Before 2015, the last time the United States became a dangerous place for Muslims was in the year 2001, in the days following the September 11 terrorist attacks.
A new report prepared by researchers at California State University, San Bernardino, shows anti-Muslim hate crimes — including arson, murder, assault and violent threats — were at their highest levels, up to 78 percent, since 2014.
“After 9/11, that has shown a significant increase. In fact, the second biggest number of anti-Muslim hate crimes since 2001 and the most precipitous rate of increase since 2001. So this is a disturbing development and one for concern,” said Brian Levin, the author of the report and director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at the San Bernardino campus.
What’s even worse is the fact that the numbers provided by Levin are low due to underreporting. Also, he didn’t count a lot of incidents reported by advocacy groups because they were “clearly not motivated by prejudice.”
Official stats from the FBI data will not be out until November but Levin says he used law-enforcement criteria and standards to prepare his report.
And while his numbers largely concern the incidents that occurred in 2015, the uptick in hostility against American Muslims seems to have continued this year as well.
Just this month, on Sept. 12, the Islamic Center of Fort Pierce, Florida, the mosque where Orlando nightclub gunman Omar Mateen sometimes visited, was heavily damaged in an arson fire. Police later arrested a local resident in connection to the incident who had criticized Islam on social media.
On Sept. 10, a woman yelling anti-Muslim insults allegedly attacked two Muslim women as they pushed their children in strollers in Brooklyn, New York.
In August, the 55-year-old imam, Maulana Akonjee of the Al-Furqan Jamia mosque, in Queens, NY, was fatally shot along with his 64-year-old assistant.