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.

SAALT’s Congressional Briefing on Hate Violence Sounds the Alarm for Justice

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

On Sep­tem­ber 12, 2017, one day after the 16th anniver­sary of the trag­ic attacks of Sep­tem­ber 11, South Asian Amer­i­cans Lead­ing Togeth­er (SAALT), a nation­al civ­il rights and racial jus­tice orga­ni­za­tion, held a Con­gres­sion­al brief­ing to address the ris­ing tide of hate vio­lence aimed at South Asian, Mus­lim, Sikh, Hin­du, Arab, and Mid­dle East­ern Amer­i­cans under the cur­rent admin­is­tra­tion. SAALT was joined by five mem­bers of Con­gres­sion­al lead­er­ship and nation­al part­ner orga­ni­za­tions to denounce this admin­is­tra­tion’s anti-Mus­lim, anti-immi­grant poli­cies that embold­en hate against our com­mu­ni­ties.

“Post‑9/11 has trans­formed into present-Trump, with hate vio­lence reach­ing lev­els that rival the after­math of the Sep­tem­ber 11 attacks,” stat­ed Suman Raghu­nathan, Exec­u­tive Direc­tor of SAALT. “The White House has a sworn respon­si­bil­i­ty to con­demn and pre­vent all forms of hate. Today’s brief­ing with Con­gres­sion­al lead­ers is an impor­tant step in mak­ing sure this admin­is­tra­tion does not renounce its respon­si­bil­i­ties to our com­mu­ni­ties and nation.”

The cur­rent admin­is­tra­tion has been fun­da­men­tal to the growth and audac­i­ty of white suprema­cist and Islam­o­pho­bic move­ments in the Unit­ed States. The White House has unleashed numer­ous divi­sive poli­cies that have awok­en and embold­ened hate against our com­mu­ni­ties, includ­ing sev­er­al per­mu­ta­tions of the “Mus­lim Ban,” rescind­ing Deferred Action for Child­hood Arrivals (DACA), and sup­port­ing the RAISE Act, among oth­ers.

Since the elec­tion, SAALT has doc­u­ment­ed over 150 inci­dents of hate vio­lence against those who iden­ti­fy or are per­ceived as Mus­lim, Sikh, Hin­du, South Asian, Mid­dle East­ern, or Arab Amer­i­can, already sur­pass­ing totals from the year lead­ing up to the 2016 elec­tion. Accord­ing to the South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter, anti-Mus­lim hate groups grew by 197% in 2016, and, accord­ing to the FBI, anti-Mus­lim hate crimes increased by 67% in 2015.

“SAALT, along with our nation­al part­ners, will con­tin­ue to demand and strive for a just and inclu­sive soci­ety for all Amer­i­cans,” stat­ed Ms. Raghu­nathan. “We stand ready to work with Con­gres­sion­al lead­ers to mount a deci­sive oppo­si­tion to big­otry and divi­sion of all kinds and to rein­force our com­mu­ni­ties’ impor­tant place in the fab­ric of our nation.”

——

Co-Chairs, Sponsors, Speakers, Partners, and Quotes:

Honorary Co-Chairs of the briefing include: 
Sen­a­tor Richard Blu­men­thal (CT);
Sen­a­tor Ben Cardin (MD);
Sen­a­tor Tam­my Duck­worth (IL)

Member Co-Sponsors of the briefing include: 
Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Judy Chu (CA-27);
Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Max­ine Waters (CA-43);
Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Bar­bara Lee (CA-13);
Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Prami­la Jaya­pal (WA‑7);
Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Ro Khan­na (CA-17)

Members of Congress who joined the briefing include:
Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Judy Chu (CA-27);
Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Prami­la Jaya­pal (WA‑7);
Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Ro Khan­na (CA-17)

Partner organizations include:
South Asian Net­work;
Desis Ris­ing Up and Mov­ing;
Sikh Coali­tion;
DACA Net­work

