BLOG: Why You Can’t Be Neutral About Net Neutrality – Civil Rights At Stake

Tomorrow, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will vote on a plan to reverse its 2015 “Open Internet Order,” which established net neutrality, ensuring that all online content is treated equally by internet service providers. Essentially, net neutrality prevents companies like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T from blocking, slowing down, or speeding up online content based on the user and their ability to pay for faster or increased services. Eliminating net neutrality allows internet service providers to charge user fees at their discretion for access to certain content.

In this digital age, the internet has been a way for poor and working class families to connect with critical employment, health services, and even legal assistance. These issues impact all of us, including South Asian Americans. At SAALT, our online intake form for individuals who have experienced hate violence or discrimination is an important internet tool that allows us to direct people to legal services. Creating a “pay to play” environment threatens the ability of the poor and working class to get these important resources. Numerous studies, including a recent investigation by the Center for Public Integrity, reveal that families in poor areas are five times less likely to have access to high-speed internet than families in affluent areas. Allowing internet service providers to charge user fees further restrains access to online content and widens this disparity even further, which throttles civil rights..

Black-led media justice organizations like the Center for Media Justice and the Voices for Internet Freedom Coalition have defended net neutrality for decades and were instrumental in the FCC’s 2015 decision to codify net neutrality. Their tireless work has shown the importance of an open internet for social justice organizing, healthcare access, rapid response to national disasters, and content creation for artists, just to name a few. All of these reasons should be enough for South Asian Americans to join the fight to preserve net neutrality. But digging further into recent demographic data shows exactly how many poor South Asian Americans would be hurt by the elimination of net neutrality.

According to recently released data from the Pew Research Center, there are currently 5 million South Asian Americans living in the United States. Of those, over 10% or more than half a million live in poverty. For Nepalese and Bangladeshi American communities, this figure is nearly 25%, and for Bhutanese Americans, this figure jumps to 33%. With these staggering levels of poverty and inequality in our community alone, it is critical that we understand net neutrality as more than a politically charged issue, but a fundamental civil rights issue.

We must also consider the backdrop of this poverty, inequality, and unequal access to information. It occurs in a national climate that is fueled by this Administration’s white supremacist agenda, fanning the flames of hate to heights not seen since the year after 9/11. SAALT and our allies regularly document incidents of hate violence and xenophobic political rhetoric aimed at South Asian, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Middle Eastern, and Arab American communities. Exactly one year since the 2016 presidential election, SAALT documented 213 incidents of hate violence alone against our communities, which is over a 60% increase from the previous year. These stories rarely make news headlines because the victims are disproportionately Muslim or perceived to be Muslim (84%) and often do not have the power of law enforcement or the bully pulpit behind them to get the recourse they deserve.

South Asian American communities and all communities of color are doubly victimized by this Administration’s agenda that both fans the flames of hate and attacks civil rights by issuing Muslim Bans, rolling out mass deportations, and eliminating net neutrality. As we established in our last report “Power, Pain, Potential,” there is a relationship between rolling back civil rights and increasing vulnerability to hate violence. South Asian Americans should be alarmed and activated to speak out now.

Resources to learn and act now

To take action on net neutrality, please see guidance from the Voices for Internet Freedom Coalition.

To learn more about SAALT’s efforts, check out our 2017 report “Power, Pain, Potential” that documents incidents of hate violence and xenophobic political rhetoric aimed at South Asian, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Middle Eastern, and Arab American communities in the year leading up to the 2016 presidential election. Stay tuned for an updated 2018 report that documents the year after the 2016 election.

If you have experienced an act of violence or discrimination, you can report it confidentially on SAALT’s intake form here or call our partners at the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law at 1-844-9-NO-HATE and get resources and support.

Lakshmi Sridaran
Director, National Policy and Advocacy, SAALT

Last Chance to Force Congress to Vote On and Pass a Clean DREAM Act

Since President Trump terminated the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in September, you have heard about our efforts to speak truth to power. During a 2-day mobilization in Washington, D.C. last month, South Asian DREAMer, leader, and SAALT ally Chirayu Patel asked elected officials at a rally on Capitol Hill, “What is the legacy you want to leave behind?” You heard SAALT’s Executive Director, Suman Raghunathan, demand a clean DREAM Act without any compromises on increased border enforcement that will negatively impact immigrant families.

