Anti-Muslim Crimes Are Sharply Increasing

[Content Note: Islamophobia.]

I've made no bones about the fact that I hold the Republican candidates responsible for the uptick in Islamophobic attacks on people and property. And I'm glad to see that the New York Times is reporting on the demonstrable connection between their inflammatory rhetoric and the attacks on Muslim people (or people wrongly assumed to be Muslim).
Hate crimes against Muslim Americans and mosques across the United States have tripled in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, Calif., with dozens occurring within just a month, according to new data.

The spike includes assaults on hijab-wearing students; arsons and vandalism at mosques; and shootings and death threats at Islamic-owned businesses, an analysis by a California State University research group has found.

President Obama and civil rights leaders have warned about anecdotal evidence of a recent Muslim backlash, particularly in California. But the analysis is the first to document the rise, amid a crescendo of anti-Islamic statements from politicians.

...In recent years, there has been an average of 12.6 suspected hate crimes against Muslims in the United States a month, based on F.B.I. data analyzed by the research group.

But the rate of attacks has tripled since the attacks in Paris on Nov. 13 by Islamic State operatives, with 38 attacks regarded as anti-Islamic in nature, according to the analysis, which was based on reports from the news media and civil rights groups.

Eighteen of the episodes have come since the shooting in San Bernardino on Dec. 2 by a Muslim couple who were supporters of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, which left 14 people dead.
Among the many reasons I'm relieved to see this connection getting wider attention is the fact it centers the harm being done to Muslim people because of this harmful rhetoric. Much of the progressive pushback against the Republicans' Islamophobic alarmism has centered on the argument that their hostile rhetoric makes "us" (which is supposed to mean all USians, but we all know how that works) less safe; that it will play into the hands of terrorists, who will use it as a recruiting tool.

I'm sure it will be used that way, but to imagine that these statements, no matter how outrageously odious they are, are enough on their own to radicalize Muslims into terrorists all by itself doesn't say much for what the people making the suggestion think of Muslims.

The premise that there is some sizable number of Muslims who can be convinced to do harm to civilians in the US just because they hear that Donald Trump said something horrible implicitly suggests "they're all on the precipice of becoming terrorists!"—and that's just as fucking gross as what the Republican candidates are saying. It's just not as overt.

The real danger in what the Republican candidates are saying is not that it will turn Muslims into terrorists who will harm Good White People; it's that it will turn Muslims into targets for white supremacist terrorism.

And that needs to be the center of our objections. Not some hypothetical harm that terrorists may do to "us," but the actual harm already being done to Muslims by "us."

Shakesville is run as a safe space. First-time commenters: Please read Shakesville's Commenting Policy and Feminism 101 Section before commenting. We also do lots of in-thread moderation, so we ask that everyone read the entirety of any thread before commenting, to ensure compliance with any in-thread moderation. Thank you.

blog comments powered by Disqus