouraged violence. It is not a coincidence that hate crime in general and to Muslims, in particular, has increased after Donald Trump’s election. His followers have grabbed the moment to say whatever they feel.
The FBI collects this hate crime data from about 15,000 law enforcement agencies that voluntarily participate. This means it is very likely that these annual statistics undercount the number of hate crimes in any year. However, the report is still useful for comparing hate crimes over time.