Alwaght- Islamophobia tripled across the United States in 2016 when rightwing extremists were fired up right by Donald Trump's presidential campaign.
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center’s (SPLC) annual census of hate groups and other extremist organizations released on Wednesday, anti-Muslim hate groups almost tripled from 34 in 2015 to 101 last year.
The monitoring group noted that the growth has been accompanied by a rash of crimes targeting Muslims, including an arson that destroyed a mosque in Victoria, Texas, just hours after the Trump administration announced an executive order suspending travel from some predominantly Muslim countries. The latest FBI statistics show that hate crimes against Muslims grew by 67 percent in 2015, the year in which Trump launched his campaign.
The report, contained in the Spring 2017 issue of the SPLC’s Intelligence Report, includes the Hate Map showing the names, types and locations of hate groups across the US.
The SPLC found that the number of hate groups operating in 2016 rose to 917 – up from 892 in 2015. The number is 101 shy of the all-time record set in 2011, but high by historic standards.
The increase in anti-Muslim hate was fueled by Trump’s incendiary rhetoric, including his campaign pledge to bar Muslims from entering the US, as well as anger over terrorist attacks such as the June massacre of 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando.
The overall number of hate groups likely understates the real level of organized hatred in America as a growing number of extremists operate mainly online and are not formally affiliated with hate groups.
Aside from its annual census of extremist groups, the SPLC found that Trump’s rhetoric reverberated across the nation in other ways. In the first 10 days after his election, the SPLC documented 867 bias-related incidents, including more than 300 that targeted immigrants or Muslims.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, has urged American Muslim leaders and Islamic institutions to take extra security precautions and is offering Muslim community leaders free copies of its booklet, "Best Practices for Mosque and Community Safety."
Drafted by a leading security consultant, it seeks to better equip the community with the knowledge necessary to protect against racial and religious bigotry or attacks. The booklet was produced in response to recent bias attacks targeting American Muslim institutions.
A soon-to-be-published CAIR report on Islamophobia in America is expected to show that 2016 was the worst year on record for incidents in which mosques were targets of bias.