Over the last three months, DREAMERs have been deported by the thousands, with over 100 DREAMers falling out of status every day because Congress’s failure to act. Additionally, the government is terminating Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for several countries that are still reeling from war, disease, and natural disasters. So far Nicaragua, Honduras, and Haiti have been on the chopping block. Nepal and others could be up next.

We are now at the end of the year and Congress needs to deliver.

Funding for the government expires this Friday, December 8th and Congress plans to pass a short-term Continuing Resolution (CR) to keep the lights on. This is likely the last must-pass spending bill of the year, and the last chance for us to get the DREAM Act and TPS legislation through Congress this year.

Here’s what you can do today to force Congress to vote on and pass a clean DREAM Act and TPS legislation now: 

Call your elected officials and tell them why they must include the DREAM Act in the last must-pass spending bill of the year. Urge them to withhold their vote on any spending bill that does not include a clean DREAM Act. It is critical that calls are made this week before a Continuing Resolution is passed on December 8th. Click here to find your Member of Congress.

See below for a sample script!

“I am calling to urge you to sign on to the bi-partisan DREAM Act of 2017. As a South Asian American constituent, I am calling on you to support the DREAM Act now and ensure that it is included in the year-end spending bill. 

This legislation would allow our DREAMers who are as American as you or me to remain in the only country they have ever known or called home. You may be surprised to know that there are at least 450,000 undocumented Indians alone in the U.S. and there are at least 23,000 Indians and Pakistanis who are eligible to remain in the country, be shielded from deportation, and legally work through the DREAM Act.

We need you to exercise courage and leadership on behalf of our families and our communities so we can all thrive. I urge you to sign on to a clean DREAM Act with no border enforcement. Will you commit to voting NO on a year-end spending bill that does not include the DREAM Act? I am happy to share more information if useful or connect you with South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT), a national organization representing our communities in Washington, D.C.” 

This Week In Hate: November 8- Hate Violence and Hate Rhetoric

Prepared by Radha Modi

Over the past week, six new incidents of hate violence occurred against South Asian, Muslim, and Middle Eastern communities marking the end of the first year of the Trump administration. The latest numbers in hate show over the past 12 months, there have been a total of 205 unique incidents of hate; a 58% increase from the previous year.   

There is a persistent increase in all categories of hate violence as shown in Figure 2. Verbal and written threats are by far the most common category of hate incidents with 83 occurring over the past year. Five of the six recent hate incidents involved written hate rhetoric or threats against mosques and local politicians.

For example, over the past week, numerous threats have been directed towards a mosque in Patterson, NJ and a mosque in Passaic, NJ. Further, hate-filled fliers were found in Hoboken, NJ with a picture of Ravi Bhalla, a local Sikh mayoral candidate, stating Don’t let TERRORISM take over our town! A day prior, unknown perpetrators sent mailers to Edison, NJ residents attacking local school board candidates.

 

The increase in verbal and written assaults points to a growing trend of sanctioned and normalized hate rhetoric that is xenophobic and Islamophobic by elected officials including Donald Trump. The rise in state-sponsored implicit or explicit hate rhetoric is encouraging the targeting of those perceived to be foreign and Muslim as well as other marginalized communities. For instance, after the truck attack of bikers by Sayfullo Saipov, President Trump tweeted out alarmist messages that supported his targeting of Muslim immigrants: “We must not allow ISIS to return, or enter, our country after defeating them in the Middle East and elsewhere. Enough!”, “I have just ordered Homeland Security to step up our already Extreme Vetting Program. Being politically correct is fine, but not for this!, andCHAIN MIGRATION must end now! Some people come in, and they bring their whole family with them, who can be truly evil. NOT ACCEPTABLE!”. In comparison, Trump has yet to call out the extremism of white shooters in Las Vegas, NV and Sutherland Springs, TX. These tweets, undoubtedly, are meant to encourage anti-immigrant sentiments and nativist fears in the U.S.

