Islamophobia watchdogs have identified more than 500 potentially anti-Muslim incidents in the US since the start of the year, and that’s probably a low estimate.
In the two months since a white supremacist murdered 51 worshippers in a New Zealand mosque, American Muslims have faced a series of high-profile threats. An arson at a California mosque was later linked to a white supremacist accused of opening fire in a murderous rampage at a synagogue. A New Haven, Connecticut, mosque suffered significant damages from an arson attack last Sunday. And on Thursday, a Queens, New York, man was indicted on hate crime charges for allegedly trashing a mosque during an anti-Muslim tirade.
It’s part of a troubling trend of hate that started surging in 2015, said Abbas Barzegar, national research and advocacy director at the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).
CAIR’s chapters across the country track anti-Muslim bias incidents. Although their numbers are still tentative, the count is troubling.
“We’ve already reported over 500 incidences of anti-Muslim bias or harassment just this year so far,” Barzegar told The Daily Beast. “That’s very 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.”
Anti-Muslim hate had a “demonstrable uptick” in the 2015 election cycle, Barzegar added. Donald Trump’s campaign, which arrived midway through that year, capitalized on the hate.