Representative Judy Chu (CA-27), Chair, Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus:
“Thank you to South Asian Amer­i­cans Lead­ing Togeth­er for orga­niz­ing today’s brief­ing and being such a strong leader in the fight to defeat hate. Since the 2016 Pres­i­den­tial elec­tion we have wit­nessed height­ened xeno­pho­bic and anti-Mus­lim rhetoric and vio­lence tar­get­ing com­mu­ni­ties of col­or across the nation. This hate, rhetoric, and the vio­lence is par­tic­u­lar­ly alarm­ing because it is rem­i­nis­cent of what we saw in the after­math of Sep­tem­ber 11 attacks, when Mus­lims, South Asians, Sikhs and oth­ers became the tar­gets of hate. In 2017 we’ve seen racial ten­sions come to a head, which has been large­ly fueled by white suprema­cists. The Trump admin­is­tra­tion’s dan­ger­ous polit­i­cal rhetoric has explic­it­ly tar­get­ed South Asian, Mus­lim, Sikh, Arab, and Mid­dle East­ern com­mu­ni­ties, such as the Pres­i­den­t’s ill-con­ceived and un-Amer­i­can Mus­lim trav­el ban. But the xeno­pho­bic sen­ti­ment is also being dri­ven by xeno­pho­bic poli­cies such as Pres­i­dent Trump’s deci­sion to ter­mi­nate the DACA pro­gram, and its desire to upend our fam­i­ly based immi­gra­tion sys­tem. Our nation’s val­ues affirm that all peo­ple deserve to be wel­comed and to feel safe no mat­ter what they look like or who they wor­ship. Hate has no place in Amer­i­ca, and we have to con­tin­ue to remain vig­i­lant in pro­tect­ing the rights of all Amer­i­cans against this ris­ing tide of hate vio­lence.”

Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-7):
“The hate vio­lence we are fac­ing in 2017 is not new. But what we are fac­ing, what it feels like, is a sanc­tioned hate that comes from places like the White House. We ask that the Pres­i­dent cease his incen­di­ary rhetoric that helps to fuel many of these hate crimes. It is crys­tal clear that we still have a tremen­dous amount of work to do, and that work must come from lead­ers in Con­gress and from our com­mu­ni­ties insist­ing that we are not a coun­try that con­tin­ues this anti-immi­grant xeno­pho­bic rhetoric. You can tie a direct thread between every­thing that has been hap­pen­ing and the lead­er­ship that comes from the White House. It isn’t enough just to be speak out, there needs to be account­abil­i­ty that actu­al­ly takes direct action to ensure that the Pres­i­dent under­stands that he is the Pres­i­dent of all of the Unit­ed States of Amer­i­ca. Let’s see every defeat as an oppor­tu­ni­ty to grow our move­ment, and let’s see every win as a vic­to­ry in our step to push for that more per­fect union.”

Representative Ro Khanna (CA-17):
“It’s time that we, togeth­er as a nation, speak open­ly and respect­ful­ly about how to end any hate and vio­lence direct­ed towards Mus­lim, Arab, and South Asian com­mu­ni­ties. I will always stand up against racism and vio­lence. To those who have faced prej­u­dice know that you are not alone and we are with you.”

Con­tact:  Vivek Trive­di — vivek@saalt.org

Civil Rights Coalition Denounces ACT For America’s Anti-Muslim Online Campaign; Calls on the President to #CounterACTHate

Wash­ing­ton – Civ­il rights lead­ers, faith based, human rights, and com­mu­ni­ty orga­ni­za­tions con­demn today’s big­ot­ed, anti-Mus­lim online cam­paign by ACT for Amer­i­ca, report­ed­ly the nation’s largest anti-Mus­lim hate group.  This online cam­paign was sched­uled for just two days before the anniver­sary of Sep­tem­ber 11 to tar­get and man­u­fac­ture hatred for Amer­i­can Mus­lims at a time when vio­lence against Mus­lim, Arab, South Asian, and Sikh com­mu­ni­ties is reach­ing his­toric highs.

ACT orig­i­nal­ly planned to coor­di­nate 67 anti-Mus­lim ral­lies across 36 states under the theme “Amer­i­ca First.”  How­ev­er, after thou­sands of Amer­i­cans came out in peace­ful resis­tance to white suprema­cy and racism in Char­lottesville and Boston, ACT decid­ed to call off its ral­lies and shift to today’s online cam­paign, a clear sig­nal that mes­sages of jus­tice and sol­i­dar­i­ty are drown­ing out mes­sages of hate nation­wide.

This is not the first time civ­il rights groups and anti-racist pro­tes­tors stared down ACT’s big­otry.  In June ACT held anti-Mus­lim ral­lies in 30 cities across the nation under the theme “March Against Shari­ah”.  This cam­paign was met with strong resis­tance from civ­il rights groups who held alter­na­tive events that telegraphed calls for love, fair­ness, and jus­tice. The Trump admin­is­tra­tion was silent in response.

