Americans may fear the threat of international terrorism, but Muslims in the U.S. are facing terror at home.
Working with the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino, the Times found that there are, on average, 12.6 suspected hate crimes against Muslims in the U.S. per month, based on FBI data.
This month has been anything but average. Hate crimes against Muslims tripled since Nov. 13, with 38 attacks deemed anti-Islamic in nature. Eighteen of those attacks happened after the shooting in San Barnardino on Dec. 2 that left 14 people dead.
“We’re seeing so many of these things happening that it’s unbelievable,” said Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on Islamic-American Relations, said Friday. “It’s off the chart — and I don’t think we’ve seen the end of it.”
CAIR also reported a sharp rise in vandalism and destruction at mosques this year, with 29 incidents occurring since Nov. 13. And if we expand those numbers to include general intimidation, bigotry and harassment, the picture is far more bleak. The Huffington Post’s Chris Mathias has tallied at least 73 Islamophobic acts in the U.S. since the Paris attacks.
Just this month, we’ve seen an Ohio 7th-grader threaten to shoot a Muslim boy whom he deemed a “towel head and terrorist,” Muslim women shot at in Florida, bricks and firebombs thrown into mosques across the country and Ku Klux Klan-run Quran burnings in Washington, D.C.
Most recently, 40-year-old Daniel Senteno allegedly followed a woman wearing a hijab into a car wash in Chino Hills, California, and pulled a knife on her. The victim said she was targeted because she is Muslim.
“I was born and raised in this country,” she told KTLA. “I’m several generations in. This is my country, my people, my town, my state.”
The New York Times reports that we haven’t yet reached the level of hate crimes in the wake of the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, when there were hundreds. But we’re getting there.