This Week in Hate – August 11 – The Significance of Intersectionality in Hate Violence

Prepared for SAALT by Radha Modi



There are now 141 documented hate incidents against those who identify or are perceived as Muslim, Sikh, South Asian, Asian, Middle Eastern, or Arab since the election of Donald Trump (figure 1). Of these 141 hate incidents, almost half (59 incidents) are verbal and written assaults, an additional third (49 incidents) are physical assaults, and about a quarter (33 incidents) are property damage (figure 2). The total number of verbal and written assaults post-election have already surpassed the pre-election total. Property damage will soon surpass the pre-election total with the ongoing attacks on mosques. The total number of physical assaults is steadily increasing.  About half of the physical assaults are against Muslim and immigrant women (figure 2).

Women by far are the most common target of hate incidents. Thirty-three percent of the 141 documented hate incidents are against women who identify or are perceived as Muslim, Sikh, South Asian, Asian, Middle Eastern, or Arab (figure 3). Women wearing hijabs are, in particular, vulnerable to hate violence. 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 instance, Noor Tagouri, a Muslim American journalist, who wears a hijab, was told to “kill herself” by a fellow passenger as she boarded a domestic flight in the US[1]. This form of routine dehumanization is not only rooted in Islamophobia but also misogyny, xenophobia, and racism. While men seem less vulnerable, they are also a common target post-election. Eighteen percent of hate incidents are against men who identify or are perceived as Muslim, Sikh, South Asian, Asian, Middle Eastern, or Arab (figure 3). For men, as well, intersections of multiple factors contribute to how they are perceived and treated by others. Recently, Farid el-Baghdadi, a brown-skinned food truck vendor selling Middle Eastern sandwiches, was pelted with eggs multiple times in Queens, New York. One of the eggs had a note attached to it that read: “F**k Arabs and F**k Muslims”. The perpetrators used Farid el-Baghdadi’s skin color, occupation, and name to profile and target him.

The third major target of hate incidents is young people. Twenty-one percent of hate incidents involved students and youth. Incidents not only occur on the streets from strangers but also in schools where they are vulnerable to bullying. Another common target is mosques or Muslim organizations making up about a fifth of hate incidents. On average, about 3 to 4 mosques or Muslim organizations are targeted monthly with some mosques having multiple attacks this year. Just this past week, Dar Al-Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington, Minnesota was bombed by unknown assailants. This is the second time in the last 30 days that a Minnesota mosque has been targeted. Despite the incessant violence against Muslim communities, the Trump administration has yet to release a statement denouncing the bombing[2] and thus indirectly sanctioning the violence against marginalized communities.