FBI Reports Sharp Increase in Hate Crimes Against Muslims

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Hate crimes against Muslims in America soared 67 percent in 2015, according to an FBI report released Monday. Overall, hate crime surged nearly 7 percent last year, reports Politico. The bureau’s Uniform Crime Report, which catalogs data about hate crimes, documented 257 anti-Muslim hate crimes — up from 154 in 2014 — and 5,850 total incidents reported to police last year, a 6.8 percent increase over the 5,479 incidents reported in 2014. The data expanded on previous findings of an alarming rise in some types of crimes tied to the vitriol of this year’s presidential campaign and the aftermath of terrorist attacks since 2015, says the New York Times. That trend appears to have spiked in just the last week, with civil rights groups and news organizations reporting dozens of verbal or physical assaults on minorities and others that appear to have been fueled by divisions over the election.

More than 1,000 incidents each were reported in 2015 based on religious bias and bias against sexual orientation. A majority of those religious cases — 53 percent — involved anti-Semitism, and 21 percent were anti-Muslim, a group of people President-elect Donald Trump alienated last December when he called for “a total and complete shutdown” of Muslim immigration. All but 19 of the 1,053 incidents regarding sexual orientation were anti-LGBT. The New York Times reported that the statistics give an incomplete picture because many local agencies still have a spotty record of reporting hate crimes, 26 years after Congress directed the Justice Department to begin collecting the data. “We need to do a better job of tracking and reporting hate crime to fully understand what is happening in our communities and how to stop it,” said James Comey Jr., the F.B.I. director. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, a non-profit that monitors domestic hate groups and other extremists, there were 892 active hate groups last year.

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