ACT’s founder, Brigitte Gabriel, has made her racism clear. She has said, “Every prac­tic­ing Mus­lim is a rad­i­cal Mus­lim” and has argued, out­ra­geous­ly, that Mus­lims are a “nat­ur­al threat to civ­i­lized peo­ple of the world, par­tic­u­lar­ly West­ern soci­ety.”  In a video mes­sage launch­ing the Amer­i­ca First ral­lies, Ms. Gabriel exclaims, “Let’s show our pres­i­dent that we are behind him in secur­ing our nation.” In accor­dance with the big­otry that ACT pro­motes, its pre­vi­ous anti-Mus­lim ral­lies have attract­ed a host of armed mili­tia-type groups and white nation­al­ists.

Like­wise, Pres­i­dent Trump has made no secret of his big­otry„ stat­ing on the record, “I think Islam hates us” and mov­ing for­ward with his administration’s dogged pur­suit of a “Mus­lim Ban,” among oth­er poli­cies.  The words and actions of the admin­is­tra­tion, includ­ing high-lev­el advi­sors who are known stan­dard-bear­ers for white suprema­cist move­ments, as well as the Pres­i­dent him­self, increas­ing­ly fuel and val­i­date vio­lence tar­get­ing Mus­lims and peo­ple per­ceived as Mus­lim. The FBI’s 2015 hate crimes sta­tis­tics, the most updat­ed data avail­able, show a 67% increase in hate crimes against Mus­lims in 2015, while vio­lence aimed at South Asian, Sikh, and Arab com­mu­ni­ties con­tin­ue to rise. The xeno­pho­bic state­ments by the Pres­i­dent and Gabriel run counter to the val­ues of jus­tice and inclu­siv­i­ty that we seek to uphold.

Peace­ful resis­tance by civ­il rights groups, immi­grant and faith com­mu­ni­ties, and com­mu­ni­ties of col­or has been the strongest coun­ter­weight to the insults and injuries of white suprema­cists and this admin­is­tra­tion. We demand this admin­is­tra­tion, and all elect­ed and appoint­ed offi­cials, con­demn groups that ped­dle hate in the strongest pos­si­ble terms, and back that con­dem­na­tion with swift action and poli­cies that con­tribute to the trans­for­ma­tion of our insti­tu­tions. The hatred must stop now. As a coali­tion of diverse orga­ni­za­tions rep­re­sent­ing com­mu­ni­ties of col­or and immi­grants at the nation­al, state, and local lev­els, we are com­mit­ted to con­demn­ing big­otry of all kinds and advanc­ing the prin­ci­ples of racial jus­tice.

Suman Raghu­nathan, Exec­u­tive Direc­tor, South Asian Amer­i­cans Lead­ing Togeth­er, said, “ACT for America’s racism and fear mon­ger­ing are incom­pat­i­ble with core Amer­i­can val­ues of jus­tice and equal­i­ty in a nation where peo­ple of col­or will con­sti­tute a major­i­ty of res­i­dents with­in the next two decades.  ACT’s deci­sion to shift from nation­wide ral­lies to an online cam­paign, while still tox­ic, is in no small terms a vic­to­ry and emblem­at­ic of the pow­er of stand­ing togeth­er, unit­ed from all faiths and back­grounds against big­otry. The Trump admin­is­tra­tion must end its anti-Mus­lim, anti-immi­grant cam­paign that embold­ens hate groups to com­mit hor­rif­ic acts of vio­lence against our com­mu­ni­ties. Silence is no longer an option. The Pres­i­dent, along with all elect­ed and appoint­ed offi­cials, must con­demn Islam­o­pho­bia and white suprema­cy and ensure that our com­mu­ni­ties can live in a just and inclu­sive soci­ety for all Amer­i­cans.”