 

THIS WEEK IN HATE: November 1- Continued Increase in Hate Violence

Prepared by Radha Modi

As of November 1, 2017, there have been 199 documented incidents of hate violence against those who identify or are perceived as Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, South Asian, Arab, or Middle Eastern. Most notably, hate violence this year has increased by 53% compared to the previous year.

The three categories of hate violence, physical violence, verbal/written threats, and property damage, have all surpassed the totals from the year before the election as well. Verbal and written threats and hateful rhetoric are the most common type of violence with 78 documented incidents occurring since November 8, 2016. A recent incident of verbal assault occurred against a Muslim student, Fay Alwattari, at the University of Cincinnati by his music professor. The professor responded to Alwattari’s assignment with a barrage of incendiary comments such as: “The U.S. President’s first sworn duty is to protect America from enemies, and the greatest threat to our freedom is not the President, it is radical Islam. Review this list of Islamic terrorist attacks and then tell me about your hurt feelings.” University of Cincinnati is investigating the professor’s problematic behavior. In addition to verbal assaults, incidents of physical violence also continue to rise with three new incidents occurring in the past week including an attack on a Hindu Temple by an unknown suspect in Lexington, KY. Currently, the total number of physical assaults for this year are 68 incidents. Finally, property damage often consisting of vandalism comprises the third category of hate incidents with 53 unique incidents occurring since November 8, 2016.

Just this past weekend, a four foot cross wrapped in bacon was left at a mosque in Twin Falls, Idaho. Local law enforcement are investigating this incident as a hate crime.

Consistent with the numbers from last week, women who identify or are perceived as Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, South Asian, Arab, or Middle Eastern continue to be the most common target of hate making up 29% of hate violence in the SAALT database. Hate incidents against men, youth, and Muslim places of worship come in second with comparable percentages. Nineteen percent of hate violence is against youth, a slight increase from the previous week. On October 25th, Christopher Beckham harassed two Muslim girls wearing hijabs coming off of a school bus and threatened their father with a knife. He told them to “go back to their country” and that he would kill them when he got out of prison.

This Week In Hate: October 25 – The Vulnerability of Youth as Hate Violence Continues to Increase

Prepared by Radha Modi

This week’s report on hate violence against those who identify or are perceived as Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, South Asian, Arab, or Middle Eastern highlights two notable shifts in trends. For the first time, physical assaults post-election have surpassed pre-election numbers. Additionally, there has been an increase in hate incidents in the Midwest region of the U.S., with percentages close to the Western and Eastern regional percentages.

As we approach the close of the first year of Donald Trump’s presidency, the total number of hate incidents have increased to 191 resulting in a 46% increase from pre-election year to post-election year (see Figure 1).

Of the 191 reported hate incidents, 65 incidents are physical assaults, 77 incidents are verbal or written threats, and 50 incidents involve property damage (see Figure 2). The most dramatic increase in hate incidents has involved verbal and written assaults over the past year. Recently, a Delaware man, Gerard Medvec, is facing hate crime charges for spying on and threatening his neighbors who he thought were Muslim. Post-election totals on physical assaults have also surpassed the totals from pre-election year. Physical assaults include acts such as shoving, punching, pulling, and spitting by the perpetrators. On October 7th, a 43-year old white man walked into a convenience store in Seattle, WA, and pepper sprayed two men and one woman wearing hijab. This attack was preceded by an anti-Muslim rant in the store. Finally, property damage often consisting of vandalism comprises the third category of hate incidents. Mosques are the most common target of hate incidents involving property damage. For example, figure 3 demonstrates that 21% of hate incidents involve damage or vandalism of mosques and Muslim community centers. This past week, Dar Al Farooq Islamic Center in Minnesota, which was bombed in August, was broken into and burglarized.

The most common victims of hate incidents are often women. Twenty-nine percent of the 191 documented hate incidents are against women who identify or are perceived as Muslim, Sikh, South Asian, Middle Eastern, or Arab (see Figure 3). A majority of these hate incidents involve women wearing hijabs. Hate violence towards women underscores the role of intersectionality and the need for identifying these intersections in documenting hate.

