Advocacy groups look for reason behind anti-Muslim hate crimes spike in US

Latest News

Advocacy groups look for reason behind anti-Muslim hate crimes spike in US

Among the groups in society targeted for hate crime are Muslims, both American and foreign-born. Many came under attack after the 9/11 attacks of 2001. While time has passed, some have said they feel even more at risk now.

CGTN’s Phil Lavelle reports.

Advocacy groups look for reason behind anti-Muslim hate crimes spike in US

Advocacy groups look for reason behind anti-Muslim hate crimes spike in US

Among the groups in society targeted for hate crime are Muslims, both American and foreign-born. Many came under attack after the 9/11 attacks of 2001. While time has passed, some have said they feel even more at risk now. CGTN's Phil Lavelle reports from Los Angeles.
Download Video

Fatmah Muhammad and Shorouq Shenaq are both Americans and Muslim. Both are also in the midst of an Islamaphobic nightmare, and they don’t know when it’ll end.

“I had a situation where a young man. He was in his big old tough truck. I was at my gas station, I had my little one with me and he spit at me and he was the one that mentioned, ‘Go back to Saudi Arabia and see if they’ll let you drive.’ And he said ‘you’re at my pump’ and started using profanities. I paid, I went back to my car. And I cried all the way home, took a different way home and I didn’t know what to do,” Shenaq said.

Muhammad was verbally abused as she stood in line in a store.

“I was at Target and the man behind me just said, ‘Go back to your own country. You need to learn English.’ Little did he know that I speak English. I’m also a college graduate. It hurts because a part of me just wants to tell them, ‘I wish you knew who I was,’ ” Muhammad said.

From Mosques being burned down to people being attacked for just looking like they might be Muslim, the cases are numerous.

The question is: why are we seeing an increase in attacks just like these now? Some blame President Donald Trump and his travel ban. Even so, there was also an increase in the number of attacks against Muslims in the U.S. following the San Bernardino shootings. The U.S. also saw an uptick in such crimes as far back as 9/11.

That then raises the point: Is Donald Trump really to blame, or is he just a scapegoat?

“After then-Candidate Trump’s Muslim ban announcement on Dec 7, 2015, in the next five days, we saw an 87.5-percent increase in hate crimes against Muslims,” Brian Levin of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University in San Bernardino (CSUSB) said.

Though that’s not to say President Trump is necessarily responsible, it does raise the question of whether or not Trump did more to help or stop it all.

“Following the 9/11 attacks, hate crimes spiked. Six days after those attacks though, President George Bush spoke at the Islamic Center of D.C., speaking about tolerance. And hate crimes dropped 66-percent in the next six days,” Levin said.

For those being targeted in 2017, it is becoming a way of life. 


Wardah Khalid discusses hate crimes against Muslims in US

For more on hate crimes against the Muslim community in the U.S., CGTN’s Elaine Reyes spoke to Wardah Khalid. She is a Middle East policy analyst and a media associate for Church World Service.