This Week In Hate: August 25 — Hate Violence Post Charlottesville

Pre­pared for SAALT by Rad­ha Modi

As of August 22, 2017, there have been 150 hate inci­dents against those who iden­ti­fy or are per­ceived as Mus­lim, Sikh, South Asian, Arab, Mid­dle East­ern, and Asian. The new total sur­pass­es the pre­vi­ous year’s (marked as Novem­ber 2015 to Novem­ber 2016) total by 20 inci­dents, as shown in Fig­ure 1. With the sup­port from Don­ald Trump, after the events of Char­lottesville, VA, white suprema­cists, neo-Nazis, and white nation­al­ists feel encour­aged to con­tin­ue their vio­lence against immi­grants and com­mu­ni­ties of col­or. For exam­ple, on August 20, 2017, a neigh­bor­hood in Alame­da, CA, was strewn with swasti­ka-adorned fly­ers. These fly­ers depict­ed a swasti­ka over the image of a Mus­lim woman in a hijab with the words “Help me kill you, stu­pid.” Don­ald Trump’s lack of unequiv­o­cal denounce­ment of white suprema­cists leads to wide­spread endan­ger­ment of many mar­gin­al­ized com­mu­ni­ties.

While the pat­terns of the most com­mon type of hate inci­dents have not changed from pre­vi­ous reports, Fig­ure 2 illus­trates that these types of inci­dents are steadi­ly increas­ing week by week. In par­tic­u­lar, there are 53 inci­dents of phys­i­cal assaults against those who iden­ti­fy or are per­ceived as Mus­lim, Sikh, South Asian, Arab, Mid­dle East­ern, and Asian that have been report­ed over the last nine months. Just this past week, in Cleve­land, OH, an immi­grant man was phys­i­cal­ly attacked and expe­ri­enced sig­nif­i­cant head and face injuries after being vio­lent­ly knocked out. To learn more about this and oth­er report­ed hate inci­dents, refer to SAALT’s Acts of Hate Data­base.

Most hate inci­dents are being report­ed in the west­ern and east­ern regions of the U.S., mak­ing up about two-thirds of all report­ed hate vio­lence, as shown in Fig­ure 3. Addi­tion­al­ly, the high­est pro­por­tions of reports are from the states of Cal­i­for­nia and New York where there are greater num­bers of immi­grants and com­mu­ni­ties of col­or. In future reports, we will pro­vide an inter­ac­tive map of all hate inci­dents across the U.S., as doc­u­ment­ed in the Acts of Hate Data­base.

Combating Islamophobia — SAALT welcomes the 2017–2018 Young Leaders Institute cohort

From July 19–21, SAALT wel­comed the 2017–2018 class of the Young Lead­ers Insti­tute (YLI) at a con­ven­ing in Sil­ver Spring, Mary­land. This year marks the sixth cohort of young adults SAALT has trained in lead­er­ship skills for social change on cam­pus and in our com­mu­ni­ties. The 2017–2018 cohort includes 16 out­stand­ing, diverse youth who have devel­oped cre­ative and thought­ful projects focused on this year’s theme of Com­bat­ing Islam­o­pho­bia in South Asian Amer­i­can com­mu­ni­ties and broad­ly through civic engage­ment.

Fol­low­ing a com­pet­i­tive appli­ca­tion process, YLI Fel­lows took part in a three-day train­ing work­shop where they learned the his­to­ry of immi­gra­tion and Islam­o­pho­bia in Amer­i­ca, built orga­niz­ing and direct action skills, con­nect­ed with activists and men­tors, and explored social change strate­gies around issues that affect South Asian and immi­grant com­mu­ni­ties in the Unit­ed States. Learn more about each Fel­low’s respec­tive YLI project here. See pic­tures from the con­ven­ing here.

SAALT is thank­ful to the train­ers who pro­vid­ed vital insights at the YLI con­ven­ing, includ­ing Dr. Maha Hilal (Insti­tute for Pol­i­cy Stud­ies); Ter­ri John­son (Cen­ter for New Com­mu­ni­ty); Noor Mir (D.C. Jus­tice for Mus­lims Coali­tion); and Darak­shan Raja (Wash­ing­ton Peace Cen­ter).

“I had an amaz­ing expe­ri­ence at YLI,” stat­ed Shilpa, one of SAALT’s YLI Fel­lows. “I met a great com­mu­ni­ty of South Asians com­mit­ted to social jus­tice and com­bat­ing var­i­ous forms of oppres­sion in the com­mu­ni­ty.  I also heard from amaz­ing orga­niz­ers who taught us about direct action, the his­to­ry of the war on ter­ror, and how we can move for­ward with­in our com­mu­ni­ties.  Going for­ward I want to car­ry all that knowl­edge with me back to George­town and build com­mu­ni­ties of South Asians com­mit­ted to social jus­tice on my cam­pus.”