The combination of gender, religious attire, skin color, accent, and other factors all play a part in how women are perceived and targeted in daily life. For men, as well, intersections of multiple factors contribute to how they are perceived and treated by others. Twenty-two percent of hate incidents are against men who identify or are perceived as Muslim, Sikh, South Asian, Middle Eastern, or Arab. Youth are also vulnerable to hate incidents due to the intersections of race, name, skin color, gender, and religion with young age. Eighteen percent of hate incidents involved students and youth (Youth numbers overlap with percentages of hate incidents against women and men). Incidents not only occur on the streets from strangers but also in institutional settings where others bully and haze them.

A recent incident stands out in highlighting the violence that youth who identify or are perceived as Muslim, Sikh, South Asian, Middle Eastern, or Arab face regularly, and the mental health crisis that can result from that trauma. Raheel Siddiqui, a young Muslim enlisted in the U.S. Marines, committed suicide during training this past March. According to his parents, his drill instructor incessantly hazed him for being Muslim. The instructor reportedly called him a terrorist and forced him to run laps until he collapsed. Superiors denied Raheel Siddiqui medical assistance and did not take seriously his threats to commit suicide. With increasing hate violence, community groups will need to hold institutional spaces such as schools, the military, and afterschool programs accountable in creating safe space for all youth.

Lastly, the rise in the number of hate incidents is regionally relevant (see Figure 4). The West Coast and East Coast continue to lead in hate incidents with slightly over half of incidents occurring in those regions of the U.S. Their lead, however, has shrunk over the weeks as the occurrence of hate incidents increased in the Midwest. Currently, 25% of hate incidents have occurred in places such as Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. Southern regions of the U.S. have the lowest number of incidents making up 18% of the total.

SAALT Slams White House’s Immigration ‘Priorities’ List as Unacceptable; Calls on Leaders to Pass Clean DREAM Act

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

In response to the White House’s release of a series of hard-line measures required in exchange for allowing DREAMers to remain in the United States through the proposed DREAM Act, Suman Raghunathan, Executive Director of SAALT, released the following statement:

“SAALT has vocally supported the passage of a clean DREAM Act since the Trump administration’s decision to terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program on September 5, 2017. In demanding a clean DREAM Act, we are stating unequivocally that any legislation must not include measures to increase border or interior enforcement, no cuts to family immigration, and no threats to legal immigration. All of these unacceptable provisions were included in the Administration’s priorities list issued this weekend.

Specifically, these ‘priorities’ include ramping up border and interior enforcement, including the construction of a wall along the Mexico border, a further crackdown on sanctuary cities, an extreme cap on refugees and asylum seekers, and a deep slash to family and legal immigration numbers.

It is a patently false construct to assume that ramping up enforcement and cutting immigration from every angle is a necessary step to ensure a legislative solution, one that is desperately needed after the inhumane rescission of the DACA program by this administration.

Over 27,000 Asian Americans, including 5,500 Indians and Pakistanis, have already received DACA. An additional estimated 17,000 individuals from India and 6,000 from Pakistan are eligible for DACA, placing India in the top ten countries for DACA eligibility. These individuals and families must be protected through legislation without a barrage of unconscionable measures attached therein.

Immigrants are not a threat to our national security. Instead, as numerous studies have shown, they enhance our nation and give us the opportunity to live up to our ideals as a country. Moreover, two-thirds of Americans support the DREAM Act as well as over 50% of elected officials across party lines.

With this public mandate behind them, our leaders must stay strong and ensure that this administration’s ‘priorities’ do not serve as a starting point for any bargaining at the expense of immigrant communities. What we deserve is a clean DREAM Act rooted in dignity and inclusion for all immigrant communities. We will not settle for anything less.”

***

South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) is a national, nonpartisan, non-profit organization that fights for racial justice and advocates for the civil rights of all South Asians in the United States. Our ultimate vision is dignity and full inclusion for all.

