A Muslim community civil rights and advocacy group — the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) — has reported an “unprecedented” backlash and discrimination targeting the nation’s Muslim minority since the November 13 terror attacks in Paris.
“CAIR notes that it has received more reports about acts of Islamophobic discrimination, intimidation, threats, and violence targeting American Muslims (or those perceived to be Muslim) and Islamic institutions in the past week-and-a-half than during any other limited period of time since the 9/11 terror attacks,” the Washington-based group said in an initial report released on November 24.
CAIR’s report came days after FBI announced an overall 8 percent drop in hate crimes nationwide but a 14 percent increase against the Muslim community over the prior year.
The totals of anti-Muslim hate crimes rose from 135 in 2013 to 154 in 2014, which according to Southern Poverty Law Project Senior Fellow Mark Potok, were not dramatic for a country of close to 320 million people.
“Given the barbaric Islamic State attacks in Paris last week and elsewhere recently, that latter trend seems destined to accelerate,” wrote Potok in a blog on the SPLP’s website, while referring to the FBI report.
The CAIR also attributed the spike in anti-Muslim incidents to the Paris attacks and to the mainstreaming of Islamophobia by political candidates and lawmakers in the run-up to the 2016 general election.
“Of particular concern is the extreme anti-Muslim rhetoric and falsehoods being espoused by leading Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump and Ben Carson,” the Muslim group noted in its statement. It added that another contributing factor to this marked rise in Islamophobic hostility is state governors and lawmakers playing on public fears and spreading misinformation about the federal government’s ability to screen Syrian refugees being resettled into the United States.
CAIR‘s initial report documents acts of Islamophobic discrimination, intimidation, threats, and violence targeting American Muslims and mosques reported to CAIR between the dates of November 13-24.
These included 12 incidents of intimidation, threats and violence against places of worship in at least six states including Florida, Connecticut, Oregon,Nebraska, Virginia and Texas. The highest number of such incidents, according to CAIR, were reported from Texas.
Seven incidents of violence against individuals were reported from Orlando, FL; Denver, CO; Cincinnati, OH; Charlotte, NC and San Diego, CA.
Similarly, three cases of threats against Muslim individuals were reported from Storrs, CT; Austin, TX andBrooklyn, NY. Incidents of threats against groups of Muslims and profiling of airline passengers were also reported from Dearborn, MI; Norman, OK; Baltimore, MD and Philadelphia, PA.
“The anti-Muslim numbers have been rising slowly but steadily since 2012. In that period, ISIS beheadings and other atrocities have pushed radical Islam into the news in a way that almost certainly has fueled anti-Muslim hatred. Given the Charlie Hebdo and other attacks in early 2015, along with the most recent Islamist slaughter in Paris, anti-Muslim hate crimes seem bound to rise again in 2015,” writes Mark Potok on SPLP’s website.
Quoting the FBI report, Potok writes: “Overall, the new FBI numbers show that 47 percent of hate crimes in 2014 were motivated by race, over 20 percent by anti-LGBT animus, and approaching 19 percent by religion (within that category, Jews were the most targeted). The report also found, as in prior years, that the third most common venue for hate crimes, at almost 9 percent of the total, was on campuses of schools, colleges and universities.”