This Week in Hate: hate continues to rise, our communities continue to suffer

 

Ear­li­er this year, SAALT released our post-elec­tion analy­sis of hate vio­lence and xeno­pho­bic polit­i­cal rhetoric called “Com­mu­ni­ties on Fire.” Dur­ing the first year fol­low­ing the 2016 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion (Novem­ber 7, 2016 to Novem­ber 7, 2017)—we doc­u­ment­ed 302 inci­dents of hate vio­lence and xeno­pho­bic polit­i­cal rhetoric aimed at our com­mu­ni­ties, an over 45% increase from our pre­vi­ous analy­sis in just one year. An astound­ing eighty-two percent of inci­dents were moti­vat­ed by anti-Mus­lim sen­ti­ment. Addi­tion­al­ly, One out of every five per­pe­tra­tors of hate vio­lence inci­dents ref­er­enced Pres­i­dent Trump, a Trump admin­is­tra­tion pol­i­cy (“Mus­lim Ban”), or Trump cam­paign slogn (“Make Amer­i­ca Great Again”) while com­mit­ting the attack.

Since Novem­ber 7, 2017, which marked one year since the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, SAALT has doc­u­ment­ed 40 additional inci­dents of hate vio­lence and xeno­pho­bic polit­i­cal rhetoric. Three of the eight instances of xeno­pho­bic polit­i­cal rhetoric were anti-Mus­lim videos retweet­ed by Pres­i­dent Trump in a sin­gle day.[1]

Fourteen of the thir­ty-two inci­dents of hate vio­lence were verbal/written assaults, fol­lowed by twelve inci­dents of prop­er­ty dam­age, and six phys­i­cal assaults. The cumu­la­tive post-elec­tion total is shown in Fig­ure 1 below com­pared to the year lead­ing up to the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion.

Emerging Trends

Property Damage

On Decem­ber 1, 2017, Bernardi­no Bolatete was arrest­ed for plan­ning to “shoot up” the Islam­ic Cen­ter of North­east Flori­da.[2] He told an under­cov­er detec­tive, “I just want to give these freak­ing peo­ple a taste of their own med­i­cine, you know? They are the ones who are always doing these shoot­ings, the killings.” Fol­low­ing this event, four more mosques were van­dal­ized around the coun­try. Mosques in Upper Dar­by, PA[3]; Clo­vis, NM[4], and Queens, NY[5] were van­dal­ized with “Trump”, “Terr-” “911” and oth­er anti-mus­lim phras­es.

In tune with the dis­turb­ing trend of Mosque van­dal­ism, Tah­nee Gon­za­les and Eliz­a­beth Dauen­hauer tres­passed the Islam­ic Com­mu­ni­ty Cen­ter of Tempe, Ari­zona. While on Face­book lives, the women stole the masjid’s edu­ca­tion­al mate­r­i­al and called Mus­lims “dev­il-wor­ship­pers” who are destroy­ing “Amer­i­ca.” The women also encour­aged their chil­dren to par­tic­i­pate in anti-Mus­lim behav­ior.

Continued Targeting of Sikh Americans

Twen­ty-two per­cent of hate inci­dents we doc­u­ment­ed in “Com­mu­nites on Fire” tar­get­ed men who iden­ti­fy or are per­ceived as South Asian, Mus­lim, Sikh, Hin­du, Mid­dle East­ern, or Arab. Per­pe­tra­tors of hate crimes often use the reli­gious pre­sen­ta­tion of tur­ban-wear­ing Sikh men to tar­get them. Our report found over sev­en inci­dents of hate vio­lence aimed direct­ly against Sikhs Amer­i­cans, which reflect­ed a sig­nif­i­cant dis­con­nect between SAALT’s com­mu­ni­ty-report­ed and pub­licly-sourced data and data report­ed to the FBI.

In Jan­u­ary 2018, at least three inci­dents of hate vio­lence tar­get­ed Sikh men. In Belle­vue, Wash­ing­ton, an unknown per­pe­tra­tor took a ham­mer from his bag and swung it against the head of Swarn Singh, caus­ing his head to bleed.[6] At the AM/PM con­ve­nience store in Fed­er­al Way, Wash­ing­ton, a man threat­ened to kill a Sikh employ­ee and told him to “go back where you came from.”[7] Lat­er in the month, a Sikh Uber dri­ver, Gur­jeet Singh, picked up a cou­ple in Moline, Illi­nois.[8] The male sus­pect put a gun to Singh’s head say­ing that he hat­ed “tur­ban peo­ple.”

Addi­tion­al­ly, on March 3, 2018 Chad Horse­ly plowed his pick­up truck into Best Stop Con­ve­nience Store because he thought the store own­ers were Mus­lim; they were Sikh Amer­i­cans.[9]  On Feb­ru­ary 20, 2018, a Sikh gas sta­tion own­er was called a “ter­ror­ist” and told that he should “go back to his own coun­try.” When the vic­tim tried to take pho­tos of the vehi­cle license plate, Steven Laver­ty exit­ed the vehi­cle and tried to punch the vic­tim and took his phone.[10] On Feb­ru­ary 1, 2018, Pit Stop Gas Sta­tion in Ken­tucky, owned by a Sikh Amer­i­can, was found van­dal­ized with swastikas, “white pow­er,” “leave,” and “f**k you,” spray-paint­ed on its exte­ri­or.[11]

While we rec­og­nize that many instances of hate vio­lence or xeno­pho­bic rhetoric against our com­mu­ni­ties go unre­port­ed, we at SAALT remain com­mit­ted in refus­ing to nor­mal­ize hate. Down­load our report “Com­mu­nites on Fire”, to read more about our rec­om­men­da­tions on how to com­bat hate vio­lence and address the under­ly­ing sys­tems and struc­tures that pro­duce this vio­lence.

[1] http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/donald-trump-britain-first-retweet-muslim-migrants-jayda-fransen-deputy-leader-a8082001.html

[2] https://www.actionnewsjax.com/news/local/jacksonville-officers-man-planned-mass-shooting-at-islamic-center/658434170

[3] http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/2017/11/30/upper-darby-anti-muslim-signs/

[4] http://www.krqe.com/news/new-mexico-mosque-vandalized-by-a-real-christain/1009337281

[5] http://www.qchron.com/editions/queenswide/vandal-scrawls-graffiti-at-mosque-site/article_bd1eaf88-a7d6-5006–9244-a1175c21b3fe.html

[6] http://www.king5.com/article/news/crime/sikh-community-facing-rise-in-hate-crimes-seeks-help-from-cities/281–509640203

[7] http://www.king5.com/article/news/crime/sikh-community-facing-rise-in-hate-crimes-seeks-help-from-cities/281–509640203

[8] https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2018/03/07/an-ex-deputy-rammed-a-truck-into-a-store-because-he-thought-the-owners-were-muslim-police-say/?utm_term=.96c4bbd6f212

[9] https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2018/03/07/an-ex-deputy-rammed-a-truck-into-a-store-because-he-thought-the-owners-were-muslim-police-say/?utm_term=.96c4bbd6f212

[10] http://www.newsindiatimes.com/sikh-gas-station-owner-in-new-jersey-becomes-victim-of-hate-crime

[11] http://www.indiawest.com/news/global_indian/indian-american-owned-gas-station-in-kentucky-vandalized-with-racist/article_ce755584-0b0b-11e8-949b-d30fdeef3b05.html