Top Menu

SPLC: FBI: Anti-Muslim Hate Crimes Remain Relatively High

The numbers are in fact higher as the SPLC reports that hate crime stats compiled by the FBI are “notoriously understated.”

FBI: Anti-Muslim Hate Crimes Remain Relatively High

by Mark Potok on December 10, 2012, Southern Poverty Law Center

Hate crimes against perceived Muslims, which jumped up 50% in 2010 largely as a result of anti-Muslim propagandizing, remained at relatively high levels last year, according to 2011 hate crime statistics released today by the FBI.

The bureau reported that there were 157 reported anti-Muslim hate crimes in 2011, down slightly from the 160 recorded in 2010. The 2011 crimes occurred during a period when Islam-bashing propaganda, which initially took off in 2010, continued apace.

The FBI statistics, which are compilations of state numbers, are notoriously understated. Two Department of Justice studies have indicated that the real level of hate crimes in America is some 20-30 times the number reported in the FBI statistics, in part because some 56% of hate crimes are never reported to police and more than half of those that are are mischaracterized as non-hate crimes. Nevertheless, the FBI statistics can be used to get a sense of general trends.

Last year saw continued high levels of anti-Muslim propaganda such as the crusade by some against the alleged Muslim plan to impose religious Shariah law on the United States. There were a number of local battles over the construction of new mosques, and several were attacked by apparent Islamophobes.

At the same time, the FBI statistics suggested that there was a 31% drop in anti-Latino hate crimes, from 534 in 2010 to 405 last year. It’s not clear what might be behind that drop, other than an apparent diminution in anti-Latino and anti-immigrant propaganda as negative attention focused on Muslims.

Other hate crime categories remained relatively steady. Anti-Jewish hate crimes fell from 887 in 2010 to 771 last year, while anti-LGBT hate crimes rose slightly, from 1,256 to 1,277. Anti-black hate crimes also fell slightly, continuing a trend of dropping from a high of 2,876 in 2008 (when Barack Obama appeared on the national political scene, fueling anti-black hatred in some quarters) to 2,076 last year.

, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

  • Pingback: Is the GOP’s Islamophobia in retreat or is the whole of the GOP screwed? « Miscellany101's Weblog

  • Reynardine

    The SPLC post notes that reported incidents may be a fraction of the total. In many cases, victims may trust neither the authorities nor the community. And I would say that if a menacing climate isn’t dealt with, there could be a sharp rise in the future.

  • eslaporte

    When the SPLC reports on the activities of the radical right – they should be taken more seriously than the US government – or any European government. It has been the SPLC that has been warning us about the radical right – while US and European governments remain fixated on “jihadist terrorism.”

  • eslaporte

    Yes – as 50% upward change from one year to the next is a big deal! Also – as I said – what percentage of aggravated battery and property damage are crimes against the Muslim community?

  • Fasdunkle

    Maybe people feel more disposed towards reporting these now – the actual number might not have changed much, just the number reported. It’s pretty much impossible to draw any conclusions from these figures. However if it is the case that people do feel more disposed to report such matters I would take that as a very positive step.

  • Ilisha

    If hate crimes, “jumped up 50% in 2010,” to me that suggests a notable trend, regardless of the overall number. I think “soaring” might refer more to the pace, though I agree this doesn’t seem like the best choice of words, especially since things appear to have leveled off.

    …you have no case for making a big big deal out of these figures, which continue to show that anti-Muslim hate crime is very rare in the US.

    I agree, but I don’t interpret cross posting this as making a “big big deal” out of the figures. I’m glad to see hate crimes are so low overall in the US, and I think that puts things into perspective.

  • Ilisha

    That’s a good point.

  • eslaporte

    Again – the articles do not compare groups – and a good study could be the level of violence in these attacks. A Muslim cabbie getting his throat slashed is vastly more serious than swastikas on the side of a synagogue. What percentage of aggravated assaults and property destruction was directed against the Muslim community?