Contact: Vivek Trivedi – vivek@saalt.org

This Week In Hate – October 11: The Spatial Spread of Hate Violence Pre and Post Election

Prepared by Radha Modi

At the 11 month mark since the election of Donald Trump, there have been 184 documented incidents of hate violence against those who identify or are perceived as Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, South Asian, Arab, or Middle Eastern compared to the total of 130 from the year before the election. The rise in hate violence this year is a 42% increase from the pre-election year. Further, SAALT finds that new incidents occur at the rate of four to five a week. For example, since the last SAALT hate violence report on October 3, 2017, there have been five new reported hate incidents.

Figure 2 organizes incidents of hate violence into descriptive categories and compares totals pre and post-election. The three categories of hate violence are incidents of physical violence, incidents of verbal/written threats, and incidents of property damage. Verbal and written threats and hateful rhetoric are the most common type of violence against those who identify or are perceived as Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, South Asian, Arab, or Middle Eastern. Since November 8, 2016, there have been 73 documented verbal and written hate incidents. While there has been a dramatic increase in hate rhetoric over the past 11 months compared to the prior year, many verbal and written incidents go unreported. Actual physical attack due to hate and bias is the second most common type of hate violence against communities represented by SAALT. There have been 63 physical assaults in the last 11 months. This total is on par with the total from the pre-election year. Finally, property damage often consisting of vandalism comprises the third category of hate incidents with 48 unique incidents occurring since November 8, 2016.

The five most recent incidents of violence occurring over the past week have targeted Muslim families, businesses, and places of worship. On October 5, Islamophobic flyers were found on the Western Washington University Campus. This is the third time in the last year that WWU has had flyers on the campus targeting communities of color. On the same day, stickers threatening Muslims were found in a government building bathroom in Portland, Oregon. A day later, on October 6, a Muslim owned store in Albuquerque, New Mexico was vandalized with the phrase “Kill em all.” Further, on October 7, a billboard for a local city council candidate in Raleigh, North Carolina,, Zainab Baloch, was vandalized with black graffiti stating “Sand N******” and “Trump.” Then two days later, on October 9, a mosque located in Farmville, Virginia had the words “F**K God & Allah” scrawled on its walls. These incidents of hate rhetoric and property damage demonstrate the spread of hate violence across the U.S. from the Southeast to the Northwest. The map below illustrates the spread of hate violence across the U.S. over the last two years using differentiating pins between incidents that occurred pre-election (orange pins) and post-election (purple pins).

Civil Rights Groups, North Carolina State and Local Officials Call For An End to Hate Violence

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Suman Raghunathan, Executive Director of South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT), issued the following statement subsequent to SAALT’s October 7 town hall on hate violence in Cary, North Carolina in collaboration with state and local officials, law enforcement, and community based organizations:

“America’s highest ideals are rooted in the fact that we are all created equal and have the right to pray, love, live with freedom. Nevertheless, our communities continue to be attacked and targeted via legislation based upon our real and perceived religion. This has to end.”

“From three Muslim Bans to contemptible support of white supremacy, this administration has encouraged and emboldened hate violence against our communities.  Since the election of President Trump, SAALT has tracked over 179 incidents of hate violence aimed at South Asian, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Arab, and Middle Eastern American, already surpassing totals from the year leading up to the 2016 election.”

“In February 2015 three young Muslim Chapel Hill students and activists were murdered in their home by their neighbor.  In June 2016 Army Reserve officer Russel Thomas Langford left bacon outside of a mosque, harassed congregants in the parking lot, and then made death threats, which according to Capt. John Kivett of the Sheriff’s Office, included telling “people at the mosque that he would kill them and bury them behind the mosque.”  In May 2017, vulgar Islamophobic cartoons depicting a pig performing a sexual act on top of a Muslim man were posted across the residential halls at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.”

“These incidents reflect increasing bigotry and division targeting our communities across the country. This administration has done nothing to prevent or condemn vigilante violence or to denounce the views of die-hard racists, and has rather used the full power of the federal government to refill our nation’s reservoir of hate with every anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant policy and tweet it hurls.”

“In response to the uptick in hate violence targeting South Asian, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Arab, and Middle Eastern communities around the country, SAALT is hosting regional town halls this year on key issues for our communities. SAALT thanks Attorney General Josh Stein, Senator Angela Bryant, Senator Jay Chaudhuri, Former Representative Rick Glazier, Farris Barakat, Chapel Hill Police Chief Chris Blue, the North Carolina members of the National Coalition of South Asian Organizations (NCSO), and our allies and sponsors for collaborating on this urgent town hall.