Check out this video on Islam­o­pho­bia and how the Young Lead­ers Insti­tute empow­ers young peo­ple to com­bat it on cam­pus and in their com­mu­ni­ties.

Sania, anoth­er YLI Fel­low, not­ed, “The rea­son I took part in the Young Lead­ers Insti­tute is because when I’m old­er I want to be involved in com­mu­ni­ty orga­niz­ing. YLI was the per­fect first step in find­ing my way there.”

Rakin, a YLI Fel­low who will work to repeal House Bill 522, an anti-Sharia leg­is­la­tion in North Car­oli­na, stat­ed, “Through YLI, I was able to gain access to edu­ca­tion­al resources that helped con­tex­tu­al­ize what it means to be a South Asian in Amer­i­ca. YLI helped me under­stand the broad­er his­to­ry and dynam­ics of the South Asian Amer­i­can iden­ti­ty.”

SAALT would like to thank our sup­port­ers and donors who make the Young Lead­ers Insti­tute pos­si­ble, and to our YLI Fel­lows, who are the lead­ers of tomor­rowand who inspire us with their com­mit­ment to tak­ing on Islam­o­pho­bia on cam­pus­es and in com­mu­ni­ties.

Please con­sid­er mak­ing a gen­er­ous dona­tion to SAALT. Your help will ensure that the Young Lead­ers Insti­tute con­tin­ues to train tomor­row’s lead­ers today, for a more jus­tice and inclu­sive soci­ety for all Amer­i­cans.

In part­ner­ship,
The SAALT Team

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.

This Week In Hate — August 4 — The Complexity of Documenting Hate

Pre­pared for SAALT by Rad­ha Modi

SAALT, as well as oth­er nation­al advo­ca­cy orga­ni­za­tions, are tak­ing the lead in col­lect­ing and doc­u­ment­ing hate inci­dents across com­mu­ni­ties as fed­er­al agen­cies fall short on this front. Orga­ni­za­tions use news clip­pings as a com­mon way to col­lect and doc­u­ment hate inci­dents. Often hate inci­dents do not make it to the news cycle in real time, and orga­ni­za­tions only learn about some inci­dents weeks to months lat­er. In addi­tion, the report­ing of hate inci­dents is a dynam­ic process with shifts in the safe­ty, ease, and struc­tur­al access around report­ing for com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers. Fur­ther, the defin­ing and iden­ti­fy­ing of what con­sti­tutes a hate inci­dent is also vari­able across orga­ni­za­tions and media out­lets. Con­sid­er­ing all of these com­plex issues, the num­ber of hate inci­dents against those who iden­ti­fy or are per­ceived as Mus­lim, Sikh, South Asian, Asian, Mid­dle East­ern, or Arab are in flux.

Recent­ly, SAALT dis­cov­ered past inci­dents that were not orig­i­nal­ly doc­u­ment­ed in the organization’s data­base. These missed inci­dents have now been cat­a­loged in an effort to bring our com­mu­ni­ties the most up-to-date and accu­rate num­bers in the dynam­ic land­scape of doc­u­ment­ing hate.

Per­sis­tent Pat­terns of Hate

It is impor­tant to note that while the num­bers have changed from our pre­vi­ous reports, the over­all pat­terns have remained the same. As shown in Fig­ure 1, the total num­ber of doc­u­ment­ed hate inci­dents post-elec­tion, tal­ly­ing at 135, has sur­passed the total num­ber of hate inci­dents of 130 that occurred dur­ing the year pri­or to the elec­tion (see below for clar­i­fi­ca­tion).

Anoth­er pat­tern that has remained con­sis­tent is the preva­lence of ver­bal and writ­ten assaults against com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers. Fig­ure 2 illus­trates that the total num­ber of ver­bal and writ­ten assaults is almost dou­ble that of the pre­vi­ous year before the elec­tion (57 post-elec­tion ver­bal hate inci­dents com­pared to 29 pre-elec­tion ver­bal hate inci­dents). The sanc­tion­ing of hate rhetoric from gov­ern­ment offi­cials local­ly and fed­er­al­ly as well as the pass­ing of anti-Mus­lim and anti-immi­grant leg­is­la­tion is com­men­su­rate with the increased nor­mal­iza­tion of ver­bal abuse of com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers on the streets. On July 27, 2017, three Soma­li Mus­lim women were harassed by a white woman at a local Wal­mart near Far­go, North Dako­ta. The white woman screamed to the women that “Mus­lims were going to hell” and “We’re going to kill ya.” Threats such as these are becom­ing more com­mon­place as phys­i­cal assaults and prop­er­ty dam­age inci­dents also involve ver­bal or writ­ten hate filled harass­ment.

