Two years too long: Repeal the Muslim Ban

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 27, 2019

Two years ago today, the Trump Administration announced its Muslim and refugee ban. From the ban to the militarization of the border to restrictions on asylum seekers, the Trump Administration’s racist policies are tearing families apart. These racist policies are enacted in an environment where xenophobic political rhetoric is all too frequent.

In SAALT’s 2018 report Communities on Fire, we found that one in five perpetrators of hate violence incidents referenced President Trump, a Trump policy, or a Trump campaign slogan. This data demonstrates a strong link between this administration’s anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant rhetoric and hate violence. We have documented over 300 incidents of hate violence to date since November 2016 aimed at South Asian, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Middle Eastern, and Arab Americans.

As we welcome a new Congress and as the government reopens, it is imperative that elected officials exercise their leadership to terminate the Muslim Ban and ensure it is never replicated. SAALT supports legislative solutions that will at the very least block funding to implement the Muslim Ban, but ideally limit executive authority to institute discriminatory bans in the future.

Two years of a Muslim Ban is two years too many.  This anniversary must be a call to action to Congress to use their power to end this example of state-sponsored discrimination and keep our communities and nation whole.

CONTACT: Sophia Qureshi, sophia@saalt.org

New FBI hate crimes statistics show disturbing surge in hate crimes

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

November 13th, 2018

Earlier today, the FBI released its annual hate crimes statistics report for 2017. The data, while a vast underestimate of the violence our communities face, continues to show an increase in hate crimes for the third year in a row. The number of hate crimes reported to the FBI in 2017 went up to 7,175 from 6,121 in 2016, representing a 17% increase, a significant jump from the five percent increase between 2015 and 2016. This is an alarming upward trend of hate crimes – now consistently surpassing the spike immediately after September 11, 2001. The surge in hate crimes against Sikh and Arab Americans, which rose by 243% and 100% respectively since 2016 is particularly disturbing. And, while the overall number of hate crimes targeting Muslim Americans decreased by 11%, the 2017 total of 273 anti-Muslim hate crimes continues to be a historically high number. Since November 2016, SAALT’s data on incidents of hate violence aimed at South Asian, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Middle Eastern, and Arab Americans show that over 80% of the documented incidents are motivated by anti-Muslim sentiment.

Underreporting of hate crimes by local law enforcement agencies to the FBI remains a major problem. According to ProPublica’s “Documenting Hate” project, thousands of local law enforcement agencies choose not to report hate crimes statistics to the FBI at all; of those that do participate, 88% reported zero hate crimes in 2016 closely mirroring the 87% who reported zero hate crimes in 2017. A separate ProPublica investigation revealed that 120 federal agencies have not complied with mandates to submit hate crime data to the FBI. In fact, the FBI itself does not consistently submit the hate crimes it investigates to its own database. We echo the concern shared by our partners at the Arab American Institute, identifying glaring omissions from the 2017 hate crimes statistics. In particular, the failure to include Srinivas Kuchibhotla’s 2017 murder at the hands of a white supremacist in Olathe, Kansas. His killer, Adam Purinton, was convicted on a federal hate crimes charge earlier this year.

The lack of political will on the part of the Department of Justice to collect this critical data combined with this administration’s flawed approach to understanding and addressing hate crimes makes us all less safe and places a burden of data collection on communities. Additionally, this administration’s continued refusal to acknowledge the growing problem of white supremacy ignores the primary motivation behind the violence targeting our communities. The 2017 FBI data shows that of the over 6,000 hate crimes where the race of the offender was reported, over 50% of the perpetrators were identified as white. SAALT’s data as illustrated in our 2018 report Communities on Fire report found that perpetrators of hate violence referenced President Trump, a Trump administration policy, or a Trump campaign slogan in one out of every five hate incidents documented. White supremacist violence, fanned by the flames of racist rhetoric and policies at the federal level, has devastated marginalized communities. Until this administration confronts this crisis, we will continue to face a surge in hate crimes aimed at our communities.