WASHINGTON, DC – The number of anti-Muslim hate crimes rose 91 percent in the first half of the year compared with the same period in 2016, a leading American Muslim advocacy group said Monday.
“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,” said Zainab Arain, coordinator in CAIR’s Department to Monitor and Combat Islamophobia in a statement sent to AboutIslam.net.
“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 huge increase in hate crimes rate makes 2017 the worst year for such anti-Muslim incidents since the civil rights organization began its current documenting system in 2013.
The number of bias incidents in 2017 also increased by 24 percent compared to the first half of 2016.
The most frequent type of incidents documented by CAIR in the second quarter of 2017 were harassment, defined as a non-violent or non-threatening incident.
The second most common type of bias incidents were hate crimes, and have involved physical violence or property damage.
In the 347 cases in which the gender of the victims was identified, males accounted for 57 percent, and females for 43 percent.
Episodes in which the complainant was questioned by the FBI or otherwise appears to have inappropriately targeted by the agency are the third most common.
The most prevalent trigger of anti-Muslim bias incidents in 2017 remains the victim’s ethnicity or national origin, accounting for 32 percent of the total.
“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,” it added.
The group based its report on data gathered from reported and witnessed cases but acknowledged that under-reporting was a challenge, with many victims failing to notify law enforcement or community institutions.
According to CAIR’s 2016 report, anti-Muslim hate incidents rose more than 40 percent compared with 2015.