A new report by the Council on Islamic-American Relations took a look at the year in anti-Muslim bias, and found not only an increase of discrimination, bigotry, and hate crimes against Muslims nationally in the wake of Donald Trump’s election, but that 35 percent of those incidents involved federal agencies under Trump’s purview. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the FBI were some of the worst offenders.
According to “Targeted,” CAIR’s annual civil rights report, there was a 17 percent increase last year in “anti-Muslim bias incidents” over 2016, as well as a 15 percent increase in hate crimes. One of those hate crimes was Jeremy Christian’s stabbing attack on a Portland train last May, in which Christian killed two men who spoke up to defend two teenage girls at whom Christian was yelling anti-Muslim racial slurs.
Another hate crime documented by CAIR took place in Massachusetts:
A 61-year-old American Muslim grandmother was attacked by a white male while taking a train to prayer services during the sacred Islamic month of Ramadan. Her attacker, almost half her age, screamed at her and punched the window next to where she sat so hard that it broke. As she was leaving the train, he kicked her and stabbed her repeatedly in the back with the end of an umbrella, leaving bruises. The CAIR-Massachusetts chapter located the elderly woman and offered her its services. Though at first she was afraid to pursue the case, she agreed to meet with the prosecutor in the presence of CAIR attorneys. She then agreed to testify before a grand jury on the condition that the CAIR lawyer was present outside the grand jury room. Her attacker was indicted on four felony counts, including two hate crime charges.
According to CAIR, there was a grand total of 144 anti-mosque incidents in 2017. Over a quarter (38) took place in California, while New York had 14. “Not only have anti-Muslim bias incidents continued to increase,” CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad said in a press release, “but a greater percentage of these instances have been violent in nature, targeting American children, youth and families who are Muslim or perceived to be Muslim.”
The increase in total incidents, however, was driven primarily by federal agencies, which were responsible for 919 incidents last year, a 70 percent increase over 2016. If their 2016 levels—540 incidents—had remained unchanged, the report would have actually seen a decrease in recorded incidents of anti-Muslim bias.
The top offenders were CBP, which accounted for 348 incidents, and the FBI, which were to blame for 270 incidents. 72 incidents involved the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), 47 involved the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and 39 involved ICE, an agency which should be abolished. (A further 110 incidents involved multiple federal agencies.)
The CBP (12 percent) and the FBI (10 percent) were both listed in the top five causes of anti-Muslim bias, according to the report. Other causes included harassment (14 percent), hate crimes (12 percent, or 300 recorded instances in 2017), and employment discrimination (9 percent).
According to CAIR, 1,021 of all incidents last year took place between January and March. A week after his inauguration last January, Trump signed the executive order for his first Muslim ban. CAIR says that 311 of those incidents in the first three months of 2017 were related to the Muslim ban.
The report “provides concrete evidence that the unconstitutional Muslim Ban resulted in more Islamophobic hate and violence,” CAIR’s Zainab Arain, who authored the report, said in the organization’s press release. “The anti-Muslim hate incidents documented in CAIR’s report are an indictment of the Trump administration and its unconstitutional and divisive policies.”