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Over 500 anti-Muslim incidents in the US

26th Jul 2019

Harun Nasrullah

There have been over 500 anti-Muslim attacks in the US up to May, according to a ‘low estimate’ by America’s largest Muslim advocacy group.

Abbas Barzegar, National Research and Advocacy Director at the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) announced, “We’ve already reported over 500 incidences [as of May] of anti-Muslim bias or harassment just this year so far, that’s preliminary reporting. I know a number of our chapters have not filed their reports yet… I believe that’s a very low estimate already of what’s happening across the country.”

At least one apparent attack had a direct link to the Christchurch, New Zealand, shooting. An arson at Escondido, California’s Dar-ul-Arqam mosque in March also included graffiti that referenced the Christchurch killer and 8chan, the forum where he announced his plans for a shooting rampage.

Two Connecticut mosques have also been targeted by unknown harassers since the Christchurch shooting, with a prominent Hartford mosque receiving an arson threat by phone in late March. In May (during Ramadan), a mosque in New Haven had caught fire hours before congregants were due to arrive for evening prayers.

While on his way to a Bible Study Group in April a California driver intentionally ploughed his car into a group of people who he assumed were Muslims, eight people were injured.
Isaiah Joel Peoples repeatedly said “Thank you Jesus” after crashing into them. One of the victims, a 7th-grade Indian origin girl, Dhriti Narayan, is in coma and doctors have removed the left side of her skull. He has been charged with a hate crime.

Anti-Muslim hate had a “demonstrable uptick” in the 2015 election cycle, Barzegar said. CAIR and other civil right groups have accused President Donald Trump using hate capitalising on fear during campaigning.

“It was the rhetoric coming out of Trump’s campaign that certified that,” Barzegar said. “We started to see things in Trump’s campaign, rhetoric-wise, that was typically very far off on the margins: things you would find on far-right radio or the outskirts of the internet. Now it’s becoming so acceptable and mainstream.”

But where bigots want to scare Muslims into silence, Muslims are turning to their communities for support. Mosques were especially crowded during the first morning prayers after the Christchurch shooting, Barzegar said.

“What I’m seeing is that people are hopeful. They’re strong, they’re determined, and they’re not fearful,” he said. “There’s a solemness there, there’s a melancholy, there might be some anxiety, but there isn’t fear.”

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