In addi­tion, as we remem­ber the five year anniver­sary of the mas­sacre at Oak Creek this week, the vio­lence against the Sikh com­mu­ni­ty con­tin­ues with the increased anti-immi­grant and anti-Mus­lim rhetoric under the Trump admin­is­tra­tion. This past week the body of 68-year-old Sikh man, Sub­ag Singh, was found with signs of trau­ma in an irri­ga­tion canal in Fres­no, Cal­i­for­nia. Sub­ag Singh went miss­ing on July 23, 2017, after leav­ing his house for a morn­ing walk. While local police have yet to assign the mur­der of Sub­ag Singh as a hate crime, the threat of hate vio­lence against local Sikh com­mu­ni­ties remains across the US.

The 130 total from the pre-election year in the current database does not match the 140 total hate incidents covering the some of the same time period in our Power, Pain, and Potential report. Two issues led to this discrepancy. First, the 140 total in the Power, Pain, and Potential report also documented the uptick in hate incidents one week post-election.The 130 pre-election number in our current database does not include the first week following the election. Second, a handful of incidents categorized as hate incidents are now categorized as hate rhetoric in the current database. As SAALT standardizes the distinction between hate rhetoric and hate incident, the database is consequently updated and reflects these changes.

 

Remember Oak Creek: Organizing through Grief and Pain

By Deepa Iyer

I vis­it­ed Oak Creek, Wis­con­sin, for the first time in August of 2012 to attend the memo­r­i­al ser­vice for the vic­tims of the mas­sacre at the Sikh Tem­ple of Wis­con­sin. At the time, I was the direc­tor of South Asian Amer­i­cans Lead­ing Togeth­er (SAALT), and I trav­eled to Oak Creek to make a per­son­al com­mit­ment that our orga­ni­za­tion would stand in sup­port of rapid response efforts on the ground and advo­ca­cy around end­ing hate vio­lence at the nation­al lev­el. I joined hun­dreds of peo­ple to remem­ber and hon­or the lives of Suveg Singh Khat­tra, Sat­want Singh Kale­ka, Ran­jit Singh, Sita Singh, Paramjit Kaur, and Prakash Singh, and to send our sup­port to Baba Pun­jab Singh who was severe­ly wound­ed and who still remains in a coma.

Since that day in 2012, I have been back to Oak Creek many times thanks to the open­ness of the com­mu­ni­ty there. They have wel­comed me — a com­plete stranger and a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of a nation­al orga­ni­za­tion (both jus­ti­fi­able rea­sons for wari­ness) — into their town and their gur­d­wara dur­ing the anniver­saries every August and in between.  Our con­ver­sa­tions in homes, over lan­gar at the gur­d­wara, and on trips to the air­port, have helped me to under­stand how this com­mu­ni­ty of sur­vivors and first respon­ders mus­tered the courage to respond to hate vio­lence. They chan­neled and processed their grief and pain into com­mu­ni­ty build­ing. Five years lat­er, they con­tin­ue to build bridges, to care for sur­vivors left behind, and to express sol­i­dar­i­ty with oth­er vic­tims of vio­lence around the nation.

As I reflect on Oak Creek on this five-year anniver­sary, so many feel­ings and images come to mind.

I remem­ber the peo­ple we lost. I didn’t know Paramjit Kaur but Kamal, her son, has shared many sto­ries about her. Once, Kamal recount­ed a sto­ry about his mother’s efforts to find a job. “She used to be a house­wife for a few years after we moved here because she had a prob­lem with Eng­lish,” he told me. “It’s fun­ny how she got the job because she had to do a phone inter­view. She was afraid they would call while we were in school and she wouldn’t under­stand what they were say­ing. So it hap­pened to be that the day she got the call, I was home.… She put it on speak­er and they kept ask­ing her ques­tions and I kept trans­lat­ing for her.” With Kamal’s assis­tance, Paramjit passed the inter­view hand­i­ly and start­ed her job as an inspec­tor at the med­ical fac­to­ry. That is part of Paramjit’s sto­ry – an immi­grant moth­er in a work­ing class com­mu­ni­ty who strug­gled with Eng­lish but who was deter­mined to care for her sons.

