A new report by the Council on American-Islamic Relations revealed that anti-Muslim hate crimes spiked a staggering 91 percent within the first six months of 2017 compared to the same time frame in 2016.
The report, published Monday, July 17, dubbed 2016 the worst year on record for such anti-Muslim incidents since the civil rights group began documenting them in 2013. However, organization leaders say 2017 is well on its way to surpassing that.
“The presidential election campaign and the Trump administration have tapped into a seam of bigotry and hate that’s resulted in the targeting of American Muslims and other minority groups,” Zainab Arain, a coordinator for CAIR’s Dept. to Monitor and Combat Islamophobia, said in a statement.
“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,” he continued.
CAIR’s report found that the number of anti-Muslim bias incidents also rose 24 percent within the first half of this year, compared to last year. The second quarter of 2017, from June 1 to April 30, saw a total of 946 reports of potential bias incidents. Of those recorded incidents, 451 contained an “identifiable element of anti-Muslim bias.”
The report also detailed types of abuse, including harassment and intimidation. Of the 451 recorded incidents, harassment was the most frequent type of abuse reported (72), followed by hate crimes (69). There were 56 instances where a complainant was targeted by the FBI and 55 reported incidents of fear and intimidation. Thirty-seven cases also involved Customs and Border protection.
Among other things, the CAIR report explored the top five locations for bias incidents, factors that trigger such incidents and the victim’s ethnicity/national origin.
Sixty-eight of the 409 incidents where a location was identified occurred at a victim’s home, making it the most likely location for an incident compared to other common places like a mosque or school. Moreover, a victim’s ethnicity/national origin was found to be the most common trigger for bias attacks. People of North African and Middle Eastern descent were the most common victims of incidents.
Mic reported that the latest anti-Muslim hate crime occurred July 10 in Murfreesboro, Tenn., when an Islamic Center there found bacon strips wrapped around its doors. Expletive-laden slurs also were found spray-painted on the building’s walls and basketball court. Authorities are investigating the incident as a hate crime.
“We’re not [strangers] to vandalism,” Saleh Sbenaty, spokesman for the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro, told the Daily News Journal. “We have been going through intimidation, harassment, arson, lawsuit, bomb threats, heard gunshots.”
“It’s very hurtful,” Sbenaty added.
“You cannot answer the questions to the kids who are asking, ‘Why do they hate us, what did we do to deserve this?'”