In this time of political and social divisiveness, an answer to hate violence seems impossible, yet the solution remains clear: we must remain united for action and stand with each other to demand that all Americans are afforded full inclusion and justice in our country.  We must refuse to allow prejudice to go unchecked as we work to form a more perfect union together.”

*** 

Quotes:

Attorney General Josh Stein:

“Criminals who target people with violence because of who they are, where they are from, or how they pray must be condemned. Hate crimes go against everything this country stands for. I am committed to strengthening North Carolina’s response to hate crimes and working collaboratively to prevent these crimes that incite fear and vulnerability among our neighbors.”

State Senator Jay Chaudhuri:

“America was founded on the ideal that all of us are created equal. Hate violence that targets our communities targets our country’s founding values. America has no room for violence based on someone’s race, religion, identity, and nation of origin, and we must denounce these acts in the strongest possible terms. I am committed to working with state and local authorities, and community leaders, to make sure North Carolina stands up to hate and not on the sidelines.”

Rick Glazier – Executive Director, North Carolina Justice Center

“A trust is placed in each of us-by future generations not yet born-to fulfill our maintenance obligation to fight poverty and disease, ignorance and bigotry, and apathy and distrust.”

Chavi Koneru – Executive Director, North Carolina Asian Americans Together:

“As an organization bringing to light the issues facing the Asian American community in North Carolina, we are greatly concerned about the rise in hate violence towards members of our community who are Muslim or perceived to be Muslim. This town hall is beginning a discussion we need to have in this state about collectively addressing the issue of hate violence and supporting policy changes that can bring it to an end.”

Ritu Kaur – Kiran Inc.

“Do you realize hate crimes and domestic violence have similar traumatic effect on the victims and on the community? Let us speak out.”

Farris Barakat – The Lighthouse Projects

“As prejudice and discrimination threaten more people and is normalized in offices as high up as the presidency, an active and grassroots effort to counter this darkness is a civic duty on the people of consciousness.”

Kulpreet Singh – Sikh Gurdwara

“Each of us is a tremendous resource, and the world is a better place when we communicate and work together because of, not despite, our differences.”

Chris Blue – Town of Chapel Hill, Chief of Police and Executive Director for Community Safety

“I am honored to have been among the impressive panelists who spoke so passionately today about the nature of hate in our society and the determination and compassion that will be required of all of us to overcome it.  I am also heartened by the good work going on in North Carolina toward making this a place of inclusivity for everyone.”

***

Contact: Vivek Trivedi – vivek@saalt.org

This Week In Hate: October 5 – Hate Crimes, Racial Profiling, and the Link to Systemic Discrimination

Prepared by Radha Modi

Between November 8, 2016 and October 3, 2017, there have been 179 documented hate incidents against those who identify or are perceived as Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, South Asian, Arab, or Middle Eastern compared to the total of 130 from the year prior to the election of Donald Trump. The increase in hate violence during the last eleven months is symptomatic of the normalization and sanctioning of hate rhetoric by those in positions of power and influence. Concurrent with the rise in hate incidents and normalization of hate rhetoric, there is also further deepening of institutionalized violence such as racial profiling and discrimination against multiple marginalized communities.

Hate incidents fall under three broad categories of: 1) property damage due to vandalism, robbery, arson, or other forms of destruction, 2) physical assaults such as pulling of attire, shoving, or punching, and 3) verbal and written assaults either in person or through email or flyers. Of the 179 hate incidents against those who identify or are perceived as Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, South Asian, Arab, or Middle Eastern, 63 are incidents of physical assaults, 71 are incidents of verbal/written assaults, and 45 are incidents of property damage. The most notable instance of physical assault occurred in Houston, TX, on September 21, 2017. A Lyft driver assumed to be Pakistani and Muslim was verbally and physically assaulted by the passenger, Matthew Dunn.” The assault left the driver traumatized and fearful of his life. The anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim sentiment is characteristic of most hate incidents captured in SAALT’s database. While verbal or written assaults are absent of physical violence, they are equally traumatic for victims. On September 15, 2017, a white supremacist wearing a “F**k ISIS” t-shirt threatened to kill the patrons of a hookah lounge in Lake Forest, California. Then three days later on the 18th, vandals spray-painted multiple hate messages on a store owned by an Indian family. One alarming message stated: “Kill All Hindus.”

