This Week In Hate — July 12

Pre­pared for SAALT by Rad­ha Modi

Since the elec­tion of Don­ald Trump on Novem­ber 8, 2016, SAALT has doc­u­ment­ed 110 hate inci­dents tar­get­ing those who are per­ceived or iden­ti­fy as Mus­lim, South Asian, Sikh, Mid­dle East­ern, Arab, or Asian.

This total will soon sur­pass the hate inci­dents doc­u­ment­ed in SAALT’s lat­est report, “Pow­er, Pain, Poten­tial,” which doc­u­ment­ed 110 hate inci­dents tar­get­ing our com­mu­ni­ties dur­ing the divi­sive Pres­i­dent elec­tions from Novem­ber 1, 2015 to Novem­ber 7, 2016.

Three of the most com­mon tar­gets of hate inci­dents have been mosques/Muslim orga­ni­za­tions, women, and youth.  One-third of the doc­u­ment­ed hate inci­dents have been towards women, with a major­i­ty of assaults towards women wear­ing hijabs. The per­pe­tra­tors, often white men, threat­ened the women and tried to pull off their hijabs.  For instance, in Chica­go, a group of young women wear­ing hijabs was ver­bal­ly harassed by a white man shout­ing, “If you don’t like it in this coun­try, leave.”

Anoth­er 25% of the hate inci­dents tar­get­ed mosques and Mus­lim orga­ni­za­tions. Mosques and Mus­lim orga­ni­za­tions have received threat­en­ing cor­re­spon­dence or incurred prop­er­ty dam­age includ­ing van­dal­ism and arson.  One recent instance occurred at the Murfrees­boro Mosque in Ten­nessee, where unknown van­dals spray paint­ed obscen­i­ties on the exte­ri­or of the mosque and draped bacon on the front door han­dle.

The third major tar­get of hate inci­dents has been youth, where 23% of hate inci­dents involved stu­dents and young peo­ple. Many of these inci­dents occurred on the streets, where com­plete strangers were the assailants, which con­tin­ues to be a con­cern as young peo­ple are also fac­ing bul­ly­ing from peers as well. One such inci­dent occurred dur­ing the ear­ly morn­ing hours of June 18th.  Nabra Has­sa­nen, a 17 year old Mus­lim girl wear­ing a hijab, was out with her friends for a late night snack dur­ing Ramadan just a short walk from their mosque in Mary­land. A white Lati­no man approached and harassed the group of friends. All of the youth were able to escape harm except for Nabra who was beat­en and kid­napped. Her body was lat­er found with signs of assault.

With the dehu­man­iza­tion of those who are per­ceived or iden­ti­fy as Mus­lim, South Asian, Mid­dle East­ern, Arab, or Asian occur­ring at the inter­sec­tions of gen­der, reli­gion, race, and age, it is no sur­prise that women are the most com­mon tar­get of hate inci­dents.

From July 5–10, Lin­da Sar­sour, a Pales­tin­ian-Amer­i­can activist who wears a hijab, has endured an onslaught of threats against her for the use of the word “jihad” in a speech on fight­ing against hate and injus­tice and defend­ing vul­ner­a­ble com­mu­ni­ties.  Right wing media out­lets and mem­bers of the admin­is­tra­tion have been lead­ing the way on incit­ing vio­lence towards her by mis­rep­re­sent­ing her speech as a call for vio­lence. Sarsour’s use of the term, which trans­lates to “strug­gle”, has led to threats to her life, includ­ing vile threats of rape from Islam­o­phobes.

With hate crimes on the rise, Amer­i­cans across the coun­try fear they will be tar­get­ed next. Amer­i­cans, regard­less of race, reli­gion, iden­ti­ty, or nation­al ori­gin, deserve to live in peace and pray in safe­ty.

Hate of any kind makes our coun­try less safe. Those who threat­en our com­mu­ni­ties or pro­mote poli­cies to demo­nize and rip our fam­i­lies apart are try­ing to drag our coun­try back­wards.  SAALT will con­tin­ue to push for laws and poli­cies that pro­tect our shared future, that embrace the ideals of equal­i­ty and free­dom, and make our coun­try stronger togeth­er.