Post 9–11 Backlash

Like many oth­er com­mu­ni­ties, South Asians have long expe­ri­enced xeno­pho­bic rhetoric, bias, and vio­lence. Many of those who first immi­grat­ed to the Unit­ed States were sub­ject­ to anti-immi­­grant rhetoric and dri­ven out of towns where they set­tled. After 1965, South Asians increas­ing­ly expe­ri­enced bias in the work­place, whether in pay inequity or social stig­ma for lan­guage abil­i­tys. Soon after, larg­er com­mu­ni­ties of South Asian work­ing class immi­grants moved to urban areas, where they faced tar­get­ed alien­ation and vio­lence; most of this vio­lence was xeno­pho­bic in nature.

Since Sep­tem­ber 11th, how­ev­er, South Asian, Mus­lim, Sikh, and South West Asians have become the tar­gets of a more specif­i­cal­ly xeno­pho­bic form of Islam­o­pho­bia, result­ing in numer­ous hate crimes, as well as employ­ment dis­crim­i­na­tion, bul­ly­ing, harass­ment, and pro­fil­ing. In this same peri­od, places of wor­ship were increas­ing­ly van­dal­ized and attacked, includ­ing the trag­ic shoot­ing of the Sikh gur­d­wara in Oak Creek, Wis­con­sin and hate crimes against Mus­lim com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers (and oth­er com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers racial­ized as Mus­lim) grew in num­bers. Though this form of Islam­o­pho­bic vio­lence did not cease, its rate of increase slowed – until around 2015, when then-Pres­i­den­tial can­di­date, Don­ald J. Trump, used nation­al plat­forms to pro­mote Islam­o­pho­bic, xeno­pho­bic, and racist rhetoric. As a direct result of this, SAALT,  along with our allies, began track­ing hate crimes against Mus­lims and those racial­ized as Mus­lim. This data­base was active from 2015 to 2021, and pri­or­i­tized report­ing that cen­tered sur­vivors’ and vic­tims’ expe­ri­ences with vio­lence and harm. Start­ing in 2022, this data­base is shift­ing to bet­ter under­stand how sur­vivors and vic­tims of hate vio­lence call for heal­ing and jus­tice for them­selves, their loved ones, and their allies. To under­stand our new approach to doc­u­ment­ing and respond­ing to hate vio­lence, reach out to

If you would like to report an inci­dent, we ask that you reach out to our allies at Stop AAPI Hate or OCA at this link. At present, SAALT is avail­able to assist com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers with spe­cif­ic trans­la­tion and legal requests, through our work with the South Asian Rapid Response Net­work. As a non-legal advo­ca­cy orga­ni­za­tion, SAALT is here to con­nect com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers with allies who can pro­vide spe­cif­ic resources.