FBI says hate crimes against Muslims up by 67 percent in US

There were 1,244 incidents fuelled solely by religious hatred in 2015. Only adherents of the Jewish faith were targeted more, even though the numbers declined from the year before.

Photo by: Getty Images
Photo by: Getty Images

A mosque at the Islamic Center of America in Dearborn, Michigan was vandalised on December 22, 2007 with graffiti referencing the 9/11 terror attacks.

Hate crimes against Muslims reported throughout the United States have increased by 67 percent. According to a Federal Bureau of Investigation report for 2015, 257 out of 1,244 incidents fuelled by religious hatred were anti-Muslim as opposed to 154 in 2014.

Hate crimes are motivated by a bias against “a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity,” according to the FBI.

“We saw a spike in anti-Muslim incidents nationwide beginning towards the end of 2015,” Ibrahim Hooper, spokesperson for the Council on American-Islamic Relations said. “That spike has continued until today and even accelerated after the election of President-elect Donald Trump.”

After Trump won the US presidential elections on November 8, there have been reports of an escalation in racist and anti-religious incidents throughout the country.

“I am so saddened to hear that,” Trump told CBS’s 60 Minutes, when informed that some of his supporters might be harassing minorities. “And I say, stop it. If it, if it helps, I will say right to the cameras: Stop it.”

Reported hate crimes against Muslims in 2015 were at their highest since the 9/11 attacks on the United States. In 2001, 481 hate crimes were reported against Muslims.

Jews are the only religious group targeted more than Muslims. In 2014, 60.1% of all attacks against religious groups targeted Jews, compared to 15.2% for Muslims. In 2015, however, anti-Muslim incidents rose to 20.1% while the percentage of anti-Semitic attacks declined to 53.4%.

FBI’s 2015 report, its 25th since it began compiling data on hate crimes, contains data from close to 15 thousand law-enforcement agencies and “reveals 5,850 criminal incidents and 6,885 related offences.”

However, the Associated Press revealed earlier this year that “17 percent of local law-enforcement agencies had not submitted a single hate crime report during the last six years.” This has led some to believe that hate crimes were being underreported.

“Gaps in participation and incomplete reporting demonstrate materially that this work must continue,” Michael Lieberman with the Anti-Defamation League said. “We will be pressing the Trump Justice Department and US attorneys so this important work will be ongoing.”

Lieberman pointed out there have been "unprecedented efforts" to address hate crimes in recent years.

TRTWorld and agencies