Attacks on Muslims and mosques have spiked in the last month, according to two new reports, part of a disturbing trend of hatred and violence spurred by recent terrorist attacks and fueled by incendiary comments from some of the nation's leading presidential candidates.
There are about 13 suspected hate crimes against Muslim in the U.S. every month, according to the FBI, but in the weeks since the Paris and San Bernardino attacks that number has tripled. Since Nov. 13, when Islamic State terrorists killed 130 people in Paris, the number of anti-Muslim hate crime has reached 38 in America, The New York Times reported on Friday.
"The terrorist attacks, coupled with the ubiquity of these anti-Muslim stereotypes seeping into the mainstream, have emboldened people to act upon this fear and anger," Brian Levin, a criminologist at California State University-San Bernardino, told the Times. Levin runs a hate-crimes research group at the university that created the analysis.
The violence includes assaults on students wearing hijabs (the veil worn around their heads), arson and vandalism at mosques, and shootings and death threats aimed at businesses owned by Muslims, according to the Times. The number of attacks have not reached those seen in the immediate aftermath of September 11, 2001, however, when hundreds of them occurred.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, also issued a report this week showing that November saw the most significant spike in incidents targeting U.S. mosques since the organization has kept records, with a total of 17 incidents. All but two of them occurred after the Paris terror attacks. So far this year, CAIR has recorded 71 incidents against mosques, more than triple last year and the most since 2010, when there were 53 such occurrences. CAIR, which has tracked Mosque vandalism and attacks since 2009, said its numbers are likely vastly underreported.
The attacks follow not only the horrific attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California, but also a noted rise in heated rhetoric among Republican presidential candidates regarding Muslims. Donald Trump, the front-runner in the GOP field, has led the charge, calling for a ban on Muslims entering the U.S. until the country can "figure out what is going on"―a shocking, anti-American policy that's reminiscent of a dystopian novel (see: The Hunger Games) or, worse, Nazi Germany.
Most Americans disagree or strongly disagree with Trump's call for a ban on Muslims. And President Obama has called on Americans to avoid turning against each other because it's exactly what our opponents, like ISIS, want us to do.
"It is the responsibility of all Americans, of every faith, to reject discrimination," he said earlier this month. "Muslim Americans are our friends and neighbors, our coworkers, our sports heroes, and yes, our men and women in uniform who are willing to die in defense of our country. We have to remember that."
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