Anti-Muslim hate crimes spiked 91% within first half of 2017, new report says


On Monday, the Council on American-Islamic Relations released a new report detailing a 91% increase in anti-Muslim hate crimes within the first six months of 2017 compared to the same time period in 2016.

According to the civil rights group, 2016 was the worst year recorded for anti-Muslim hate crimes since it began documenting incidents in 2013. The new report also found that anti-Muslim bias incidents rose 24% compared to that same time period in 2016.

Council on American-Islamic Relations

From the second quarter of 2017, which is from April 1 to June 30, there were 946 reported bias incidents. Out of those 946 reported incidents, CAIR staff identified that “451 of these reports contained an identifiable element of anti-Muslim bias.”

Council on American-Islamic Relations

In the second quarter of the year, the most frequent type of incidents reported was harassment. Harassment accounts for 16% of the total 451 reported bias incidents. Hate crimes followed with 15%, then incidents where the FBI inappropriately targeted complainants of incidents with 12%. The last two common types of abuse and incidents were acts of intimidation and cases involving the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which accounted for 12% and 8%, respectively, of cases reported in the second quarter of 2017.

Council on American-Islamic Relations

The study also said there were 358 cases where a trigger, or the provoking factor, was identified. A victim’s ethnicity or national origin accounted for 32% of the cases. Incidents where a victim is perceived as Muslim accounted for 20%, and 15% described a Muslim woman’s headscarf as a trigger.

Council on American-Islamic Relations

The study found 290 cases where a victim’s ethnicity or national origin were identified. People of North African and Middle Eastern descent made up the majority of the victims and accounted for 46% of the reported cases. South Asians followed with 20% of the cases.

Zainab Arain, the coordinator for CAIR’s Department to Monitor and Combat Islamophobia, said that President Donald Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric and policies has resulted in the targeting of the Muslim-American community.

“The presidential election campaign and the Trump administration have tapped into a seam of bigotry and hate that has resulted in the targeting of American Muslims and other minority groups,” Arain said in a statement to Mic. “If acts of bias impacting the American Muslim community continue as they have been, 2017 could be one of the worst years ever for such incidents.”

The most recent reported anti-Muslim hate crime in the U.S. took place on July 10. The Islamic Center of Murfreesboro in Tennessee found bacon strips wrapped around the door, and anti-Muslim epithets spray-painted on their walls and basketball court. The police are investigating the incident as a hate crime. In the years leading up to the mosque’s construction, the Murfreesboro Muslim community endured acts of vandalism, arson and a bomb threat.

“We’re not (strangers) to vandalism. ... We have been going through intimidation, harassment, arson, lawsuit, bomb threats, heard gunshots,” Saleh Sbenaty, ICM spokesman, told the Daily News Journal.

The latest incident occurred within the center’s summer camp for kids. Sbenaty said he is having a hard time explaining the attack to the children.

“It’s very hurtful,” Sbenaty said. “You cannot answer the questions to the kids who are asking, ‘Why do they hate us, what did we do to deserve this?’”