Concurrently, the violence that is happening on the streets is also institutionalized through racial profiling and discrimination of those who identify or are perceived as Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, South Asian, Arab, or Middle Eastern. Racial profiling is a common institutionalized tactic used by law enforcement that unjustly targets and terrorizes communities of color. The ACLU reports that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) seized and searched the phones of the Alasaad family, who are Muslim and have American Citizenship, without a warrant and held the family for hours at the U.S.-Canadian border. More recently, a Muslim man was arrested, and his family was detained for three hours when he tried to deposit a check at his local bank in Wichita, Kansas. The family feels traumatized by the encounter and worries about their safety in Kansas.

As hate violence on the streets and the targeting of Muslims by law enforcement are routinized, the systemic discrimination of those who identify or are perceived as Muslim also deepens in major institutions such as education, labor, or housing. A Facebook page selling and renting homes in LaSalle, Illinois, up until recently asked members interested in joining the Facebook group: “Are you Muslim or terrorist?” A private company, Verly Pro Moving Labor, set up the Facebook page and after complaints took down the question. Also, a university professor, forced to resign, is suing his former employer, University of Central Florida, on grounds that he suffered discrimination as a Black and Muslim faculty member. These are just some of the examples that demonstrate how targeting of marginalized communities is criminalized and institutionalized.

This Week in Hate: Sixteen Years after 9/11 and Hate Violence is on the Rise

Prepared by Radha Modi

September 11, 2017 marked the 16 year anniversary of 9/11, and hate violence against those who identify or are perceived as Muslim, Sikh, South Asian, Arab, Middle Eastern, and Asian continues to rise. While the campaign and election of Donald Trump is heralded as the impetus for the growing hate speech and violence nationally, Islamophobia, anti-Blackness, and anti-immigrant sentiment had become normalized and institutionalized in the U.S. over the last sixteen years: from profiling by TSA to police brutality to excessive delays in processing of immigration applications. Trump as well as others would not have been able to advocate and sanction white supremacy so deftly had it not been for the continued embedding of these principles in the foundations of U.S. governance.

The latest numbers in hate show that in the ten months since the election, a total of 168 incidents of hate have occurred against those who identify or are perceived to be Muslim or immigrant. Figure 1 illustrates that the percent increase is up by 29% as compared to the year prior to the election which had a total of 130 incidents.

There is a persistent increase in all categories of hate violence as shown in Figure 2. Verbal and written hate speech – at 68 unique incidents and property damage at 40 unique incidents  – have surpassed the totals from the prior year. Acts of physical violence, now at 60 incidents, will soon exceed the total of 64 from last year. Recent examples of these hateful acts occurred over the previous week. On September 4th in Ohio, a truck driver fired a gun thirteen times at a Muslim woman in her car. She was struck four times and is currently recovering at a local hospital in Columbus, Ohio. CAIR is urging police to investigate this crime as a hate crime. Then on September 6, a Sikh Temple in Hollywood, CA was vandalized with hate speech. The words, “Nuke all Sikhs,” was scrawled on the walls of the temple. Further, a Filipino-Turkish man was beaten by a white supremacist in a parking lot in Fullerton, CA on September 7th.

Figure 3 demonstrates that the rise in the number of hate incidents are regionally relevant. The West Coast continues to lead in hate incidents with a third of incidents occurring in that region of the U.S. The hate violence occurring in the Eastern and Midwestern regions make up about half of all incidents. Southern regions of the U.S. have the lowest number of incidents making up 16% of the total. The higher proportion of documented hate crimes in certain regions is due to a variety of issues: 1) a higher proportion of the population that is of color and immigrant, 2) an ease and access to reporting structures, 3) the visibility of the crime, and 4) the visibility of the victim.