Hate Crimes Against Muslims:
An American Muslim was 4.4 times more likely to be a victim of hate crime in America than an average American in 2015. Anti-Muslim hate crimes accounted for 4.4 precent of all hate crimes in 2015 when Muslims made up just 1% of the US population.
Why the Surge:
The recent surge in hate crimes against Muslims is being attributed to President-Elect Donald Trump's campaign rhetoric against Muslims and other minorities in the United States. Islamophobia did not begin with the Trump campaign but it appears to have contributed to it in the last two years. Other factors include stereotyping of Muslims in the entertainment and news media coverage of terrorist attacks traced to individual Muslim perpetrators.
President-Elect Donald Donald Trump's Muslim ban and Muslim registry have contributed to assigning the blame to all Muslims for acts of terror and the consequent hate crimes against Americans of Islamic faith.
Since winning the majority of the electoral college in US presidential elections 2016, President-elect Trump has begun stacking his cabinet and staff with people known for their anti-Muslim statements. For example, Trump's national security advisor pick General Michael Flynn has called Islam "malignant cancer". Mr. Trump's chief of staff pick Stephen Bannon has described Islam as "a political ideology" and Sharia as "like Nazism, fascism, and communism."
Popular Television Shows:
The US entertainment media in Hollywood has been at the forefront of promoting the image of all Muslims as terrorists. Popular television shows like "24" and "Homeland" have done it on a consistent basis.
In a recent roundtable discussion titled "Can Television be Fair to Muslims?", Showtime's "Homeland's co-creator Howard Gordon acknowledged that his show has fed Islamophobia in America. Participants included both Muslims and Non-Muslims engaged in writing and producing popular TV shows such as Aasif Mandvi, Zarqa Nawaz, Melena Ryzik, Joshua Saffran, Howard Gordon and Cherian Dabis.
Here's a brief excerpt of the exchange:
MELENA RYZIK: The F.B.I. has said that attacks against Muslims were up 67 percent last year. Do you have any anxiety about your shows being fodder for that?
HOWARD GORDON: The short answer is, absolutely, yes.
RYZIK: What can you do to handle that?
GORDON: On “Homeland,” it’s an ongoing and very important conversation.
For instance, this year, the beginning of it involves the sort of big business of prosecuting entrapment. It actually tests the edges of free speech. How can someone express their discontent with American policy — even a reckless kid who might express his views that may be sympathetic to enemies of America, but still is not, himself, a terrorist, but is being set up to be one by the big business of government?
For me to answer, personally, that question, it’s a difficult one. “24” having been the launching point for me to engage in these conversations, which I have been having for 10 years, and being very conscious about not wanting to be a midwife to these base ideas. We’re all affected, unwittingly, by who we are and how we see the world. It requires creating an environment where people can speak freely about these things. It requires this vigilant empathy.
Mainstream News Media:
The mainstream US news media, particularly the cable news channels, have contributed to anti-Muslim hysteria after each terror attack traced to a Muslim perpetrator. The 24X7 coverage of such tragedies fails to put them in perspective.
President Barack H. Obama finally asked the questions that many American Muslim victims of Islamophobia have been asking for a long time: How many Americans have been killed through terrorist attacks over the last decade? And how many Americans have died in gun violence.
Here's the exact quote from Obama's speech after yet another mass shooting--this time in rural Oregon:
“I would ask news organizations – because I won’t put these facts forward – have news organizations tally up the number of Americans who’ve been killed through terrorist attacks over the last decade and the number of Americans who’ve been killed by gun violence, and post those side-by-side on your news reports. This won’t be information coming from me; it will be coming from you. “We spend over a trillion dollars, and pass countless laws, and devote entire agencies to preventing terrorist attacks on our soil, and rightfully so. And yet, we have a Congress that explicitly blocks us from even collecting data on how we could potentially reduce gun deaths. How can that be?”
The President's question got the media attention. CNN, among others, compiled the data and put the following graph on its website:
|Sources: CDC and US Security Officials Via CNN|
The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has reported 316,545 people deaths by firearms on U.S. soil from 2004 to 2013. This figure is 1000 times higher than the total deaths of 313 Americans by terrorism at home and abroad in the same period.
Aided by the gun lobby and its conservative supporters, anti-terrorism and Islamophobia have emerged as major new US industries in the wake of the terrorist attacks of 911. Anti-terror industry is worth trillions of dollars. Islamophobia industry, estimated at $200 million, reinforces and promotes the fear of Islam and Muslims for its own gains. With their entrenched vested interests, the growth of these industries has served to distract attention from the 1000X bigger problem of gun violence. The National Rife Association, also know as the gun lobby, has taken full advantage of the situation by buying out the majority of US Congress which opposes even most modest gun safety regulations.
In addition to distracting Americans' attention from growing gun violence, increased spending on Islamophobia is having a significant impact on Americans' perception of Muslim Americans. Results differ by political party, with the majority of Republicans holding negative views of both Arab-Americans and Muslims. Democrats gave Arab-Americans a 30 percent unfavorable rating and Muslim-Americans a 33 percent unfavorable rating, while Republicans gave Arab-Americans a 54 percent unfavorable rating and Muslim-Americans a 63 percent unfavorable rating, according to public opinion survey conducted by Zogby Analytics.
Hate crimes against Muslim Americans are surging, rising 67% in 2015 over the prior year. A Muslim American is 4.4 times more likely to be victim of a hate crime than an average American. President-Elect Donald Trump's Islamophobic campaign and the American news and entertainment media are contributing to the rise of hatred against Muslims. The situation of Muslims is likely to get worse unless Mr. Trump speaks out against hate crimes and his administration takes steps to check organized hate groups. At the same time, the news and entertainment media need to play their role to put this genie back in the bottle.
Funding of Hate Groups in America
Hollywood: America's Ministry of Propaganda?
Silicon Valley Stands Against Islamophobia
US Gun Violence
Money is Free Speech in America
FBI Entrapping Young Muslims
Saudi Prince Funding Hate in America