  • eslaporte

    The argument presented here is with regard to anti-Muslim hate crimes with a focus on the percent from 2009 to 2010 – not what the hate crimes are “relative to populations,” and not are being compared to anything else other than what they were from 2009 to 2010 in the articles. The augments here have nothing to do with “favorable ratings” in surveys in Europe either. We are talking about a jump in anti-Mulsim hate crimes from one year to the next – and for 2001 — nothing else . See also http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/hate-crime/2011

  • eslaporte

    Now to blow through all the smoke here. First of all, the Southern Poverty Law Center (QUOTE):

    “Anti-Muslim hate crimes soared by 50% in 2010, skyrocketing over 2009
    levels in a year marked by the incendiary rhetoric of Islam-bashing
    politicians and activists, especially over the so-called “Ground Zero
    Mosque” in New York City.

    “Although the national statistics
    compiled by the FBI each year are known to vastly understate the real
    level of hate crime, they do offer telling indications of some trends.
    The latest statistics, showing a jump from 107 anti-Muslim hate crimes
    in 2009 to 160 in 2010, seem to reflect the consequences of a rise in
    anti-Muslim rhetoric from groups like Stop Islamization of America. Much
    of that vitriol was aimed at stopping an Islamic center in lower
    Manhattan.

    It was the highest level of anti-Muslim hate crimes
    since 2001, the year of the Sept. 11 attacks, when the FBI reported 481
    anti-Muslim hate crimes.”

    http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-report/browse-all-issues/2012/spring/fbi-dramatic-spike-in-hate-crimes-targetin

  • Ilisha

    “What is “relatively high” supposed to mean here?”

    I think that’s a valid question. Relative to what? If they specified that, I missed it (maybe relative to pre-2010 figures?). In fact, relative to crimes against some other groups, anti-Muslim crimes are, as you pointed out, significantly lower.

    I don’t think we have to wait until anti-Muslim crimes skyrocket to be concerned, and I really do think a lot of this hateful propaganda is sowing the seeds for a possible rise in discrimination and even violence against Muslims. But if I wrote an article reporting the latest statistics, I would choose a different title–this is, of course, a cross post from the SPLC.

  • Sarka

    What is “relatively high” supposed to mean here? Even adjusting for relative population (e.g. the Jewish population of the US seems to be a little less than double the Muslim population), the incidence of reported hate crimes/incidents seems to be relatively low in the Muslim case, while the “race crime” figures are much higher than either as well as LGBT.

    It’s true that these figures all round are probably artificially low because of all the unreported stuff, but unless we assume that the anti-Muslim crimes are much more under-reported than the figures for other groups (and I see no reason why that should be), we’re still left with “relatively low”, not “relatively high.” And certainly “absolutely low” relative to overall US population of Muslims.

    I’m always interested in these FBI figures (unfortunately most West European countries don’t keep figures in the same systematic way), because they consistently show anti-Muslim incidents to be relatively low in a way that seems counter-intuitive with survey reports on unfriendly attitudes to Islam in the USA. So for example in one survey on favourable/unfavourable attitudes to religions, Judaism (like Christianity) was up at 70% of respondents rating favourable compared to Islam at just around 20% (though Islam did better than “atheism” at only 15% favourable!),,,yet Jews are significantly more likely than Muslims to be the targets of hate crime.

    I suppose the explanation for this must be to do with the possibility that while unfavourable views of Judaism are held only by a minority, that minority – or part of it, hates Jews enough for there to be more incidents, whereas while a majority is unfavourable to Islam as a religion, this does not express itself in proportionate hate incidents. This is underlined even more by survey results showing that a majority of Americans (especially Jews!) think that Muslims face e.g. discrimination in employment. Clearly, it is possible for people to have an unfavourable view of a religion without that translating into abusive or violent behaviour to members of that religion. I think Loonwatch should take account of this sort of complexity, and not tout a figure of 157 hate crimes (relatively low by comparison to other groups even with population adjustment) as “relatively high”.

  • eslaporte

    Some of this can be laid at the feet of Geert Wilders and his “travels” to whip up hate in the Western world. I’d like to see Geert Wilders placed on undesirable lists and kept out of all civilized nations on Earth… oh..but I’ll bet that “violates free speech” – gosh, by-golly!

Powered by Loon Watchers