My reflec­tions on Oak Creek five years lat­er are also ground­ed in the phys­i­cal pres­ence of the Sikh Tem­ple of Wis­con­sin. There is the bul­let hole that has been pre­served in one of the doors lead­ing to the prayer hall. There is the con­ver­sa­tion that I had with a man days after the mas­sacre who told me that he and sev­er­al oth­ers were car­ry­ing their own guns now to pro­tect the gur­d­wara. There is the pres­ence of secu­ri­ty cam­eras and bul­let-proof win­dows in the phys­i­cal struc­ture.

The gur­d­wara stands as a reminder that South Asian places of wor­ship – envi­sioned, fund­ed, and sup­port­ed by our par­ents, uncles and aun­ties – are now vul­ner­a­ble to vio­lence and harm. It stands as a mark­er of the impact of white suprema­cy on South Asians in Amer­i­ca, much like how the 16th Street Bap­tist Church and the Moth­er Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Car­oli­na rep­re­sent the effects of anti-Black racism.  It stands as a trib­ute to the Sikh val­ue of chard­hi kala — resilience and opti­mism in the face of adver­si­ty.

Reflect­ing on Oak Creek also means learn­ing from the com­mu­ni­ty of sur­vivors and first respon­ders. In the months after the mas­sacre, Harpreet Sai­ni tes­ti­fied in Con­gress about his mother’s hopes. He said: “[A]s a hard-work­ing immi­grant, she had to work long hours to feed her fam­i­ly, to get her sons edu­cat­ed, and help us achieve our Amer­i­can dreams. This was more impor­tant to her than any­thing else… But now she is gone. Because of a man who hat­ed her because she wasn’t his col­or? His reli­gion?” His tes­ti­mo­ny and the efforts of orga­ni­za­tions in Oak Creek and beyond led to the FBI’s deci­sion to add new cat­e­gories, includ­ing Sikh and Hin­du, to iden­ti­fy vic­tims of hate crimes.

Pardeep Kale­ka who lost his father began an orga­ni­za­tion called Serve 2 Unite that runs pro­grams about inclu­sion. Man­deep Kaur has worked with a group of vol­un­teers includ­ing Navi Gill, Rahul Dubey and many oth­ers to orga­nize a 6K walk/run com­mem­o­ra­tion event each year to bring the com­mu­ni­ty togeth­er, hon­or the vic­tims, and pro­vide stu­dent schol­ar­ships. Com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers con­tin­ue to take care of the younger chil­dren who lost par­ents in the mas­sacre. The may­or of Oak Creek at the time of the mas­sacre, Steve Scaf­fi­di, has writ­ten a book with tips on how cities can pre­pare for and respond to hate vio­lence. And in the after­math of the mur­der of nine peo­ple at the AME “Moth­er Emanuel” Church in Charleston, South Car­oli­na in 2015, com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers orga­nized a sol­i­dar­i­ty event at the gur­d­wara.

This week­end, let us remem­ber Oak Creek and all that it stands for, five years lat­er. At the same time, let’s recom­mit our­selves to jus­tice because hate vio­lence con­tin­ues to affect South Asians and oth­er com­mu­ni­ties. Here are some ways you can get involved:

*This week­end, vis­it your local gur­d­wara to be in com­mu­ni­ty, and send a dona­tion to sup­port the Chard­hi Kala 6K in Oak Creek
*Hold a dis­cus­sion on your cam­pus or your place of wor­ship about hate vio­lence tar­get­ing peo­ple of col­or, faith-based com­mu­ni­ties, queer and trans com­mu­ni­ties, and immi­grants
*Report and doc­u­ment hate and big­otry
*Work with your own place of wor­ship to build pre­ven­ta­tive and rapid response plans to deal with hate vio­lence
*Write a let­ter to the edi­tor of your local news­pa­per about the impor­tance of build­ing wel­com­ing and inclu­sive com­mu­ni­ties for com­mu­ni­ties of col­or, immi­grants and refugees
*Raise your voice against the cur­rent cli­mate of hate that leads to bans, walls, and raids

Deepa Iyer is the for­mer exec­u­tive direc­tor of SAALT. Her book, We Too Sing Amer­i­ca: South Asian, Arab, Mus­lim and Sikh Immi­grants Shape Our Mul­tira­cial Future, con­tains a chap­ter on the Oak Creek com­mu­ni­ty. Learn more about Deepa’s work at www.deepaiyer.com and @dviyer on Twit­ter.

