1 Week Ago, Obama Called for an End to U.S. Islamophobia — Here’s What’s Happened Instead
As the rhetoric surrounding Islamophobia in the United States seems to be splitting into two polar opposites, hate crimes against Muslims are on a sharp rise across the nation, with at least 19 incidents taking place since Dec. 7. The news follows President Obama calling on Americans to "reject discrimination" on Dec. 6 and Donald Trump, the GOP frontrunner for the 2016 presidential race, releasing dual proposals recently to identify each Muslim living in the U.S. in a database and bar all others from entering the country.
The assaults on Muslims, as well as some victims wrongly thought to be Muslim, include one 26-year-old Brooklyn resident throwing a chair through a glass partition at a Manhattan restaurant, punching an employee and telling a female employee he'd "fuck [her] up," while accusing the workers of supporting the Islamic State, U.S. Uncut reports. Another incident involved a 19-year-old Penn State student who told police he racially profiled a fellow student who "appeared to be Middle Eastern," after holding the Indian student by his neck at an intersection, saying, "Don't make me put a bullet in your chest." Sarker Haque, a 55-year-old food store owner, was attacked by a man who shouted "I kill Muslims," he told NY Daily News.
At least five places have been vandalized in the past seven days, including Islamic centers, temples and Muslim families' homes. A Muslim congressman received a death threat, and a slaughtered pig's head arrived on the doorstep of an Islamic Society in Philadelphia. No one was arrested.
As the national discourse continues, so does the violence. An upswing in the discussion surrounding "radical Islamic terrorism" was sparked after the Paris terror attacks, in which 129 people were killed and several locations throughout the heart of Paris were targeted by terrorists of the Islamic State. Since then, it's become a politicized game of words, matched with an increasing level of violence against innocent Muslims throughout the nation.
"It is our responsibility to reject religious tests on who we admit into this country," President Obama said in a rare Oval Office address following the mass shooting in San Bernardino earlier this month. "It's our responsibility to reject proposals that Muslim Americans should somehow be treated differently. Because when we travel down that road, we lose. That kind of divisiveness, that betrayal of our values plays into the hands of groups like ISIL."
Meanwhile, Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump is painting a darker picture of the very much alive sentiments against Muslims in America, calling on the nation to impose a "total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States," including any Americans traveling internationally, tourists and those seeking immigration visas, as Mic previously reported.
It's only getting worse. Following the San Bernardino shooting, carried out by Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik — a couple that had been radicalized in Pakistan and was planning an attack in the U.S. for years before Malik pledged her allegiance to ISIS the day of the attack — the discussion continued to heighten surrounding Muslim relations in America, with right-winged rhetoric taking a turn for the worse.
The Ku Klux Klan is using Trump in order to attract new followers, Politico reported, as white supremacy organizations have seen an uprise in web traffic in recent weeks. The president was called "a total pussy" by a Fox News commentator for what he considered to be an improper job of addressing the issue of Islamic terrorism. Republican hopeful Marco Rubio called Obama "cynical" for calling on the nation to reject discrimination against Muslims.
CNN reports attacks on mosques throughout the country are at a record-high, with 63 reported this year, and the largest bulk of those falling in November.