Anti-Muslim incidents soar in US as Trump presidency begins

Anti-Muslim incidents soar in US as Trump presidency begins
A mosque in the US (Reuters)
Updated 18 July 2017
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Anti-Muslim incidents soar in US as Trump presidency begins

Anti-Muslim incidents soar in US as Trump presidency begins

Anti-Muslim hate crimes in the US have nearly doubled in the first half of 2017, increasing by 91 percent compared to the same time in 2016, according to a report published by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).
The spike marked a sizeable increase on 2016, which was the worst year for anti-Muslim incidents, since CAIR started its documenting system in 2013. While CAIR did not draw comparison, the spike in recorded incidents coincided with President Donald Trump coming into office.
The number of so-called “bias incidents” increased by 24 percent.
Zainab Arain, coordinator in CAIR’s Department to Monitor and Combat Islamophobia, said: “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.”
“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,” Arain added.
There are approximately 3.3 million Muslims living in the US, according to a Pew Research Center report released in May.
The most common incidents CAIR recorded in the second quarter of 2017 involved harassment, which were defined as non-violent or non-threatening.
But hate crimes involving physical violence or damage to property accounted for the second highest number of incidents.
But the report did highlight that the biggest cause of anti-Muslim bias incidents – 32 percent of the total – was still a person’s ethnicity or national origin.
“Twenty percent of incidents occurred because of an individual being perceived as Muslim. A Muslim woman’s headscarf was a trigger in 15 percent of incidents,” the report added.
The figures for 2016 saw hate crimes increase by more than 40 percent, compared to 2015. There was also a 57 percent increase in bias incidents.
Of the incidents recorded, 17 percent were carried out at the victims’ homes, but 14 percent involved Muslims walking in the street, or driving cars.
Victims on public transport, or flying accounted for 13 percent of the incidents, while about one-third (33 percent) of all the incidents occurred in mosques or Islamic centers. Schools did not escape the problem, accounting for 9 percent.