Remember Oak Creek — Side By Side

By India Home

On the 5th anniver­sary of the Oak Creek shoot­ing we remem­ber the words of Pradeep Singh Kale­ka, the eldest son of the late Sat­want Singh Kale­ka who was the pres­i­dent of the Sikh tem­ple in Oak Creek and who lost his life dur­ing the tragedy in 2012. Pradeep stat­ed in 2016, “Build­ing safe and inclu­sive com­mu­ni­ties takes sac­ri­fice, ded­i­ca­tion, hard work, and delib­er­ate prac­tice.”

These words res­onate even more today as our diverse com­mu­ni­ties con­tin­ue to come under attack, not just from white suprema­cists and nation­al­ists, but from this admin­is­tra­tion.  As an orga­ni­za­tion that serves South Asian elders, includ­ing Sikhs, India Home pledges our sup­port and sol­i­dar­i­ty to our com­mu­ni­ties’ efforts. For Vaisakhi this year, India Home helped bring the Sikh mes­sage of inclu­siv­i­ty and dig­ni­ty for all to a wider audi­ence through a pro­gram we ini­ti­at­ed at the renowned Rubin Muse­um in Man­hat­tan. Sikh elders told the sto­ry of the Khal­sa and explained Sikh beliefs to a large, diverse audi­ence.

We remain com­mit­ted to fight­ing side by side with our com­mu­ni­ties for jus­tice and dig­ni­ty for all.

In sol­i­dar­i­ty,
India Home board and staff

The mis­sion of India Home is to improve the qual­i­ty of life of vul­ner­a­ble South Asian old­er adults through social ser­vices.

Remember Oak Creek — Our Stories Are Tied Together

By Sabi­ha Bas­rai

I got the news of the mas­sacre at the Sikh Tem­ple in Oak Creek just before I was about to lead a work­shop for Bay Area Sol­i­dar­i­ty Sum­mer (BASS) — a social jus­tice polit­i­cal train­ing camp for South Asian youth. My work­shop was to be about mes­sag­ing strat­e­gy and visu­al com­mu­ni­ca­tion — how to tell our sto­ries and reclaim our nar­ra­tives. The oth­er train­ers and BASS coor­di­na­tors were jug­gling logis­tics and bring­ing the youth togeth­er to get start­ed. But every­one qui­et­ed down as the news rip­pled through the group. We stopped in our tracks and found our­selves sit­ting on the floor in a cir­cle. We thought about the fam­i­lies at that tem­ple. We thought about our own rela­tion­ships with fam­i­ly and faith and what our reli­gious cen­ters have meant to us. I did my best to help hold the space as our BASS youth worked through these ques­tions and let the grav­i­ty of the sit­u­a­tion sink in.

As I lis­tened to these bril­liant youth, I remem­bered what it was like for me when I was their age and 9/11 had just hap­pened. I remem­ber the racism and hate speech I endured. I remem­ber the sad­ness and frus­tra­tion over the loss of life and war mon­ger­ing rhetoric that dehu­man­ized Mus­lim Amer­i­cans. I remem­ber the way Sikhs were tar­get­ed because they are per­ceived as Mus­lims.  I wished I could pro­tect these youths from those feel­ings of fear, sad­ness and con­fu­sion. But I also rec­og­nized our com­mu­ni­ty resilience as I saw them find­ing their polit­i­cal voice and artic­u­lat­ing their com­mit­ment to social jus­tice for all.

On the anniver­sary of the Oak Creek mas­sacre, I mourn the vic­tims and I express sol­i­dar­i­ty for all those impact­ed by racial pro­fil­ing and the vio­lence of white suprema­cy. I promise to con­tin­ue my work in sup­port of racial jus­tice and remem­ber that our strug­gles inter­sect and our sto­ries are tied togeth­er.

Sabiha Basrai is a mem­ber of Design Action Col­lec­tive — a work­er-owned coop­er­a­tive ded­i­cat­ed to serv­ing social jus­tice move­ments with art, graph­ic design, and web devel­op­ment. She is also Co-Coor­di­na­tor of the Alliance of South Asians Tak­ing Action where she works with racial jus­tice orga­niz­ers to fight against Islam­o­pho­bia.